Greetings friends. Forgive the prolonged silence here. And the unecessarily shocking headline. The illness at present is not nearly as serious as cancer or crohns, but in the present, it is no less taxing. And so I write now merely to ask for prayer, for we are feeling the absence of intercession these days (if only in the details).
There is no doubt much good to say, much news to tell, but I haven’t the energy now nor the clarity of thought to tell it. I did a few weeks ago, during which I spent parts of ten days piecing together a two page update creatively detailing the major stories of these past three months. But then, before I got a chance to post it, I lost it. Stuck in dismay over a good work gone, I haven’t been able to try my hands at it again, until today. Today is just too much.
But first, the few paragraphs I had backed up before my computer crashed…
My heart aches with gratitude. A weight of abundant blessing hangs heavy on my heart. Like an anchor, not a plow. Not a burden, but a mooring, a point of reference. A launch pad, perhaps. Or the bottom end of a kite string, firmly held, so that instead of being blown away, this kite rises higher with each blast of wind.
God, thank you for gratitude. Thank you for nurturing gratitude, for feeding it, for creating the context for it to flourish naturally. Almost effortlessly. How refreshing. How contrary to the gratitude hard won by faith these past years – that posture of praise that is one part reaction and three parts will. How grateful I am for this gratitude you’ve put so deep within me, anchoring the lighter, more visible, wind-catching aspects of my being.
Thank you for the steady hand of gratitude holding the other end of this kite’s string. And because of it, I am not blowing away, but rising again. In this wind.
Christmas this year was pleasant, rich, peaceful… almost enchanting.
It didn’t have to be. Sick kids. Sick us. Has hardly been a day since early December that one of us hasn’t been sick. Head colds. Respiratory infections. Stomach flu. Ear infections. I took my annual trip to ER in an ambulance a few days after Christmas. And spent my first night up on the eighth floor at Regions since January 2006.
And there’s the looming financial uncertainty. In the nation’s economy and our family’s bank account. Shrinking reservoir. The calendar year for our health insurance turned over early December, so we started over on our out of pocket expenses again. One trip to the pharmacy for five medicines cost $600, another $500. Good news is, add that to the trip to ER, and we’ve probably met our deductible for the year.
So Christmas didn’t have to be good, but it was. Like the feasts and festivals the LORD gave the ancient Hebrews. Like the year of Jubilee when debts were cancelled and slaves released. We gave been cared for this Christmas in ways practical and abundant. We were able to buy gifts without impeding budget boundaries. We were able to give generously. I can’t tell you what good that has done for our hearts – for my heart specifically – to be able to turn from a primary function of consumption to contribution. To be able to give.
So that’s the bigger story context for this lament and plea for prayer.
We truly had a wonderful December. Three solid months, actually, of me on steroids. And it was good. Productive. Hopeful. Manageable. It really felt like the beginning of something new, something kind of like me (and Jen and me) before all of this broken body stuff. I was doing stuff, and dreaming, and capably caring for my family. But, little by little, since midnight on the 26th of December (when Jen first got sick, and I dropped into the final descent of my taper off prednisone), the colors began to fade.
The pain has come back. I’m weaker in my hands and wrists than I remember being before. I’m clumsy. I drop stuff. Keyboards hurt. Computer and piano. I’m discouraged, really. A guy has a hard time hoping when he can’t do stuff.
Then I got sick. Then Ade, and Eli, and then Jen again. Right now, all four of us are sick with something, each of us racked with a different variation of a malicious bug. And then really, who takes care of whom? We’re managing, with family nearby (Jen’s dad, Bruce, has been here four days this week), but not well. And the frustration is going deep, as well as the subversion of hope. When will things change? And how?
May, maybe. When baby Erickson number three makes his home here. We learned a month back that the bun in the oven is a boy. Good news in many ways, as we were told we’d unlikely be able to have kids again. So that’s great! But how are we going to do this? Really. I’ve got more questions now than answers. More problems than solutions. And it is such a sharp contrast to the inertia of hope I felt so deeply just weeks ago.
So we’ve got troubles on the outside (being sick, mostly, and in pain), and troubles on the inside (discouraged, depressed maybe?). Those of you who are still checking this blog regularly are probably those of you who pray. I trust you’ll know what to do with this. I’d write more of gratitude and momentum and hope and faith if I could (and there would be much to write), but I can’t. My wrists hurt, and I’m tired. And I think number two just woke from his third nap today.
Unpoetically grateful and hopeful (while shamefully despairing),
I am still…