As I was telling you in Pt. 1, after his series of surgeries in late 2007, my brother started experiencing leg pain. Actually, I think he may have experienced leg pain all along, but the stomach pain trumped the leg pain, and--after the stomach pain had been reduced (not so much eliminated)--the leg pain became the more prevalent, pressing pain. In March 2008, the doctors determined that either the old cyst had refilled, or a new one had developed in the same region of my brother's spine. He returned to Johns Hopkins, in June 2008, for another surgery.
Cut marks had already been drawn on my brother's back when Dr. Long looked at last-minute pictures of my brother's spine and saw that the cyst had inexplicably, suddenly, disappeared.
Dr. Long sent my brother home.
Which sounds like a miracle. At the time, it felt like enough of a miracle that--down in my pit--I scooched over to Jesus (who'd never once left my side) and allowed Him to comfort me. See, I had come to understand--over the years of this particular ordeal--that every hurt is the dark side of a blessing...that I wouldn't be grieving if I didn't love my brother so much. And I had been clutching my grief in an effort to prove to God, my brother, myself, everyone! my deep love for my brother.
I hadn't allowed Jesus to comfort me because I hadn't given Him my pain. I'd talked to Him about it, but only as I'd close-fisted clutched it; I hadn't handed it over. I'd felt like handing over my pain would be synonymous with accepting the situation, and I'd 100% refused to accept a. damn. thing. about it. I'd been refusing to entertain the possibility of anything less, from God, than my brother's complete and instantaneous healing.
To a certain extent, I suppose you might say I'd even turned up my nose at angels.
But. At the point at which Dr. Long sent my brother packing, I was newly pregnant with Clementine and so exhausted in every sense of the word that I scooched over to Jesus, laid my head down in His lap, and gave it over. Every bit. Well, almost.
Uncut lines. It sounds like a miracle. But what it really meant was that my brother had to pack up his pain and drive back to Tennessee with no easy answer or resolution. No promise--or even foreseeable possibility--of relief. No end in sight.
And nothing has changed a bit over the past three years. I mean, he's living; he's surviving. If you met him on the street, you wouldn't know. But he's not thriving.
So there you go. No happy ending. My brother could use your prayers.
But, overall, I'm in a pretty good place. I guess you might say I've come to see that the miracle happened at the front end...no...that the miracle happened before any of what I've recounted, here. The miracle happened just after I asked Jesus Christ to live in my heart, and just after my brother asked the same.
The miracle happened when He moved into those spaces, and when He moved into them for good.
And I didn't know...I mean, before all this, I had no way of understanding that He really wouldn't go...that He really wouldn't leave or forsake us...that He would stay with us no matter where or when: in the hospital bed, in the pit, in the hotel room. That He would be there, awake, even when we closed our eyes because our bodies gave way to exhaustion, depression, or IV medication.
(To be continued, but only once more, I think...)