How Loud Is Your Silence

Tonight, as of 8:24 pm, CST, my wife of almost eight years remains in the hospital. If you were to see her tonight, she’d be in a greenish hospital gown, connected to an IV pump via a central line. Through that IV just continues to receive saline fluids to help keep Liz hydrated, antibiotics that are being given to fight infection(s), pain medicine and nausea medicine, as needed. Liz is tired, hungry, in pain, and ready to be done with this particular hospital stay; all of them for that matter. This afternoon, Liz was from a full-liquid diet to a regular diet. This move will help determine whether or not she is able to be discharged from the hospital and come home.

What is interesting about Liz’s case is that so often times, her pain is so great from dealing with some issue or another throughout the week, that by Friday, she can’t take it any longer and  needs to see a medical professional. But also on Friday, she is often discharged from whatever hospital she has been a patient in. I’ll be transparent with you, I get nervous and occasionally scared because I am not always certain I know what to do or how to do it if an issue arises. There have been times when stitches have come home and I had to deal directly with the inside of her abdominal cavity. For several months after the quads were born, I would often times help Liz in changing the colostomy bag and patch. I have given shots, changed dressings, addressed wounds, and handled medicines that drug addicts would pay top dollar for. But, in my puny little brain of worry and fear, I begin, once again, playing the “What If” game. What if her need is greater than my ability?

That takes me to the days when Candice had a trache. Whether it was in the night in her sleep or during the day, while playing with her siblings, she would pull it right out of throat. And several times, Liz and I would end up with blood on our hands as we tried to reinsert the tube so that Candice’s breathing could be stabilized. Liz with a history of a stroke, brain surgery, colon resections, multiple organs removed, a rib removed (now we’re even), and cell regeneration; Logan with one kidney; Hudson with cerebral palsy; Madison with significant eye issues (that potentially is getting worse, but we are monitoring them often); Candice with major vocal cord issues due to the 4-step airway reconstruction she has gone through; and Samantha with her speech delay (some notice it, some don’t); and yet…we’re all still here. We don’t have much figured out, but this I do know…” Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? James 2:5 Now I just need to work on the “rich in faith” part.

In keeping with the theme of finding joy in the problems, struggles, and trials, I am going to go over a several things that I experienced, witnessed, or felt today that caused me to pause, or smile, or thank God for. (And these are in no particular order.) #1.) This morning, for breakfast, I had a bowl of knock-off Cocoa Puffs. And when I was finished, I drank the simply made chocolate milk that was left in the bowl. #2.) Tonight, after the kids had their baths, the bathroom was picked up, and all the ‘bajamas’ were picked out, all six of us went out on the balcony to sit and enjoy the evening air together, while I brushed my three daughters’ hair. #3.) Listening to a friend as he talked with his son about helping me mow and weed-eat. #4.) While sitting in the carpool line at the kids’ school this afternoon, Deion Sanders pulls up next to me. Once we made eye contact, he gave me the “wha-dup” nod. #5.) A friend’s daughter asking to see Candice before she went back for surgery. #6.) Hearing that Liz is one step closer to coming home. #7.) Having a phone conversation with a man who I met one time about his family, in particular, his kid. Hearing his fear and worry through his tear-filled words. And attempting to convey to him that I truly wanted to be a friend that he could count on during this time a pending end. #8.) Finding ways to laugh with friends when times are tough. #9.) Not being left alone. When there are obvious needs that need to be met and people come alongside, without judgment, and reach out that hand to silently say, “You’re gonna get through this because I’m here with you.” #10.) Having opportunities to serve others, to listen to others, to be excited with others, to pray with others, to hurt for others, and to live life with others.

I’ve been driving around a lot lately. I listen to several different radio stations and a couple different CDs. I watch others in their cars. I read all the signs by the side of the road (that’s for you Tim.) I watch all three mirrors. I listen to the kids talk to each other. But mostly, I think a lot. I think about a lot of people I know. I think of ways to get Liz better. I think about my attitude towards a lot of things. I think about a lot of men I know who are hurting for a variety of reasons. I think about old friends and wonder what’s going on with them. I think about my mom and dad and brother. I think about the man who is worried about his son or the man worried about his dad. I think about the mom who is struggling alone. I think about the man who doesn’t know which way is up any more. I think about certain scripture verses that I have read over the last several days and wonder what it is God is trying to tell me.

Sitting in church, where people are “suppose” to care about others, so many sit silently in pain. Sitting in a government office, pleading one’s case for help, the silence grows louder. Crying in the car, in a locked bathroom, or at the hospital. We get so busy with what we think we are to do next that we don’t notice the one beaten and battered by life. How many of us, myself included, are great at putting up a front that shines and sparkles on the outside?

The deal is, others have been there and pulled through. Others are standing there, not with a hand out, but with arms open wide, waiting to complete the hug. Pride? Past hurts? Confusion? Bitterness? Been there, had/have those. But at the end of this day, understanding that the purpose for your life was never meant to be completed alone, there’s still time to break the silence, speak up, and if talking to the right people, you’ll be heard and helped. If nothing happens, you’ll know that some fruit trees are dried up and dead.

Christ didn’t wait for us to ask Him for His life so that we may live. He knew the need and went and took care of it. If you know someone at work, at church, on your street, in your family,…or maybe its yourself…go and take care of the need. You may end up being more blessed than the one you’re helping.

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One Response to “How Loud Is Your Silence”

  1. As we continue to praise Him and pray to Him, this blog convinced/reminded me of someone here I have to go visit.

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