Today it is April 10th. For most people just another day, this year April 10th is Good Friday. For my family it is a day that I believe keeps us all remembering and mildly sad. April 10th was my brother Dan's birthday. For many years after he died we sent cards to each other on this day. Eventually we stopped, because it seemed less to do with grieving and more to do with habit. But this day always is one I know is coming and like to see going. This week I have been remembering allot about those days growing up. Recently several of our friends with kids with disabilities have had to spend time in the hospital. Hospitals always make me think of Dan and my family.
We did spend allot of time at Children's Hospital in Chicago. On one hand it seemed to be the most hellish place on earth to me. Kids sick, dying. Parents hurting and crying. Brothers and sisters trying to make sense of the fear, hurt, worry, stress, love, tears and hugs. But on the other hand I know that was where I learned to know God. I remember always having to walk through the ER after hours to get into the hospital. Walking amongst those families with kids crying, I remember finding a quiet corner and wanting to be so angry that so many people where so sad and hurting. I remember the baby boy in the intensive care room next to Dan's that no one came to visit. I remember the morning after that baby boy died, crying in the waiting room bathroom because it seemed so unfair that no one was there to love him. I remember my mom so fatigued and sick after so many sleepless nights on the intensive care chair/bed at Dans side that she stumbled when she walked. I remember being so scared as I shut the door on her bedroom that night after I looked in on her when she came home. I remember standing in the hall outside Dans room as we left to go home for the night with Dad, and hugging my mom and feeling her sobs of sadness that Dan was so sick. I remember sobbing in my bed that night as I wondered if Dan would die, or if my mom would die because she seemed to hurt so bad.
But I also remember spending time in Dan's hospital room watching movies, talking, just hanging out with our family. Sometimes we would get Chicago pizza, or snacks. Sometimes we would goof off and try to scare the nurses. Those where moments most families don't understand, in the middle of the crisis, the middle of the battle, in the middle of suffering and heartache there was peace,love and always time for our family. It was secure, loving, never rushed and no one had anything better to do. Those moments when life in the outside world stopped abruptly and all that mattered was each other.
This may sound stupid, but Oh how I wish to be sitting in that intensive care room now. With beeps, and buttons, equipment, doctors and nurses in and out, Dan in his iron lung right in the middle of it all and our family gathered round, watching the Cubs game and eating pizza. Those days in the hospital have shaped my life, my belief. It was where I first sensed the God I was learning about in Sunday School and Children's Church. In the calm of the storm, the peace in the intensive care room... I knew God was there with us. It made sense to me then. So now As I try to search out that peace and calm that only God can bring, I find it in Camp, in the hectic pace, extreme heat, suffering people, the long days, short nights, worry, the tears, the loving embraces.
So how can it be the place I hate the most is place I love the most? It makes sense only if I know the first will be last, the poor will be rich, that I must die to have life. God's ways are not our ways, why is that so hard to embrace?