And The Eyes Have It

Whether it was your classmate in the second grade or maybe your first crush or your spouse of forty-one years…Perhaps it was that person at the airport or maybe as you passed one another at the mall or even at church camp at that one Summer…no matter where it was for you, do you remember locking eyes with that person and now you have a mental picture of their face, but mostly their eyes, that will never leave you? After all these years or maybe just days, you can still describe their shape, color and that sense of searching. It is as if they are looking past your lashes down to the depths of your soul. You don’t know whether to be mesmerized that they are interested in who you are or too afraid of what they might find so you find the urge to break the gaze. For that moment, which cinematographers worldwide attempt to emulate, you are frozen, while the world around you spins to the sound of some #1 hit from a recent romantic comedy. You refuse to look away. Even now, you smile and begin to fill those crazy butterflies stirring. But alas, the flattery and the pause of a lifetime came to an end. You tuck it  back in the goody box of your mind, the place where you store your most favorite of memories.

This last week, God and I have been locked in. Not necessarily on the same page, but it’s as if we are playing the staring game and I blink every few seconds. He’s not trying to win. He just wants me to keep my eyes open long enough to catch a glimpse of what He sees in me. When you are face to face with someone, you can often times see your reflection in their eyes. You see what they see. I am afraid to see what He sees. My God, the one that put this mess together, is opening every locked door within me and seems unfazed. It’s as if He is still trying to convince me that He still loves me, despite my doubt and questioning.

I need to write these next few words. I will attempt to get through this without tearing up, but have already once today. (God, please protect my children that all these hospitals visits and conversations won’t affect them negatively.) This afternoon, after great worship and message this morning at church, and after a great lunch with some guests, the kids and I headed to Dallas to visit one of God’s greatest works. Several moments into our visit, Liz was saying something to me and something caught my eye. Liz wasn’t talking right. Something was wrong with her mouth. One of the biggest reasons it scared me was because this was the same hospital where Liz had her stroke, just a few years ago. We called the nurse in and she ran some initial tests to get a read on whether or not something neurological was occurring or not. Liz expressed to the nurse and I that the right side of her face had been hurting all day. She showed us where her face was swollen along the cheekbone. As I felt it, there was something definitely not right.

The nurse talked to the doctor fairly quickly. The doctor felt as if it was an allergic reaction to the new antibiotic that was given to Liz for a new infection that was found. At this point, that new antibiotic has been stopped and Benadryl  has been administered. Liz’s right arm is also now swollen and painful due to the flu shot. I understand wanting to protect those bed-ridden patients, but can we please hold off on introducing more meds and antibodies in her body?

With tomorrow marking a week since Liz has been admitted and still having complications, it was time to voice my concerns and frustrations. I never once raised my voice. I never once attacked today’s nurse. But, I expressed ridiculous this hospital stay had become due to the fact that issue after issue kept arising. Katie was patient and attentive. I gave her my thoughts on plans moving forward and things to think about and to discuss with the doctor. Today, in front of the kids, I fought for my wife. Today, with attentive eyes watching, I fought for their mommy. As I look back over that moment from today, I realize how quiet it they were. (God, help me…please…to be the daddy they were made to have.) The older they get and the more sick Liz gets, the path is beginning to narrow.

Why is it that every time I have a great Sunday morning of signing to and about a God of wonder, that I end the feeling like I have been through a battler? (please sense the extreme rhetoricalization of the moment) Within the span of a few hours, I was blessed by a conversation with a guy that hadn’t been in church for a while, I spoke with a mom that feared for her son and grandson, and spent time with a couple talking about the importance of being connected with other Christians so that you had someone to walk with you when life is batting 1.000.

Tomorrow is Monday. A new day. The start of a new school week for the kids. Another week of Liz and I being apart due to medical difficulties. But, God is standing in front of me, facing me, eyes locked, and hands on my shoulders. He’s about to send me back into the ring. And now, more than ever, it’s not just my “coach” standing on the outside shouting directions and encouragement. Now, the number of people praying during the fight seems to be growing. Such prayers are like adrenaline shots to the heart. My attitude has shifted. I feel beaten and battered at night when I lay down, but the perspective is different. It’s no longer a motto of “How much longer?”. It’s now, “Whatever It Takes.”

I didn’t get the chance to watch a single down of football today. This weekend, my Tennessee Volunteers, Tennessee Titans, and New York Yankees lost. Liz was in the hospital at the beginning of the weekend and is still there here at the end. But I guess, I have done some growing. Because tonight, I think Him for it all, genuinely. For in my struggles, He is made stronger within me. My loss is His gain, which is really my gain…I can’t lose.


One Response to “And The Eyes Have It”

  1. “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
    Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:48-51)

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