Maybe we do our best believing when we've stopped believing just a little or, at least, surrendered our hopes: this is what I want, Lord, but I understand it may not be Your best, and may Thy will be done.
I'd been talking to myself in all new ways. I'd been telling myself things like: even if I'm never again permitted to see him on this earth, nothing and no one can take him from me; I know who he is, and I carry him with me everywhere I go. Thing like: we've been washed in the Blood; we have eternity.
And I'd begged, at points: no more suffering, Lord, please. Whatever it means: no more suffering, please Father God.
What do prayers like that even mean? Do they indicate victory, or defeat? My heavens, I'm so deeply lonely; my soul feels bare and hollow as a wing bone; I wish somebody would talk to me. I wish the Russian blog-stalkers would speak up. Do you have words, Russians, to explain my heart?
So here my brother was, and he was smiling, and he had these wires sticking out of his back. The tape was rolling and sticking to his t-shirt, so I peeled it away and retaped the wires and little gray boxes against his skin. Normally, I would shy away from a task like that, but all I could think was: he's here; he's smiling; I get to be the one; he's in and under my hands!
Twice, he leaned over my kitchen sink, and hard as ever I could I scrubbed my coconut shampoo into his shaggy man head, and then I rinsed. I washed and dried and folded his laundry, and I baked his favorite cookies. He bit into one hot out the oven and whimpered; I saw his forehead twitch. "Oh, did you burn your mouth?" I asked, grimacing.
He answered: "No, it's just so good!" And laughter bubbled out of my heart and sailed light as a breeze up my throat. I couldn't hold it in my mouth, that laughter, and maybe it had never felt so natural to laugh as it did in that moment: his eyes sparkling hope, his mouth spraying crumbs.
In what seemed like just an instant, he was gone again (Another surgery, tomorrow!), but didn't he shine on us ever so hard every second he was here. Didn't he just shine and shine.