They swooped into the ICU, a gaggle of church women – loud, excited, demanding. Their leader shouted, “I believe in a God of miracles.”
So do I. Shut up!
They swarmed into a circle, grabbed hands and entreated God to do something NOW – to bring back to wholeness my precious friend.
Certain that raw emotion and lack of sleep caused my abrasive attitude, I nevertheless watched them with rising irritation.
The doctors had agreed. No treatments were working. We were preparing our hearts for the inevitable tragedy as each breath brought Deb’s life closer to its end.
Of course, God could have blinked his eye and restored the paralysis from a massive stroke. He could have balanced her red blood cells that fell way below normalcy.
But Deb’s timeline was determined before she was born. As much as we hated to accept it, she was reaching its end.
When we face the unexpected tragedy, we pray for a miracle. We want life to return to what it was before. We long to delete the past weeks that brought nothing but bad news.
Yet when we demand that God restore life OUR way and in OUR timing, we fail to see the miracles already occurring. We are blinded by our own self-righteousness.
Within that ICU, family and friends became one. At the beginning of the journey, we dared to hope – planned how Deb’s next weeks would include healthy meals and constant attention to her needs.
Then as the crash happened and reality changed, we clung to each other, physically and emotionally. The drama we shared in that room brought unity and love that even now brings me to a tearful awe. With all the demographics and ages present, all the differences in beliefs – a miracle of togetherness drew us close.
Shared sorrow expanded hearts.
After the gaggle left, still demanding their version of God’s will, I moved beside the bed and held Deb’s hand. The miracle of our friendship seemed a sweeter gift than ever before. The way her family embraced me and included me in Deb’s last days helped salve my broken heart. Another miracle of acceptance and compassion.
Ultimately, the greatest miracle DID occur. Certainly not the one we wanted, longed for. At the end of that terrible day, Deb’s body failed and she left us.
But the ultimate miracle happened as her invisible soul traveled into eternity – a forever of peace and joy.
We can always pray for the miracle we want and hope for the best. But if we demand the miraculous to look like our earthly description, we will be disappointed. Even Lazarus had to die again.
My friend will never have to struggle through another winter or face another tax season. She has been released from her worries and fears.
But hope still lives in the legacy she left behind and the miracle of how her life impacted so many.
©2017 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Dear Rebecca, thank you for this wonderful piece. I mean peace. Both! Thank you for being there. Your genuine self was a piece of the bridge that allowed me, who otherwise would have relegated herself to the lonely fringes, to be fully present and a member of the loving group that ushered Debby out of this life into the next. Our collective heart for Debby counted so much more than our individual differences, partly because we did not judge each other for experiencing the loss in disparate ways. We all just hurt and loved and railed and sang and prayed together. What a present Debby gave us, as only she could. Love, Sue
Sent from my iPhone
thanks so much, Sue. And in spite of the terrible drama we experienced, there was somehow beauty – yes amazing love – in that room. It was an honor to share that with you.
Thanks for a great reminder to view the miraculous as it’s likely intended – through a wide angle lens. Into ‘eternity – a forever of peace and joy’ (a super line)
thanks, Jerry – I know you understand miracles in a personal way !
What a wonderful way to explain the miracle of death. He can restore health in a blink of an eye, however, that’s not always His plan. It’s a miracle to receive His peace when we don’t understand….
Thanks, Deb and so true – it IS a miracle to receive his peace.
Hi R.J. I grieve with you for your friend. We don’t get that many real true friends in this life, so you are blessed that you had her. My friend from childhood on passed away 23 years ago at the early age of 40 years old. Each day that I open my eyes I still think of her. My one consolation is that she, too, is with the Savior. So,in the midst of tears and heavy heartedness, I pray that you feel special to have had her as your friend. God be with you and her family in the days and weeks ahead. My prayers are certainly with you all.
II Corinthians 5:1 says, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
Thanks so much for your comment from the voice of faith and experience. The grief is still very fresh, but yes – I rejoice she is free, happy and safe in God’s arms.