It was just another normal extraordinary day.
Yesterday my friends John and Kori received news about the little baby girl they’ve been waiting to adopt. They know her name, they’ve seen pictures of her, and in less than two months they will be able to travel to China and hold her in their arms. This is a wonderful thing, even a blessed thing, and I’m very thankful for them and for the palpable joy they communicate in loving this little girl.
Yesterday I also heard from my friend Paula in Colorado. Her (now ex) husband left her a year ago, moved in with a woman twenty years younger than himself. But he continues to harass her, verbally abuse her, threaten her. She’s trying to raise two teenaged sons, playing supermom when she’s scared and lonely and fragile, working to earn money that never quite adds up to what is needed, dealing with a hole in her soul that no one else wants to deal with. “Get over him,” her friends tell her. “He’s an ass.” And I want to strangle people I don’t even know.
After work I drove up to Amity, Ohio, to visit the farm home of my friends Don and Joyce. Joyce has bone cancer, and has been in remission for the past couple years. Over Christmas her condition rapidly deteriorated. Now she can hardly walk. She’s weak, and sleeps most of the day. The doctors have offered the less-than-comforting options of three different kinds of aggressive chemotherapy treatments whose side effects are almost as bad as the disease itself. They have decided to forego all of those options and focus on a more natural cure, which apparently consists of various vitamins and nutrients in powder form, stirred into gallons of carrot juice every day. I want to shake my head. But mostly I want to cry. I’m not sure I would do anything different if I were in their shoes. Desperate times call for desperate measures. What the hell. Guzzle that carrot juice. It’s got to be better than constant vomiting and diarrhea.
Mostly I listened to them, listened to the litany of medical woes, names of medications, names of vitamins and gluco-nutrients. Then I hugged them and prayed for them. They’re grasping at anything, desperate for anything that might work. And I prayed for healing, prayed that God would work a miracle. And I believe that God can do those things. But I also wanted to bludgeon my head against the wall. I hate this. I cordially hate it.
I got home at 10:30 after having been gone for 15 hours. I didn’t want to see my family, although I dearly love them. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I felt exhausted. No, maybe not exhausted, because I didn’t feel physically tired. But I felt weary. I had a soul ache. I wanted to punch somebody. I wanted to punch Death, but he seemed to be out of easy reach. And so I went to bed, and punched my pillow, and prayed some more, and tossed and turned until 3:00 a.m.
So this is how I talk about it. Sometimes it helps to write. Sometimes it doesn’t. I still want to bludgeon my head against the wall.