Interruptions

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We interrupt this blog break to bring you the following:

My school’s Art Show, of which I am in charge, has been interrupted by a snow storm swathing the southeast in a white blanket. Excitement ran high in my classes as I taught on Wednesday, since school was letting out early and snow was imminent.  I myself was excited to finally have a proper snowfall in which to play in the snow, sled with Maddie, build a snowman, make snow cream, drink hot chocolate when we came in from the cold. The only damper to my excitement was the fact that the Art Show would have to be postponed. An interruption I wasn’t sure I really wanted, but couldn’t do anything about. So I chose excitement and anticipation for what was to come.

I was not prepared for another interruption that made itself known as the snowflakes fell in buckets Wednesday afternoon.  I hadn’t been feeling quite right that day, but I chalked it up to lack of sleep due to excitement about the snow and watching the Olympics too late into the night. It hit me hard Wednesday evening: fever, hot/cold, aches, tummy queasiness, a raging headache. This was not something I had anticipated, as I am rarely sick. There was nothing I could do but sleep, and drink, and try not to worry about the complications that come with having an ostomy bag, and more sleep. No playing in the snow, no snow cream, no snowman. Even hot chocolate did not seem like a good idea.

These interruptions, snow and a virus, are small on the scale of interruptions. As I type, news of a dear family in our school whose Kindergarten daughter will have brain surgery on Monday to remove a tumor, feels like an interruption of epic proportions for her and her family.  The ripple effect of an interruption of this sort goes out to all who know them, in our school, in their church and workplaces and neighborhood. Just as many were affected by the snow storm, so many are and will be impacted by this little one’s “interruption” in her life.

What I struggle to find, and which we all struggle to see, is a reason for these interruptions. We want to know what’s behind this thing? What good will it bring? How will it turn out? How can we avoid it in future? What can we do to make it better? And we wring our hands in prayer for them, for ourselves, not knowing the answers to any of it.

A friend of mine once said, as she spoke of how she got through the days of her firstborn son being diagnosed with Leukemia, that somehow, in the big stuff of life, she felt upheld, buoyed up by a strength stronger than her. But she admitted, that it was in the small stuff where she struggled most. Yes. This rings true with me too. I often think back to months not too long ago where my own health was severely interrupted. Perhaps it is from these big interruptions that we can draw help for the small ones.

During those months of sickness and surgery, a phrase kept running in my head: You are right where you’re supposed to be, and you are supremely loved and cared for. I didn’t fabricate this. I didn’t make it up after the fact. It came to me during the most painful, excruciating times of sickness, as I was wheeled in for surgery, and in the months of recuperation that followed. I am even now, laying hold of this as I am mending from this virus, and as our town and the whole southeast thaws out from our epic snowstorm.

*I am right where I’m supposed to be, and I am supremely loved and cared for. Setting aside a very obvious fact that had we NOT had snow, I would not have been able to put on the Art Show (a “reason” that is helpful but not altogether satisfying), the knowledge that my Heavenly Father has me in just the place for me to be loved and cared for, is a PRESENT reality that shapes how I can view interruptions, both small and large. To be clear…He never desires His children to be sick. But in the great mystery of His Sovereignty, he allows interruptions to be a part of showing us just how much He loves us, how much He cares for us, and that He is weaving it all into His glory being made manifest in and through our lives.

This is something I can actually hold onto. For myself, and for the Mullen family and their sweet girl. Sometimes, in reading those words (*), they have seemed pithy and platitude-ish. I have certainly had folks say things like that to myself over the years and they fall like tin in a metal cauldron, seeming to have no substance whatsoever to them. I don’t blame you if they sound that way right now. It is evidence that you’re a thinking person who won’t take platitudes for an answer. Keep searching it out, keep searching Him out…and He will find you. Grab hold when He does, and remember, especially in the interruptions of life, that you are right where you’re supposed to be, and you are supremely loved and cared for.

***The above charcoal drawing was made for this friend whose firstborn son was diagnosed with Leukemia. Years later, their sixth child (after having lost their fifth soon after birth) contracted a horrible rare disease landing her in the hospital for weeks, doctors at Brenners scratching their heads as to how to help her. Certainly a miracle child, I envisioned her, as we all are…children in the arms of a good, but not tame, God–a reference to C.S. Lewis’ Aslan.

0 thoughts on “Interruptions

  1. freebirdsings says:

    I hope all goes well with the little girl’s surgery and will pray for her. I hope your family got to play in the snow a bit even though you didn’t get too and I hope you are feeling better now too.

    I believe God loves us and cares for us and wants the best for us. I don’t believe we always get the best because He did leave the world with nature to work with it’s own set of laws and people are given the freedom to wreak havoc on others but he can bring good out of the worst situation. We live in amidst the muck of both doing the best we can hopefully using our minds to create medicines and vaccines and cures for our diseases rather than chemical weapons to hurt people, and alarms and safety measures for places that nature lets loose on rather than atomic bombs which can wipe out nature in an area. Amid all that is Jesus who suffers and celebrates with us and his promise that eventually God-willing, all will be healed and feeling his love and united with Him in heaven.

    The only times I think platitudes (or hymns of hope) hurt is when they are used to say “if you’d prayed harder or weren’t a sinner somehow, your child or yourself would be healed” kind of talk is used. Like my one week old nephew who died due to catching a virus as he passed through the birth canal. His mother had been tested a week prior and was free of it then (strep) but then it reared up and nothing man could do could save him including all our prayers to God. It doesn’t help to hear people say “if we’d just prayed harder” like it was dependent on us? What I trust is that even if God didn’t mean for me to catch this or for that horrible thing to happen, he is with me to hold me in his hands through the ordeal and that when we get to heaven we will see how he will make it “all better”.

    My hope too is that people will keep working to rid the earth of these viruses and diseases, from suffering without help in disasters manmade or nature made and God will help and support us when we can’t. I think I am not being too clear but bottom line is I think God cares for us and as long as we don’t cross over to telling people they aren’t doing enough or believing enough or else God would remove their affliction then it isn’t really a platitude but a prayer of faith and hope and need. As Victor Frankl said, it’s our attitudes and beliefs that help get us through the tough times and we can choose those attitudes – and I agree with the thought that a strong faith in God really helps with having that right attitude!

    Your posts always cause me to think, evaluate and move forward more joyfully!

    • jenpedwards says:

      Hi Timaree! Once again, a lovely comment that you could easily turn into a blog post of your own! You have lots of good stuff to share!! Thank you for sharing with me! I hope you are well and happily creating something!

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