Saturday, April 7, 2012


We say, then, to anyone who is under trial, give Him time to steep the soul in His eternal truth. Go into the open air, look up into the depths of the sky, or out upon the wideness of the sea, or on the strength of the hills that is His also; or, if bound in the body, go forth in the spirit; spirit is not bound. Give Him time and, as surely as dawn follows night, there will break upon the heart a sense of certainty that cannot be shaken. – Amy Carmichael

I hear a constant creaking in the floor above me.  I don't even know if it's a person or the washer or dryer or a ghost, but it's driving me out of my ever loving mind.  I need everything to stop.  I need the kids to quit running around screaming at the dog about a Barbie shoe she's stolen.  I need to stop hearing my husband curse under his breath as he moves through another impossibly painful day without any meaningful contribution from his wife.  I need someone to quit walking across the kitchen floor to the refrigerator and filling their cup up with ice and then the water, then walking over to our door at the top of the stairs and stopping to listen and hear what is happening in our world.  I need to be alone.  I NEED TO GO HOME.  I don't know where or what that is anymore, but I need it with every fiber of my being.  Before we left for my surgery I bought the girls a cardboard house from Walgreens.  I loved it.  I told them they could work on getting it all colored while I was away.  I loved it like I love Eloise Wilkin's illustrations of perfect little homes on tree lined streets with built in bookshelves and daddies who wear cardigans and mommies who read Robert Louis Stevenson poems before bed while a breeze blows through eyelet curtains.  I want that home.  I would get better in a house like that.  I know it. 

A week ago they released me from the hospital in Maryland.  I could fill in the details about how the PIC I knew was bad was in fact bad and how the mean nurses have so little power next to the kind ones.  I could write about the night I quit breathing and scared everyone and how I tinkled the first try after my cath finally came out.  (I know this is because you were praying!)  My dear nurse Sudha had the paperwork all ready early last Saturday and when Dr. Henderson came in my room wearing his beautiful navy blue Brooks Brother's blazer and pink tie he asked me, "How are you, princess?"  I always tell him I am okay even when I want to say a million other things too.  If I could have lunch with anyone in the entire world dead or alive I think I would choose this human being.  I have never wanted to understand more how one person can do what he does as well as he does for as long as he has and still face someone like me on a Saturday morning as if I was the only person on the planet and smile the most gracious smile and know he means it.   He fixed me in ways no one else in this world could.  I believe this and claim it because God gave Him every piece of wisdom and power and Grace to do what He does.  I always hug him, and the last thing I say to him every single time is, "I pray for you.  Every day, I pray for you."  We drove a few blocks to the hotel.  I crawled into bed.  My prescriptions were set up like a street dealer on the nightstand beside me.  Anything you could want or need I could provide you.  The printout from the hospital helped make some heads or tails of the timing and reason for the over twently kinds of pills I was now consuming.

My Dan has been auditioning for this role for over a decade . . . no, really since he was a boy watching his mother slowly die in their dining room turned hospital room.  He needed no practice as he checked my dressing or jumped up to get me water, gingerale or a cracker to nibble on.  This woman beside him was the girl he never wanted to end up with.  She was the sick girl.  I am the woman who has been in and out of the hospital for years, sometimes laughing at the irony of it all and sometimes sobbing because if I could make it any different at all I would if for no other reason than to rescue him from having to live like this, the one way he really, truly didn't want to live or love. 

(Someone is "home" again upstairs.  I can hear them go to the bathroom, flush, stomp from room to room, open the back door, stomp some more. . . There is no room in the heart of gratitude for this place right now.  GO AWAY.  BE QUIET.  STOP WALKING.  STOP TALKING. . .)

I know I keep saying I will write about THE love that made my surgery possible. I have in fact written about it already.  There are drafts saved and revisions of drafts saved.  I falter over expressions too trite and words used too much to tell the story of Kristin and Mellany and their "Run for Monica".  Kristin came to see me at the hotel last Sunday.  This unlikely of friendships formed over an email here and there through the first years of our journey with Danica.  I now call her the champion of the only REAL healthcare plan that will work in this country, the only one that ever worked.  It's quite simply people loving people.  Each one of you who gave to my family and I have effectively changed something in the world.  Your love brought me to the doctors I needed to see and the care I needed to receive.  This is beautiful.  I hope you sit with it for awhile and know this is just one of many ways we can take back the freedoms we are losing.  Love always wins.  Kindness always matters. 

I have a kidney infection.  I need to see a doctor.  I need more pills.  I refuse to see an urgent care physician.  I refuse to tell my ridiculous story to a doctor who quite honestly doesn't care how remarkable my journey has been to get a scrip for an antibiotic for some bad pee.  I will wait until Monday and see my "REAL" doctor.  This also means I will suffer through some more uncomfortable symptoms.  I don't think I could ever explain to you, "the happy people", who will shop last minute for Easter tights and find eggs with treats hidden in daffodils and forsythia bushes and make Resurrection cookies what it feels like to be THIS family another year.  What if we are forgetting what it's like to be just even a little okay?  What if we forget how to celebrate at all?  What if our hope does eventually disappoint? 

