Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kim and Facebook and Isabelle

I have no idea what I am talking about here. Lets make that perfectly clear. I have only ever spent one night in the hospital with my son when he gave me an appendectomy for mother’s day in 2006. So long term illness stuff with my children is the stuff of other people’s lives. The closest I can relate is in being my mom’s caregiver…but it was so different in so many ways.
So who am I to even write about, much less have an opinion on the subject of caring for a child with a long term illness? The answer is no one…so my prayer is that I am only to write at the will of my Abba. Let it bless Lord and if not, burn it up. Amen.

I have a new/old friend, Kim. We have become way closer on Facebook then in real life. While our kids have gone to school together and we have occasionally served together at church, we have been more casual friends then friend/friends. Sisters-in-Christ, no doubt, but more friendly then deep. Thanks to the gift of social networking, we have this new relationship that I have come to cherish.
Kim, is a wife and mom, much like me. Her husband is in the same line of work as mine…and that means we live life with crazy hours and it also means choosing not to worry about them, pretty much ever, no matter what is on the news. Kim is a teacher and I am a nurse…I wonder why cops mostly marry teachers or nurses. What is it that makes us so compatible? I have a list of theories on that, but as usual, that will have to be another post for another day. Back to Kim...in other words we are very much alike in many ways. And yet our worlds are worlds apart in many others.
Kim’s oldest little girl, Isabelle (but I love calling her Belle, as in beautiful), has spent the last several months in the hospital, about 50 plus miles from her home. As Kim has watched with the toughness of a cop’s wife and the tenderness of a mom, Belle has been poked and prodded and prepped for surgery, week after week after week.
I don‘t know that I have ever actually seen her in action but I have the impression that Kim doesn’t panic at what might make a normal mom panic. She seems to know the difference between an emergency and a “normal”. She became something of a Facebook legend when she single handed~ly stopped Storm Troopers from taking over her child’s hospital room…but I think almost any mom can do that one if need be...NOT!
So you see, Kim is not the norm. There, I’ve said it, Kim is not normal in any sense of the word…and yet…
I have a real sense that she would hate the idea of anyone singing her praises. Only she knows if in the quiet of her heart she has had her “Why me God?” moments. Only she knows the resentment that DOES come with being in service and on call every day, all day. Only she knows the guilt that comes from feeling the resentment in the first place. Only Kim knows the ache of not understanding how her child can endure one more day “like this”…
The reason only she knows and the rest of us wonder is because the joy of the Lord is her strength. That joy cannot be duplicated and cannot be understood unless you understand it.
I have to admit that I’ve also started to see some what of a warped sense of humor and I just love it! She has the most awesome and quirky taste in style and again I love it! She is also a size 0...okay, that one makes me a little jealous! But still, it is her grace and humility that makes us look in wonder.
Like I said, I’ve never cared long term for a child…just my parent. And yes, I did it, year after year after year. I also hated it when someone sang my praises because in my heart I knew there was a deep ache to not be doing what I was doing. I wanted normal for both my parents and myself. I can only wonder if Kim feels that way too…The hours of prayer that He said "no" to…and the hearts cry of “why not”? …and the “no” answer for years on end.
So where in lies the purpose in it all? How do we gain understanding on this one? How can it be that the child of Christian parents is suffering so? When the entire body of Christ is in prayer day by day, hour by hour…where is that healing?
I don’t know. I don’t know why children suffer. I also hate it. I wonder what Belle is teaching all of us and Kim and her husband and her sisters especially. I wonder how our God, who promises that what Satan intends for Belle’s, and the entire families, destruction, will ultimately be used for the good of this family. There is a big difference between making believe everything is all right and being all right in Him. That is my prayer for Kim and her family even more then the prayer for healing. And I do pray for swift and immediate healing.

I am close enough, thank you Facebook, to Kim to know that it is not at all easy to spend this kind of time away from her real life. The real life with Belle home in her own bed at night and dinner~~~that Kim gets to make, in her own fabulous kitchen~~~ the one that I really want to drink coffee in and push out her BFF, Staci! The real life with the kids in school and the one where she waits for her husband’s shift to be over so they can both be home at the same time.
I am also close enough to know that the smile is real on Kim’s face. It does not hide the brokenness inside, but like I said, the Joy of the Lord is her strength. That joy is not fake~able. That joy radiates even when you have had more baked ziti then you think you can stand; even as "helpful" family and friend try to play Diagnostic Jeopardy and leave you second guessing everything; even as you over pay for a Motrin in the hospital gift shop; even when you hold the emesis basin again and again and again for your beautiful, aptly named, Belle.
My mom use to call it "a communion of suffering". Our Jesus knows what it is to suffer. Our Father knows the horror of seeing His child suffer. Thanks Kim for the reminder that there is a fellowship in suffering. I am sorry to share in it at all but honored to share in it with you.
Of course if you could gain a dress size or six, I think we would be way closer.

4 comments:

Sharon Malone said...

Dear One - As Kim's mother-in-love, I am deeply touched by your tribute to Kim and her testimony of faith. We have HOPE because of what our Father, Abba, provided the moment our earthly parents sinned and He had a plan all along to give us HOPE. And as we push forward, HOPE is what we cling to. May this day and this tribute be part of your 1000 years of eternal welcome. (I Peter 3:8)

Melissa said...

That was a great post Maryellen!Seriously. :-)

Karin Stroud said...

Hi Maryellen! It was great seeing you today! I just signed up to follow your blog. I can't find you on FB though. You may have to "friend" me. I am going to enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for letting me know about it!

Karin Stroud

Maryellen said...

Karen, it was great to see you! While it is always years between our "hello's" we seem to catch right up! Thanks for stopping by and I will look for you over on FB!