Waiting in the Waiting Room

So here I am in the emergency waiting room at Edmond Regional Hospital. I’m experiencing a strange neck pain that came on suddenly three days ago.  The pain started as a soreness on the left side of my neck and has since spread down my left side of my neck, into my ear and my entire head (primarily my left side) is throbbing. I’m a bit dizzy. This is a strange pain. I’ve never experienced it before. So I’m waiting on a CT scan most likely to check the condition of my carotid artery.

In all this, I feel like writing. While in this waiting room, I’m looking at people in pain, people distracted, tired people. One woman is crying and holding her side. Another is laughing and talking far too loudly. People are standing, walking, pacing …all uncertain.
And the thing I keep thinking about is the new body that God will give me. I see the frailty and feel trapped and enslaved to my body. Some people identify themselves with their body. I never have. I’ve always viewed myself inhabiting this shell. Its the reason why I don’t take care of my health – because “my health” is not really mine. It belongs to this body that I just happen to be in.

Honestly, I’m OK with death. I don’t fear it at all. I know that the moments before it happens may include pain and disorientation, but I also know that it will be temporary. The only thing I fear about death is what my absence will do to my family.

This is the real fear and it is a near constant presense for me. It is always lurking in the dark corners of my mind. I have no doubts in the miraculous faithfulness of God to provide, but there are also the practical realities of that they would face. The ever-present nature of this fear is due to the continual war that I wage between what I know I should do and what I actually do.

That needs some explanation. Since I consider myself to be something other than my body, I don’t take care of my body. I know I should because I realize that my temporal experience here with my family exists within the physical world. As long as I exist within space-time, I can have no other experience of my family than that which is grounded in the physical.

Yet, for some reason this intellectual acknowledgment does not provide sufficient motivation for behavoral change. So here I am at the hospital most likely the result of my not taking care well enough. Truth and consequences.

When sin entered the world, so did disease and sickness, injury and pain. Such is the broken world we live in. Yet, even waiting here, in my own pain, writing about my own shortcomings and failings, I see the restoration that is coming. Eden will return. Once again we will be clothed in light and not know our nakedness. And one day, my loved-ones and I will walk with our Father in the cool of the day.

Come quickly Lord Jesus and take us home.

UPDATE: Turns out the neck pain was caused by muscle spasms.  Muscles may not be able to think for themselves, but they can make you think.

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Ashwin, RSV and Prayer

My six week old son, Ashwin, spent this entire week in the hospital due to RSV, Respiratory Stress Virus.  While this virus is relatively harmless in older children and adults it is particularly threatening to infants because it affects their ability to breath.  During the ordeal, my wife and I were very worried, fatigued and emotionally exhausted.  But during this week I grasped a greater and more personal appreciation for God and the function of prayer.

So many of our friends and familiy, spread out across the country came together to offer prayers on Ashwin’s behalf.  Each time someone told me they were praying for him and us, I broke down emotionally and felt an overwhelming gratitude.  Never before had I experienced prayer at this level.

Late one night in the middle of the week, my wife went down the hall to stretch her legs and I was alone in the room with Ashwin.  I walked up to him, looked down on his hurt body with countless tubes and wires running out of it and I placed one hand on his head and the other on his chest.  I prayed.  During my prayer, I felt like I was a conduit for all the prayers that we being offered from afar.  It was like all the prayers from the countless believers were streaming laterally into me as tiny threads.  And as I prayed, with tears in my eyes, those threads combined to form a bright and thick cord of vertical energy that launched its way up to the throne of God.  It was a powerful image.

I know that to God, there is neither time nor space.  Therefore, there is no contradiction to say that a prayer offered two days ago could also be streamed through me to God during my present moment of prayer.  All of the prayers coalesced into a combined unity thread that pierced into heaven shining the spotless glory of the Redeemed.  These things are real, but one must have the eyes of the Redeemed to view them.

Another Special Son is Born

cimg03471 My second son, Ashwin Cade was born December 19.  I’m amazed at how God not only blesses us, but seems to enjoy piling on the blessings so that they spill over.  I imagine God as my father with a big, wide smile and bright eyes as he gave us Ashwin.  We were already so blessed to have Harper, but God, who is especially fond of us, blessed us even more.

In a previous post, I told the story of the song, You Never Let Go by Matt Redman that I heard when my wife and I found out that Ashwin had a cyst in his brain (diagnosed at 20 weeks, disappeared after 35 weeks).  This song gave me immense comfort when I was scared.  …You’ll love this next part.

Last Friday morning, when we got into the car to go the hospital for the scheduled C-section, I was nervous about the surgery and Ashwin’s health.  I turned on the car and the first song on the radio was You Never Let Go.  I felt that it was God telling me again, as a reassuring father that He would be with our family during the procedure and that Ashwin and Tara would be alright.  I was overwhelmed by the attention that God was giving us.  Of all the physical laws and people and planets and lives God is busy directing, He intentionally took that moment to focus on our family and give us not only a special song to communcate that everything would be fine, but he went over the top with extra credit to make that song the same one that we heard 20 weeks prior and that gave us such comfort then.  God is like this.  He is many things, and He is personal and caters His attention to each person so that they can know that He is especially fond of them in particular.  God is good and is smiling as we hold our new Ashwin.  Thank you God.

You never let go

Stress

Worry

Doubt

Lack of control

On Aug. 28, 2008 , Tara and I went to the doctor for a routine  ultrasound of our unborn son, Ashwin.  The doctor found a choroid cist in one of the lobes of his brain.  She indicated that this could be a sign of a chromazomal abnormality called Trisomy 18.  Most babies having Trisomy 18 never survive until birth.  Of those that do, most die within the first few weeks of life due to deformities and other physical abnormalities.

Needless to say, Tara and I were shocked by this news and very frightened.  In this state of shock, I got into my car.  When I turned the ignition, the song You Never Let Go by Matt Redman was playing.  Here are the lyrics I heard.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know you are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

(Chorus:)
Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We’ll live to know You here on the earth

(Chorus)

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on

And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

Even in the storm of this horrible news, I felt that God was with us and had not left us alone.

Update from December 2008:

Another ultrasound at 8 months.  The choroid cist has disappeared from Ashwin’s brain and all signs of abonormality have vanished.  Praise God.  Ashwin will be born the week of December 14.

Ask God to talk to me

Yesterday, I was reading the story of Samuel to Harper (I have been trying to read him bible stories every night).  He loves his bible.  In the story, Samuel hears his name called three times in the middle of the night.  The high priest, Eli, advises Samuel to reply with, “Lord, I am listening” when next he hears the call.  Samuel does and the Lord begins speaking to him and uses Samuel as his prophet.

Laying next to Harper, I explained that God speaks to us in many ways, but sometimes he speaks to us directly either in our dreams or when awake.  He leaned in close to me and in the most innocent and sweet way asked, “Daddy, will you pray for God to talk to me?”  I nearly lost it because I have prayed for this since before Harper is born.  On most nights, after Harper is asleep, I’ll go into Harper’s room, kiss him and place my hand on his forehead and offer up this prayer – that God will reveal himself to Harper and make him into a good man who loves God and others.  So to hear my baby boy ask me to beseech God on his behalf fills me with joy and love for my son.  I love you Harper so much that it hurts.