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.