God gave me you

Nor ordinary Christmas we had this day

Sleeping in then slowly moving into life out of necessity more than design.

Broccoli for my breakfast and handfuls of granola for my man

Brought us to our traditional reading of Isaiah before revealing our worldly gifts for I and you.

Who paddles a new long board down the hallway

But two middle-aged lovers holding onto our respective gusto of life?

A rest time had to follow for me again

Not as unusual as the waking episodes that have returned changing my hopes for the day.

Perhaps we would visit or do something fun

Yet return to my bed of sickness I did go for a most unfortunate interlude.

When your husband holds you from joy to sorrow

The same day seems surreal: later he feeds you medicine whilst you seize.

Siiiiiigh. Not that old tune returneth even today

For chronic illness ne’er takes a holiday when you want it to my dear.

This did not matter to you: your love never fades

And my greatest gift revealed its beauty the ten thousandth time: it’s you!

I could never conceive of this way that you have

To give beyond your self with a gentle spirit, still manly all the same.

You spoke only of my rest to your family on the phone

Preserving my dignity when I could barely feed myself with fingers weary from the beating moments before.

Yours is a love from the Father, the Son all in One

The kind that sustains you through trials when Jesus comes near with skin on.

He made you for me oh I am the blessed one

I pray he loves you back tenfold for the task of loving me well done today my love.

From the side of the bed

8th Anniversary 11.24.15
Celebrating our anniversary November 24, 2015

 

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Sick in bed November 27, 2015

He has seen it all

My beloved, the one with soft blue eyes;

In the medical facility or on the road as we pass across the miles

He looks to me with a precious love that makes me swoon all the time.

It doesn’t matter my status that day:

The screams of terror, the gentleness of a warm embrace,

He just looks at me as if we were lying under a canopy, shielded from the hot sun

By the lush branches of a mighty oak one summer’s morn along the way.

But that is not what has gone before me once again these past 3 days and more

His vacation was spent caring for me in ways neither one of us would choose.

He steps forth to do what must be done just the same

And says of our time:  “we had a nice week now didn’t we?”  I guess so, maybe in some ways we did my love.

I sigh in awe, something short of disbelief.  How did love like this find its way to this place between us?  This bed is marked more by sickness than passion night after day after night?

Surely it goes beyond that which either one of us can see!

This walk was borne from the One who made us thus and so

The One who set this path for goodness, for purpose yet unknown.

While wasted days is all that I can see very, very late this night

(With tensions mounting, wills weakening under the weight of it all)

I see that my Heavenly Husband carries our hearts with His special sip of tenderness

Bringing sweetness to our lips when we need it most as he has so many times before.

From the side of the bed

I look up and know more than my Love,

Surely I humbly receive care from more than the one I can see.

Thank you Jesus for my Steve.  Thank you Jesus me loving so!

So if ever you are graced by a love like this, dear Reader, and I hope someday that you do:

Hold tight, hold fast with praise, with alms beyond your brokenness to discover what the Lord alone can bring.

For you are witnessing more than a miracle in the midst of hurricane:

You are finding grace that will see you through anything, truly, truly with love I say this to you.

JJ

Six Deer and a Skunk

We were heading south along a remote section of a newly created road when six deer, one by one, carefully stepped across the road in front of my truck.  My husband was driving and proclaimed that he was glad that he saw them just in time to slow down!  My proclamation was the awe of the gentle animals crossing our path on a night when the witness of God’s creation in the dark was the last thing from my mind . . .

Yes, we were on the way to the Emergency Room again.  After the third night in a row where convulsive episodes escalated with the setting of the sun coupled with unusual right, lower abdominal pain, we decided that our threshold had been reached.  The decision to drive off to the ER is never and easy one.  Am I really that bad?  If I am not dying should I just wait and see a little longer?  Now that our sixth trip in four years has come and gone we both agree that having an evaluation in the middle of the night is no worse than the alternative.  This trip was unusually unpleasant, however.

We waited almost 2 hours before being escorted back to exam room 22.  During that time we witnessed the collapse of a young woman in a wheelchair whose urine bag tube dangled over the edge of the leg rest and two family members looked on with worry.  We prayed for them.  Moments later one of the several children in the expansive waiting area spontaneously vomited all over her mother and the floor (about 15 feet away from us).  The mother and a nurse-type staff person whipped into action including spraying everything with a sure-to-be-aromatic cleaner.  In my heart I prayed and in the moment we moved to another section of the ER as I donned my mask so as to avoid the fumes and vomitus aerosols from further exacerbating the convulsive episodes.  In the distant section in which we landed was a double-wide chair that made a makeshift bed for my own weakened frame.  We later discovered that by the end of our tenure at the hospital there would be EIGHTEEN car accident victims that would filter through the emergency department that night.  Lord have mercy!

