So I found myself in a pit, and I found Jesus there with me, from the start. But--although He offered it, and although I knew He could supply it--I refused the comfort of Christ. And He did not thrust it upon me. He just sat beside me, in the dark, listening. Waiting.
I knew He was there.
Meanwhile, God showed up outside of my pit. For example, two years into my brother's ordeal, a prayerful, chiropractic friend expressed to my sister-in-law a desire to examine my brother's neck. I forget exactly how it went but know the chiropractor pointed the way, somehow, to the Tarlov-cyst diagnosis because--since my brother's stomach (and not his back) had been hurting--no one had been looking at my brother's spine.
Thankfully, I recorded some of the good because--as I just indicated--I can't remember all of it. I wasn't necessarily focusing on the good. I was in a pit, and I refused to be satisfied by anything less than my brother's complete, instantaneous healing. In my pit, I was a brat.
Until Sharon reminded me, I couldn't even remember that--the first time she'd ever helped me--I'd been lamenting my brother's illness.
But, in October 2007, I wrote about Cassandra (with whom I worked, at the time) and how--upon my getting ready to head to Johns Hopkins for the invasive compression of my brother's first cyst--she'd stood and hugged me with her entire being, saying, "Just believe. Believe. Believe." I wrote about how--after Dr. Long's saying the surgery had been successful--I'd watched a woman in scrubs touch the outstretched, right foot on the statue of Christ in the hospital as she'd walked briskly past and how, just after that, my eyes had met a column in a city parking lot that said, simply, "Believe."
Later, in the same month, I wrote about Cade's making a decision for Christ. And about CJ's (my brother's older son's) making a decision for Christ.
In November 2007, after the procedure to repair my brother's spinal-fluid leak, I wrote about waking up in a Baltimore, hotel room and seeing a very tall, shadowy figure in the doorway. I'd known it wasn't human and had felt like it was there for good, not harm, so I'd gone back to sleep. When, the next day, I'd told my brother about having seen, possibly, an angel, he'd nodded and said, matter-of-factly: "Tall, wasn't it."
I wrote these good things, but what I remember best is the bad. I remember that--after one of my brother's surgeries--he was permitted one visitor, and his father-in-law (the kind-hearted pastor who officiated Jim's and my wedding ceremony, Cade's and CJ's baptism, and my daughters' dedications) sent me, after which I stood over my brother and wept so hard that he looked up and asked quietly, out of dry lips set in a pale face, "I'm dying, aren't I?"
I remember my begging and weeping; my inner twisting; my tight clenching of teeth; my feeling as though my heart were in a vice; my sleeplessness and alternate, deep depressive sleepiness; and just my sheer, bottomless hurt that God...my Father, the Father of my brother...would permit it all to happen.
(To be continued...)