Saturday, November 12, 2011

Getting inside the miracle

Sometimes being a writer is painful.  Words are constantly writing themselves in your head and your heart, and there is no way to capture them all in their time and place.  Often when you come back and try to revisit they come out jumbled and wrong.  I have had a flood of important things to say, but I can't.  Quite simply, I cannot hold this old laptop on my lap.  It is burning my legs and shutting down every fifteen minutes because it overheats.  My fingers cannot hover long over the keyboard before they cramp and shooting pains move up my wrists and arms.  I grieve these lost words because they continue to tell a story.

Yesterday was supposed to be a really fun evening for our family.  We don't have those often, and I put more energy than I really had into preparing for it.  We have a tradition in our little family to put up our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving Day.  We play our Christmas playlist, and the kids lovingly unwrap each precious ornament, and we talk about where it came from and what year we first got it.  When we are all done "decking the halls" we sit together with just the twinkling lights, and we begin Advent readings and singing songs and the thrill of watching and waiting.  I will be in the hospital for Thanksgiving.  Dan and I will be in another state far away from our dear girls.  It was important for me to preserve this tradition.  Knowing I would not be able to participate when I get back we had chosen last night to celebrate. 

Snyder law says what can happen will happen.  I pushed myself all day to the point I could barely hold my head up.  Danica has been sick with fever and a strange rash the past few days and really wanted to crawl in bed, but her child excitement oozed as she peeked through the clear Rubbermaid at all the baubles.  Even Delaney who seems jaded and sad more and more as my surgery approaches had so much joy in participating.  Dan got home and the fiasco began.  Our prelit tree that is three years old decided to only light up in certain sections.  The minutes of trying to replace bulbs and fuses and everything under the sun unravelled into tears and sadness.  My tenacious husband, so tired from work all day and our nights awake with Danica sick, would not give up.  He eventually took Delaney to the Hardware for something called the "Zapper".  They came home so hopeful it work work, but no life could be breathed into the lights.  Danica passed out with disappointment and fatigue.  I collapsed into bed.  Delaney hid in her room with tears and my husband stayed out there trying and trying and trying. 

Fast forward a few hours and Danica begins throwing up in my bed.  I look to the heavens.  I don't ask "Why?" any more.  I wonder if this is really growth in faith or just resignation.  I do beg for Grace.  I ask for things to just get a little easier, if not for me, please Lord, for my family who is so tired and weak and ready for some normal, some peace and some joy. 

I cannot sleep, and I keep thinking about miracles.  I think about how flippant we are with the word and how blessed I am to know what it really means.  I touch Danica's hot forehead and watch her restless snoozing.  I think of all the times Jesus healed bodies to get to the hearts.  I try to pray and get close enough to touch the hem of His garment.

One of my beloved poets, Luci Shaw, writes about getting to the root of a miracle.  This morning I sneak out of bed to find her words.

No, he is too quick.  We never
catch him at it.  He is there
sooner than our thought or prayer. 
Searching backward, we cannot discover
how, or get inside the miracle.

Even if it were here and now
how would be describe the just-born trees
swimming into place at their green
creation, flowering upward in the air
with all their thin twigs qivering
in the gusts of grace?  Or the great
white whales fluking through crystalline seas like recently inflated
balloons?  Who could time the beat
of the man's heart as the womans comes close enough to fill
his newly hollow side?  Who will diagram
the gynecology of the Incarnation,
the trigonometry of Trinity?
Or chemically analyze wine from a well?
Or see inside joints as they loosen,
and whole limbs, and lives?  Will anyone
stand beside the moving stone? And plot
the bright trajectory of Ascension?
And explain the tongues of fire
telling both heat and light?

Enough.  Refrain.  Observe.
a finished work.  Think --
today: another miracle: the feathered
arrows of my faith may link
God's bow and target.

Miracles are always about the heart.  Once again I sit at the stable in Bethlehem.  I sit at the foot of the cross.  It is finished.  And so my feeble heart still cries about being forsaken and letting this cup pass, but I give my life and my family over to the sure thing God is doing. 


  1. Wow. Thanks for making the effort to post this, Monica. You truly have a gift as a writer. Thank you for allowing us to glimpse into your family's heart. You make us laugh and cry, take us from joy to pain to gratitude and love, and I know it takes a lot of effort to share with us. Love and prayers to you.

  2. I am praying for you. I don't know any words that will make it easier, other than that. I am praying.

  3. Oh Monica, you're writing just exactly things that are forever changing people who read your words. Just as you may know you have been forever changed by the words of a favorite author, someone wise, or well published, I want you to know, that I have been forever changed by reading YOUR words, as they come about, in the process of life that has endured sufferings of many different kinds. Don't you know, God may well have pushed the pen, (or in your case) gave lift to your fingers across the keyboard, as you shared your laments, your faith, your struggles, pains, encouragements, and praises and so much that points to Him? I see a beautiful soul, becoming more and more beautiful. I anguish with you and for you and your family. But I do believe with all my heart that God will be there with you through all of this. I don't understand so many things. But I have felt Him and His goodness. I pray His peace will saturate your heart and mind and spirit in these days ahead. All I can do is pray, and I will be. Love you and your dear family. Carol