“I should be holding Danica.” I heard the desperation in Monica’s voice. “I shouldn’t be running around like a crazy woman packing linens and worrying about whether Laney’s Benadryl is packed. I should be holding her. I could lose her.” Her voice broke.
I sighed, “Oh, friend. I would be there in a heartbeat if I could. I’d pack for you so you could hold her.”
Monica laughed, “A lot of good you’d be! You could curl up in bed with us and we could heal together and snuggle her.”
Begrudgingly I admitted my uselessness in the packing department. “Ok. I wish I were healthy. I’d be there in a heartbeat.”
Those two words hold a lot of power over me as I think about the path my dearest childhood friend must walk with her family. Wishing she didn’t have to walk through this. Wishing I could be there. Wishing I could fix it. Wishing it were a different timing. Wishing we had the money to travel 500 miles away to sit with her in that cold hospital for weeks while her daughter is in ICU. Wishing it were all so different.
Honestly, I have wasted many hours with wishing, and the wishing has only served one purpose. To make me angry.
I have struggled for days with this anger, unsure of what to do with it. You see, I’ve gone through these past years and not struggled with the anger that often comes with trials. So this is new to me. I haven’t felt it before in all of my own suffering.
But I am feeling it now. For her and for Dani and for Dan and for Laney. And I realize what it boils down to is the anger comes when I make it about me and not about HIM or about them. Because while all my wishes are valid, they are me focusing on me. I’m good at that, in case you didn’t know.
So I go to God with it. There is nowhere else to go with my sin and my weakness, and I tell Him. I tell Him all of it, because He can handle it and He knows it all anyway.
I talk to Monica and then I sit. I want to write perfect words for her and for Danica. This little girl who has walked through so much and is facing unthinkable surgery and pain on Tuesday.
I want to write a tribute to my friend–a woman of whom I stand in awe every single day.
But there are no words.
Monica and Dan leave tonight (Sunday) to the Children’s Hospital with Danica. If you don’t know their story, you can see Moni’s blog here. Danica is having major (and major seems like such a small word) surgery for a chiari brain malformation. A brian decompression along with a spinal fusion. Weeks in the ICU, months in a body cast. Hospital fees that blow my mind.
Suffering for all of them.
Delaney, Monica and Dan’s oldest, is staying home with friends and family and enduring separation again from her parents and sister.
And I ask, knowing the answer already, how do they do this? Carry all these burdens?
Monica has lived through so much pain in her life. It feels like too much. But I hear her voice on the phone saying how she believes she needs these hard things in her life so she won’t forget, so she’ll be driven to her Lord daily–refusing independence and clinging to dependence.
I often talk about how I must pray every day to hold my children loosely. They belong to God, not me. That goes for my friendships, too. And when I go to Him with my anger, I go with my friend and her family, and I surrender my grip on them. A grip I don’t really have anyway.
We cried together as we said our good-byes, promising texts and updates and love.
“We all pray somewhere,” she said, “On our beds, our couches, our office chairs, at our kitchen counters.” Her voice choked, “I’m just asking people to go a little lower for Danica on Tuesday. I’m just asking people to get on their knees.”
My anger dissipates. God is gracious like that. And I turn to the only One Who can walk through this with them every step. The only One Who feels every sigh, counts every tear, and fashioned every single one of their days.
I cannot be with her.
But I can pray.
On my knees.
That is my place in all this.
So, my friends, that’s what I’m asking. Will you take this posture with me for my dear friends? This humble posture of extreme helplessness, of begging? But also this beautiful posture of deep worship?
Will you go on your knees for my friends with me?
(Last FB post from Monica is that they got on the waiting list for The Ronald McDonald House. This is huge, but they’re still not in. They will be staying in a hotel near the hospital until they get in (if they get in). Will you pray for more children to heal and be able to go home, so that a room will open for them?)