“I am where I’m meant to be,” I kept telling myself as all my Friday plans were ditched and I succumbed to day two of a migraine.
Things happen for a divine reason and here I was, re-learning what it means to be present. My daughter was home sick and we’d just come through a rough 72 hours.
I walked into the family room to check on her – my daughter-patient – lounging in front of the TV. I was thinking I could console her in some way when she reached her arms up to me. There was a fraction of a smile in her eyes and I realized in an instant, she wasn’t asking for a hug, she was giving one.
I let myself sink down into the soft couch corner beside her and rested my head on hers, our blond hair commingling on the blue pillows. We exhaled at the same time.
“I need to work on an article,” I said.
“No, you don’t.”
“I also need to write a blog post.”
“No, you don’t.”
“My head still hurts.”
“I know. That’s why you need to just sit here and be a couch potato. With me.”
There is a connection between a mother and her daughter that is unique. And when the nurturer in the daughter is born, it is with a wordless tenderness.
Late night on Shrove Tuesday, my daughter had come down with severe stomach pains. They were bad enough to bring on tears, and she is not the crying type. We rushed to our hospital’s pediatric ER and spent the rest of the night there. She had many ‘firsts:’ her first IV, first ultrasound, and first MRI – as the pain, which she rated an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 – moved from all over her belly to the lower right quadrant. If you’re guessing appendicitis, so was everyone else.
The tests were all inconclusive, but thankfully, the pain was gradually subsiding by Wednesday afternoon. It seemed to be some weird viral issue. She could go home under the condition that she should return if things got worse or a fever developed. As it turned out, the slight, residual pain would last a few more days, and my mothering eyes didn’t rest until my daughter seemed fully herself once again.
I make it sound like it was all bad, don’t I? It wasn’t.
Ever since I acknowledged my dependence on God so many years ago, I carry within my soul an abiding sense of peace that doesn’t waver, even when circumstances make my mind wander into a land of worry and concern.
So when I pray, the two – mind and soul – are both at work. With my mind, I address the One I know is my ever-ready and ever-present help.
Watching needles going into my daughter’s veins….
Lord, steady her. Please relieve her pain.
As I saw her organs flash across a screen, images in black and white…
Please Lord, help this radiologist to find the problem.
And from my soul, words of praise and hope sometimes bubble up spontaneously. While standing next to the MRI, holding my daughter’s hands, extended above her head as she tried to remain still, my heart and soul sang the songs of my childhood.
Father, I adore You
Lay my life before you
How I love you
I didn’t know what the diagnosis would be, but I had faith that God was there.
He was there in the consoling words of the nurse who made my daughter smile as she put in the IV; in the kindness of the staff who brought us warm blankets so we could try to sleep; and in the gentle eyes of the doctor who listened carefully to the story of my own appendectomy and readily admitted that yes, appendicitis runs in families, so I had every reason to be suspicious when my daughter doubled up in pain.
The goodness God gives to us through the people who cross our paths gets passed on when we give it away.
We are His hands in the world.
And sometimes, His love comes back to us in the form of a needed hug from a daughter-patient.
God is always with us, and our souls want to talk with him.
Our relationship with God depends less on what we do than on which direction we face.
Are we turned toward Him? Or away?
There’s only one place I’m meant to be. Wherever I am, that’s looking up at Him.