I learned it from Charlotte

She was wearing an oxygen cannula 24/7 and needed to take a break to rest after walking from one end of her house to the other.  Having battled breast cancer years ago, she had come into the late stages of another bout of cancer that would take her life a year later.  She was no longer able to leave her home except for medical appointments and did so with a supremely taxing effort.  Too weak to perform all but the most basic of daily living chores, she still had an amazing ministry that reached across the country . . .

Grief Share, friendship, mentoring, older women, younger woman, grief, loss, grieving, fellowship, Charlotte

From left: Julie, Miriam, Charlotte, Mary, and LuAnn from a Grief Share Ministry in 2007

Charlotte prayed for persons that she had found in an online “care” ministry.  These patients had opened up a personal webpage usually when in the hospital to facilitate communicating updates on their medical status to loved ones.  Charlotte searched the database for individuals that spoke to her heart then enlisted prayer warriors she knew via email and social media to pray for them too.  I was in awe of her outreach!  Exhausted from chemotherapy, radiation, or just taking a breath was no deterrent for a woman with a heart bigger than anyone’s I had known.  “I have the time,” is all she would say about it.  And time was her greatest gift as she spent it in the service of others, lifting them before our heavenly Father’s throne of grace.

So when I have been bedridden over the past few years, I have taken on my own version of Charlotte’s prayer ministry.  I pray for everyone I can think of until I can get out of bed again.  I was often amazed that once I got started, the Lord would bring so many names and faces to mind:  persons I had met online, an individual named through a prayer chain, or maybe someone I saw in public when able to leave our own home to go to medical appointments.  “I had the time,” so humbly to pray would be the best use of it.  It has been amazing to me when these instances occur . . .

Today a bunch of folks came to mind during 2 hours of continuous seizure attacks after injections of antibiotics at my doctor’s office did not go so well.  I lain on a hard treatment table in the dark to shield my eyes from the bright lights, hoping that the hell would not go on as long as it had during treatments earlier in the week.  My neck throbbed from the violent shaking, thrashing, odd posturing, wailing, repetitive pulling forward of my flexed torso, and general torture of it all.  (Unfortunately the facet block injection in my neck 3 weeks ago had already worn off!)  Sure, the nurses checked on me every so often; they had seen these episodes many, many times before and knew the score.  There was an agreement however, that if the convulsions persisted they would call an ambulance to take me to the emergency room of the hospital adjacent to their office building.  I doubted if that would do any good.  Would she be making the call the next time she came in the room?  The next time after that?  The total duration had already exceeded 90 minutes which was well beyond our agreed upon period.  “Is there anything I can do for you?” she would ask in plain English.  Sigh.  Not really.

Then she came back again and I squeaked out to yes, please ask the doctor if he could do a chiropractic adjustment on my neck.  It might help stop the wretchedness as it had in another appointment in the past.  Finally another nurse came back with the good news:  the Doctor would see me!  I began to cry . . .  then praise the Lord . . . then pray some more.  Soon my time thrashing about whilst laying flat on my back and mighty sore gluteus media from 6 injections this past week would be over.  I had so much to do later this evening before a surgical procedure tomorrow.  I had better get my time with the Lord in now not knowing how the rest of the day would fare.

Things got better after more gut-wrenching yelps, yells, screams, bursts of hot tears, yada, yada with the chiropractic adjustments and I was finally able to leave the building under my own power about 20 minutes later.  Whoa!  Shell-shocked I had made my way to the bathroom, put on my coat, and gathered my things to leave as if moving slow-motion in a black and white flick from the 1950’s.  But the evening was just getting started so miraculously the pace revved up a bit from there.

Within the hour I would be tossing all precaution to the wind and digging in the garden with our pup chewing a bone nearby!  Whaaat?  Hey, I figured that I’d get the borders of 2 flower beds tidied up knowing that I would likely be on a lifting restriction after placement of a power port in my chest wall early the next morning.  SO I DUG, DUG, DUG LIKE THERE WAS A TREASURE OF GOLD HIDDEN IN THERE SOMEWHERE!!!  Even the darkness and the drizzling rain did not stop me from doing what I love, doing the most that I could possibly do in some sort of a cathartic shedding of my personal hell on the way to and earthly Garden of Eden.  Well, sort of!

Maybe Charlotte would smile at how things turned out for me this evening.  It’s been about 7 years since her passing.  She had an impact on my life for sure.  If she were still around I would give her a call and listen some more to her wisdom that helped transform my life at another tumultuous time.  Well I guess that is happening again dear friend.

Thank you Jesus for Charlotte’s legacy.  Perhaps someday together we will tend to the sumptuous riches in the gardens of our Savior’s wondrous dwellings that You have prepared for us to bask in Your glory one day and forever.

There is so much to look forward to Gentle Reader.  I hope to see you there too.  :JJ

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