My attention has been drawn back to the year 2007 when I was in a hospital emergency room experiencing heart attack symptoms. While there I met an eighty-four old grandmother who confided in me that it didn’t matter if she lived or died at this point in her life. As she poured out her sorrows to me my heart broke even more.
This wonderful woman had lost two adult children…one to cancer and the other in a car accident. If that wasn’t bad enough one of her grandchildren, at eighteen months, had died of meningitis.
I believe we met at that particular time because I needed her strength and courage to lean on. I had had lung cancer surgery two years prior to this heart episode, and my husband, now in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease, was dying.
How much is too much? Only God knows.
Yesterday’s lesson was about obstacles and finding riches; today’s is about giving in this last of the internet series of some of life’s lessons.
Giving When it Counts – Many years ago when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?” Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.
Dear God, there are those among us whose life is a struggle each day due to the darkness of depression. We know that this malady can be caused by an imbalance in brain chemistry and the hormone, serotonin. We know it can be triggered by life’s problems; by some medications or by dementia-causing diseases. Through no fault of their own, many people slip into the abyss of depression, and can’t find their way out. Be their guiding light, Lord. Lead them into the paths of those who can help them in their struggle. Give their lives meaning, and where there is darkness let there be light. Give those of us who are free from this battle, the compassion and the wisdom to be the channel for your healing love. Amen.
Psalm 30, verse 5 says rejoicing comes in the morning, but there are those of us who find that a shallow promise when our joy is sabotaged by some of life’s events.
Dreaded diseases, death, loss of love, soured relationships, and sometimes just life itself can leave us feeling joyless.
However, Jesus tells us in John 16:20 that our grief will turn to joy. I take this to mean whatever we are suffering will turn to joy.
I really like this promise, and in spite of all else, because of it, at times find myself rejoicing anyway.