Monday, May 11, 2015

When (We) People Unwittingly Say Things That Hurt More Than Help

It is raining hard at five a.m. and the birds are already noisily awaiting the dawn. The cloudy skies are sliding from murkiness into a more defined dull gray.
Now one raucous robin is insistently calling out a repetitive monologue.
Being awake in the wee hours always is at once a place of deep connectivity to God and profound loneliness.

Our daughter's little almost 8 week old baby boy is in the hospital since yesterday early morning. The ER docs were concerned about meningitis so after getting an IV in him and doing some blood draws and catheterizing him they added a spinal tap to the list!
It was so very necessary to rule out that terrible, yet treatable illness. It was also in and of itself terrible for her and her husband to watch him go through such a tortuous diagnostic tool after such a long sick night at home fighting to breathe through the mucous that was accumulating too fast for his little body to deal with.
She texted us to let us know they were going to the ER.
Then she texted to let us know they were admitting him.
We finally got to hear her voice and she was tired and drained and behind her resolve one could here..."I want my mom. I want someone to take care of me while I take care of my new baby boy who is so sick and I am so scared."
Yesterday was Mother's Day...

Mother's Day is a "holiday" that I used to love. Now, I have mixed feelings about it.
My mom is gone...almost five years, but this is one of those "holidays" that for anyone who has lost their mom, has a difficult or broken relationship with her or their child, wishes they were a mom, or anyone who has lost a child feels the pain in their heart not unlike that of salt being rubbed into a wound.

I will go to my daughter if she asks me to come into their struggle over 800 miles away. I will get on a plane and be there with her and her little family of four. She texted in the middle of the night that it was "a lonely feeling to be there with her baby" who was spitting up his entire feeds with so much mucous, then falling to sleep with his little IV in. She said, "I work in this place weekly. I have a deep empathy and compassion for those who must spend weeks and months in the hospital." She is an oncology nurse. You would want her for your nurse if, God forbid, you ever needed one.

Our entire family has a strong faith in God who created and designed each of us and numbered our days. We know he is mighty and powerful and able to save the helpless. We also know that he realizes we are frail like the grass that flowers in the morning yet withers at night. He is a God who weeps with us and holds us and carefully tends our hurting hearts.

There are evidently several nasty viruses that are going around right now. The doctors told our daughter and her husband that the older kids and adults can fight it off better than these new little ones can. Their 23 month old had the virus first, then the little one, and both our daughter and her husband are coming down with it now as well. He let them know that not getting their little guy into the hospital would've had disastrous consequences and the docs were so glad they had gotten him in.

I know that when people tell you that " We went through this" or "My (older) child or grandchild went through this" and "are fine" or "quickly bounced back", they are trying to help and offer some sort of encouragement. However, it FEELS like a dismissal of the real fears and struggles our family is vulnerably sharing with them, inviting them into our moment to just be there with us and offer prayer and support .
How does one let others know that they covet and appreciate their prayers, yet please do not offer platitudes or try to minimize what is going on at this time in our lives comparing this situation to one that is truly not the same, and even if they were, that is not, in my book, the definition of empathy.

I guess what I am realizing is that it is at such times we are called to take the higher ground and exhibit grace, even if what someone unwittingly does feels graceless. I also realize that I have most likely done the same unwittingly and may even do it again (although I hope I only grow in this area).
So, I rest in the knowledge that the only perfect co-sufferer and compassionate friend is Jesus and not expect all of our friends and family to respond perfectly or at times even well.

Thank you God for caring through the long night watches so far for our little Crosby. Thank you for friends and family that "get it" and for those that love us clumsily as well...they do love us, and for that I am grateful. I have loved You clumsily and yet you never alter your love towards me!