Over the last three weeks I’ve taken Sam to hospital seven times.
“This is crazy,” Sam said, as we sat yet again in peak hour traffic. “Three hours in the car for three minutes with the doctor. I’m over it.”
I’m over it too.
In January it felt like we had seen a change. Things were beginning to look easier; life seemed to be returning to normal and for the first time in two years, we made grand plans. My life was back in order; I was exercising each day, re-enrolling at uni and preparing for school. Sam had managed to get back into part time work and she too enrolled for uni full-time.
Then out of the blue came the chest pains that took us to emergency and now we have a string of appointments for lung scans, breathing tests and the thoracic professor. In addition to this, Sam’s left toenail became ingrown again and infected. The lovely oncologist who treats her for this tried all that he could to resolve the problem, prodding and probing her with needles in his private rooms; but resolve it he did not, so this week we found ourselves queuing up, gowning up and preparing for day surgery.
Add to this the reason we attend hospital in the first place, which is to see the haemotologist to:
• make sure that her bloods are okay and there are no signs of leukaemia;
• see that her major organs are functioning as a result of the bone marrow transplant; and
• try to provide her body with the supplements she needs to survive either via infusions or oral medications,
and life begins to feel a little overwhelming.
In the New Living Translation Bible it says, “Son of man, you live among rebels who have eyes but refuse to see. They have ears but refuse to hear. For they are a rebellious people.” (Ezekiel 12:2)
As I look at my situation with my daughter, I know one truth that above all things: God is good. So if God is so good why does he allow so many bad things to happen? I watch the world news, I see the physical changes in my daughter, I cry with friends whose kids are suffering too and I try to make sense of it all. Life is hard, but God is good and what does He want me to see?
Again the Bible says, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
I am a girl of simple faith, so I ask God to speak to me in simple ways. I ask Him to forgive me if my heart is rebellious. I ask Him to help me to see what it is that I cannot see and to know the things that I do not know. I don’t want us to be like the people in Hosea 4:6 who perish due to a lack of knowledge.
I worry about this sometimes. I worry that there is so much that I don’t know. I am terrified that I will miss some important truth or lose a file, or a phone number or some important piece of information. Sometimes I feel like Lumiere from “Beauty and the Beast” and all the plates are spinning; but God is faithful, He works with who I am. He teaches me how to hear and how to see. He speaks in the language I understand.
It’s a combination of small things this week that linked together to form the information I need right now. If I watch and listen, He is showing and telling. Sometimes I need to adjust my activity so that I am not too busy to notice; but sometimes I just need to pay attention because He is in what I am doing as well.
Last Sunday I went to swim laps and for the first time ever I removed my wedding and engagement ring. As I did this I was subconsciously aware that it was unusual, but it was not until I returned from my swim that I noticed my diamond was gone. After a little search (and a keen eye – my diamond is miniscule) I found it on the dresser. In the silence I realised I had been prompted by God to remove my rings, which are precious to me and therefore important to Him. I sensed Him saying that He will show me all that I need to know.
Sometimes we need to see things with new eyes. In a reading I was doing for university, I came across this great story of a little girl who told her mum that she knew that four times four was sixteen. She went with her mother into her room to show her how she had made this discovery by counting the holes on the blinds where the cords passed through. The mother was confused because though there were holes in the blind, they were arranged in groups of two rather than groups of four. So she asked her daughter about this and the little girl went on to explain “that it worked when you went ‘cross-eyed’, then the twos became fours.”
No wonder God tells us to come as children. Only a child would stare long enough at a situation to discover a truth by going cross-eyed. As adults we are always rushing from one thing to the next, ticking off boxes and getting things done. Yet God has things to teach us if only we will persevere and stare at the situation long enough to see all that He wants us to see, to lean in long enough to hear what he wants us to hear. When we focus, when we look at things from every angle, the possibilities are multiplied.
It often seems like our situations in life are too overwhelming to deal with. We feel confined, caged in and confused. Yet standing there in the middle of it all is our teacher, just waiting for us to stop and to listen to what comes next. It’s like that in my classroom at the outset of every year. There are all these little people, lots of noise and activity. I am tempted to raise my voice when I need to get the kids’ attention; sometimes they will stop if I ring a bell, clap my hands or sing, but when we are all on the floor for mat time the thing that works best is for me to whisper or to be completely silent. Eventually every child stops, looks around and seeks my face. I smile. I say, “thank you, I was waiting for you.” I tell them what comes next, how we will do it and what they should do if it gets too hard.
How thankful I am that in this season of confusion I have a teacher walking alongside me every moment, who cares enough about the small things in my world to teach me what is next.
Tell me, when has He surprised you with the whisper of His voice?