My own challenge was significant yet still I was filled with gratitude that it was not as bad as those around me.  Much later and somewhere after the halfway mark of the IV infusion of sodium chloride, the convulsive episodes subsided.  Yeah God!  Then came the abdominal CT scan and pelvic ultrasounds.  Each were laden with their own versions of torture just for me.  I guess I’m just “sensitive,” right?  (If I hear that phrase one more time I’m going to scream!)  No matter, the noxious symptoms accompanying these tests mixed with tears and additional pain were bonuses upon which I had not planned that night.  For example, I had planned ahead and brought my warmest fleece jacket for covering up in between procedures.  It just wasn’t enough to counter the cold life-size tongue depressor gurney of the refrigerated CT scanner!  Another episode added to the collection.  And for me, pelvic ultrasounds are very painful.  I was there for abdominal pain, right?  Oh yeah.  “Just breathe deeply honey.  You’re doing great . . . ”

Sometime later the nurse assigned to me returned.  She had already navigated through the comfort and pain medication options that I could tolerate then brought the latter in the wrong form for a person whose stomach was empty.  I declined.  Pain management Plan B never arrived.  Later I was sobbing after the ultrasound (US).  The US technician activated my call light requiring me to ask for my own pain medication to which a nursing assistant responded.  Someone beyond the closed glass doors and pulled curtain decided that a relaxant for the gut would be a good choice for me.  Perhaps that was indicated?  But the nurse appeared with an 8-inch long syringe including a 4-inch needle that was bigger than those I had become acquainted in my lifetime!  I thought surely she would administer it into the IV line.  Nope.  She started to pull up the sleeve of my hospital gown.  With horror I wondered how so many cc’s of fluid from that big of a needle would ever penetrate my deconditioned arms.  “It has to be given intramuscularly,” she instructed.  “How about my hip?” I replied.  And as I turned to reveal the warmth of my skin buried beneath 2 blankets and a flimsy gown I began to freak out.

“No.”  “I don’t think the pain is bad enough to endure the pain of an injection like this,” was all I could blurt out.  She said “fine” and some trained nursing replies as she discarded the second drug that I wondered if or not would be added to our massive bill that night.  She left the room.  And then I began to cry and cry and cry.  I just couldn’t take the whole ordeal anymore.  I wept some more.

Within the hour we were making our way to the all-night cafeteria in that large Regional Medical Center.  My beloved, Steve, and I scarfed down more food than we had in a long time!  French fries are a great comfort food at 2:30 in the morning!  The salads were reasonable too.  At last my brain and personhood began to revive.

Steve drove us home into the dark and near-drizzly night.  Perhaps he was a bit cautious as we went, knowing the numerous auto accident victims that were our unseen neighbors in their own suites at the hospital.  “How bad were they injured?”  I wondered.  Oh my Lord, please comfort them too.  My mind drifted to the half-dozen deer that welcomed us before the bright red lights of the “EMERGENCY” entrance had illuminated our path 4 1/2 hours earlier.  I felt so much peace when I had seen them.  It was like the Lord was showing me that things were going to be alright.  Then again, their crossing was followed by the stench of a skunk!  What on earth could that mean?  Who knows?

Maybe the deer were “skunked” before they crossed the road.  Hunting season has begun dontcha know?  Maybe Steve and I we were somehow skunked too.  We made our best decision and ventured out to the hospital instead of what most couples do on a Saturday night.  And through it all, my beloved Steve was a champ the entire time.  He always is, dontcha know?

Some of you know that in about a month the number of years that I have been sick will exceed the number of years that I have been well during my marriage to Steve.  When presented with this observation Steve never flinches and repeats his vow of promise to love me forever on either side of the road of life.  Sigh.

headstone, marriage vows, til death do us part, cemetary, his and hers, cemetary plots, funeral, graveside service, Christian marriage
Til death do us part . . .

Oh my Stevers.  YOU my love are such a precious dear!  JJ

Moments so dear

wed-5In the closeness of our embrace

I longed to stay there all night.

Alas I could not for the darkness shook within my soul:

An unknown sort that is staying longer than its welcome.

He went away to catch the rest sorely needed

After caring for me again late into the moonlight as every night for awhile.

Sometimes it’s just to say “hey,” sometimes to nourish my weakened frame:

Oh how his love has shown true in sickness and in health as promised.

How will I love thee as you have loved me my dear?

Could there ever be a way to fill your coffers with sweet blessings as you have mine?

I hope we have many years to find out together my humble knight

To explore the longings of nights ended much to soon —

In this I too shall rest, with hope and great expectation

Of a day languishing with you in a string of moments so dear.

For now it’s “goodnight my love.”  Until that day comes I shall love thee in my heart more than my touch can say . . .