Monday, May 18, 2015

When Time Comes to a Standstill

It was easy to tell people which house was ours when I was growing up.  Ours was the white house with turquoise trim on the right side and back of the house, and green with white trim on the left and front of the house.  My parents had started painting the house, and for some reason this was as far as they got.

As a family, we laughed about it, and when the house was finally finished, we joked that we would not be able to give people directions as we had been able to for the months, if not years, that it was colored with two themes.

That was then. Now, I am dealing with my own version of the paint job.

It is my kitchen floor.

You can still tell where we stopped cleaning the grout.  No one has pointed it out, and I only recently noticed. 

It has been almost 2 years since we started.

Sometimes life gets in the way of our plans.

In June 2013, we found a great recipe online for a way to achieve clean grout.  It looked good, the expected results looked incredible and it felt doable. I sprayed the solution on the floor and scrubbed, Bud used his foot and a towel to rinse it off.  We were amazed at the results.  We started in the laundry room and worked through the kitchen. 

When we reached the hall, we were surprised by visitors, and all the cleaning stopped.

That night, I rolled over and woke up with excruciating pain on my side under my arm.  Every time I moved the arm, the pain was horrible.  I went over in my mind what could be causing such pain, and felt the area to see if I could find the cause.  What I found was a large lump. It was obvious that something was wrong. I decided to wait and see if it was better by morning. 

We were pretty sure that I had some kind of inflammation as a result of the scrubbing, but it did not go away and the pain got worse.  Later in the week, we made an appointment to see the doctor, who felt certain it was nothing, a benign lump of tissues. For our sake, he ordered an ultrasound to be sure.    
The lump ended up being cancer in a lymph node.  

Cancer, like any kind of hardship, doesn't make an appointment or happen at a time that is convenient for you. 

Your world stops for a time.

It reminds me of something I noticed after  9/11.  A week after our country faced the worst crisis of our history, I noticed that my flip calendar in the kitchen was still set on 9/11.  I looked around the house and found every single calendar that we owned was still set on the same date, as if time itself stood still for seven whole days.

The floor quickly became a non-priority.  We had other things demanding our attention.

Just recently I noticed the floor again. 

It made me wonder about the house.  As a child in the house, I made light of it.  But now I wonder if there was some kind of worry my parents were dealing with when the painting came to a stop; why it took so long to get back to it and finish.

There are people around us every day with unfinished things, incomplete tasks in their lives. 

Maybe not half painted houses or floors, but dreams abandoned, hope discarded.

I might have looked at these people and wondered what their problem was.  I could have even made light of their unfinished things. If I did, I hope it never happens again.

I hope I will be sensitive enough to come along side of the person.

I hope I will be sensitive enough, compassionate enough to say I am here, and I care.

Angie Smith (from "I Will Carry You; The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy")

The most important thing you can do to help someone who is in the depths of loss is to pray. Make notes on your calendar to write periodically, call out of nowhere, and read a psalm to your friend that you think will minister to her. The more you pray for her, the more in tune you will be with how the Holy Spirit is desiring to use you in her life, and that makes all the difference. 


Acts 28:2 (HCSB)
The local people showed us extraordinary kindness, for they lit a fire and took us all in, since it was raining and cold.


"When I think about what I want to be doing, it's singing truth into the darkness.  Life is hard, and I've walked through some heart-breaking things with friends.  But when we're walking right up to that darkness with God's truth and light and life, there's a sense of hope breaking in.  I want to help encourage the wounded and weary in our church pews, that's what I want to be a part of."

Ellie Holcomb singing "With You Now"


No comments: