Early Saturday afternoon as I sat in the hospital cafeteria with a friend, she offered her help in myriad ways – meals, kids (girls, boys, overnight, just days, her house, my house), etc., etc., and while I truly appreciated her offers, I was overwhelmed by the prospect of not only coordinating, but effectively communicating medication schedules and special diets for some of my kids. I understood her desire to help, to do something more than pray, something physical, tangible, practical, yet all I could manage was, “I honestly don’t know, but I’ll think about it – really! – and let you know.” She paused and quietly replied, “You’re a very hard woman to come alongside in a crisis.”
My friend is right. She wasn’t judging me or being harsh. She’d thoughtfully offered the help she knew I needed, but I was holding her at arm’s length doing the only thing I know to do when things get rough – keep moving forward one step at a time doing what needs to be done.
Throughout the afternoon, my friend’s words hovered at the edges of my thoughts, and slowly, bit by bit revealed a surprising truth. When crisis hits, my perspective instantly shifts and all that exists is the present moment. I am simply, completely, fully immersed in the moment. Wow! What a revelation! As I allowed that thought to sink deeply into my soul, I began to understand what an unexpectedly precious gift comes wrapped in crisis packaging. God was graciously offering me unhurried, distraction-free, intimately focused time with the man I love most in this world, not in a way I’d have chosen, but in a way I couldn’t diminish. Hour after hour, day after day as I sat beside my husband in the hospital, I was simply there. My mind wasn’t processing a dozen extraneous details. I wasn’t distracted by laundry or email or papers that needed to be graded. I wasn’t answering the phone or cutting up vegetables. I was simply there aware of the gentle, rhythmic pumping of the IV, the muffled voices of the nursing staff just beyond the door, the steady ticking of the clock, my husband’s breathing, the quiet rustling of his sheets. I was fully engaged in the moment.
And that’s when it hit me. Isn’t that how we’re supposed to live – fully engaged – not just in crisis, but in every moment of every day of our lives? So fully present that we don’t miss a thing, not a single blessing? Why do we allow ourselves to become so distracted and scattered, so over-committed and busy and stressed that we take all we’ve been given for granted? That we fail to understand all we’ve got till it’s gone?
Oh Father, teach me to live fully engaged, intently present in each moment of my life. Remind me to breathe so deeply of You that I am forever changed, daily infused with Your passion and power and love, able to embrace the surprising and unexpectedly beautiful lessons and blessings hidden in crisis. Amen.