Last fall I wanted fabulous cowgirl boots.  They were to celebrate making it through my brain surgery.  They were to remind myself and everyone else, "This ain't my first rodeo!"  They were to return the authentic part of Monica I have slowly lost in every ER triage room and operating room and surgery recovery room.  I didn't buy them.  I mean I don't go anywhere anyways, right?  And the guilt of buying anything for oneself when people are donating money to you is one of the painful pitfalls of living in charity.  You feel as if every penny is under scrutiny.  This spring I wanted bright green rubber Welly boots with daisies. I wanted to walk with my Danica and splash in puddles.  I wanted to take her to the park and watch her play and not yell, "No!" once.  As it turns out I couldn't really take walks, and it didn't really rain, and I haven't been to a park in over a year.  Now I dream of flip flops.  A simple beach house, no other family, just us four, and sand in our toes and sun in our face and a real window I could leave open at night and hear the breeze through and maybe even the distant waves.  You'd think I would stop dreaming of silly shoes and places they might take me away from this bed and this basement, but I don't.  I collage every quarter a "vision" for my life and every single time I include a pair of shoes.  I want so desperately to move anywhere past this place. 

For tomorrow I wanted orange rolls, mimosas and our own celebration with our own ham and a banner shouting "HE'S ALIVE" and pictures of our family smiling and praising and living even just a little because that's why He died, right?  That's why He didn't stay there in that tomb?  So we could live life MORE abundantly?  So, why does it feel like He's just gone?  Am I going to find Him?  Will He look different?  Will I recognize Him?  Am I even ready to see in part this glory? 

This morning I called my husband into the bathroom to check out the toilet.  He hates this.  He hates it when I ask him to feel a lump on my head or a bulge on my neck and cringes when I need to talk about anything health related.  He came in.  It was bloody.  Not like a few drops of Easter egg food coloring that make the entire thing of water and vinegar red but the kind you know came from pain and fear and clots and definitely not normal.  I don't freak out.  I almost never freak out about anything any more.  I ask him in a shaky voice, "So, what do you think?  Is this is a problem?"  I have had bloody stools for over three months.  I haven't told anyone.  Frankly because I am on complete overload and wouldn't know how to move forward with another health problem if it arose.  It hurts to sit and lay and walk and talk and yes, it is most likely a problem.  "Thanks, honey for checking it.  It scares me, and it makes me feel better knowing you have seen it too."  This man definitely didn't choose to live or love this way.  But he does.  Over and over again he does. 

My surgery was a success.  I know people come to this blog for medical details, and I want to give them but today the words are just a bunch of mumbo jumbo in a big pot of stone soup made up of an incredible sadness I cannot describe.  I should be joyful.  I should be grateful.  I should be hopeful, but He is not here.

Over and over again I have striven to be honest and to point to Him as I write here.  This afternoon I can tell you I have cried my eyes out for hours today.  My heart is breaking as if I don't understand a word of what He's promised me about His Resurrection and Home.

Today I am looking for this certainty, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." 

Healing is there. 
Home is there. 
Hope is there.

He is there!



  1. Dearest Monica,

    Several days ago, I wrote the following to a group of ladies I have never met in person but who share with me in a prayer chain.

    "I read a wonderful quote from "Forever" (by Paul David Tripp) that has been so comforting to me these past couple weeks: '...because our focus is on the moment and not on God's
    eternal process, what we hope and long for is grace that will relieve the
    pressures of the moment...Because we are more focused on personal ease than
    personal transformation (which is God's eternal purpose), we hope for the grace
    of release...On this side of eternity, God's grace often comes to us in
    unexpected and uncomfortable forms. The grace of relief and release are
    coming...When we look from the vantage point of eternity at what God is zealous
    about and committed to, what we have experienced from the hand of God begins to
    make sense. He is not committed to making our days comfortable, easy, orderly,
    and predictable, because he is more committed to our eternal good than he is to
    our present ease...He has invaded our lives with patient, transforming grace,
    and he will use the difficulties of life in this broken world as tools of grace
    until his grace has finished its work and forever is our final home.'"

    I've been experiencing boatloads of His transforming grace and just now
    realizing it as grace rather than abandonment because I wasn't experiencing His
    grace of release (that I had been praying for) at the moment. That day will come, that day will come. Keep leaning and looking up, dear Monica.

  2. Oh Monica, thank you for being so very brave, so very honest, so very real!!! You don't know me, I was told about your blog site by another friend. Perhaps it is so you can have yet one more sister lift you and your loved ones up to Him. I want you to know that I, too, believe in the Certainty you finished your blog with. Certainty and Hope. "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies" May you feel His presence very soon. Hugs.
    Mary Beates

  3. Another stranger (friend of a friend) stopping by to say you are loved, and you are being prayed for this morning (and every morning). Gentle hugs to you this Easter, Monica!

  4. My mom kept telling me I needed to read your blog. I think she knew I'd find a real kindred spirit. You're an excellent writer, btw, very realistic about what it's like for you as a Christian to live with these terrible health crises. I too have several health issues, and I've had the same thoughts about life with my husband. Things just haven't turned out like we thought they would. It does however make me understand now the longing for Heaven when there will be no more pain, no more tears. I will pray for you and your family, my sister.

  5. I am thinking of you as well. I am praying for you, and your entire family. My heart breaks for you after reading this...I am so sorry but I am also so thankful for your honesty.

  6. Monica and Family,
    I'm praying for you. I know you feel so alone, but there are many who have never even met you, myself included, who are deeply touched by your difficult circumstances, and your striving to hold on to the light. Don't let the enemy tell you the lie no one cares. We're reading, and your God is still there. Hold on.