I’m folding clothes. Tears flood my eyes. I look out the window. A sharp beam of sunlight breaks through the leaves of a dense thuja tree. I close my eyes and a rest for a second. I enjoy the sunshine warming my face a little. I give thanks to God for this moment. I don’t have to suddenly use the cough machine on Vince. I don’t have to suddenly squirt salt spray into his mouth in order to prevent secretion getting stuck in his throat. I don’t have to suddenly stop on the side of the road to help his breathing with the ambu bag. I don’t have to suddenly be at his bedside at dawn to pour out the humidifying liquid collected in the tube of his respiratory support machine. I don’t have to suddenly react to anything, I am just folding the clothes peacefully. It is quiet, I can only hear Vince’s snuffle. The BIPAP machine rhythmically pulses with his breathing. I keep folding the clothes. There is peace. I keep folding. There is peace. I keep folding. There is joy. And I’m only folding some clothes.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
We have been at home for a week, because Vince is ill. He has a lot of secretion which he cannot cough up. I am tired. I am dejected. The horrifying feeling of ‘what’s next’ bubbles up in me. Winter hasn’t even started yet. Outside I see it’s still Indian summer. And we are stuck in the house.
I said a prayer to God a week ago about not becoming a servant. He calls me to experience freedom, so I choose to be free. I am not going to be afraid! Afraid of Vince becoming ill again. Afraid if I am next to him or not when he has a lot of secretion and can’t cough it up. So I pray, because if the phrase ‘Don’t be afraid!’ is in the Bible 365 times, then I won’t be afraid either! This is what God is calling me for!
The following day I had to bring Vince home from school. The secretion came. I was afraid again. I took out the ambu bag with shaking hands. I pressed it against his face. I rhythmically pressed the air in.
In the evening my prayer from the day before came to me. I remembered what I read in Psalms 22 and 23. And truly I felt that my tongue had stuck to the roof of my mouth from fear, and I had walked in the valley of the shadow of death. These were not just words any longer; they were ’flesh and blood’ experiences.
When Vince started to get better, I noticed that I was angry. I was so angry… is this my life? When will this be over? I was so very exhausted. Exhausted from all the things I needed to do, exhausted from the responsibility, exhausted from being shut in. I prayed to get answers! I prayed to get refreshed! I prayed to get wisdom! And God sent me 2 Corinthians, chapter 4:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18
Are you saying this is not enough? My answer is also no! I would like joy, a carefree life, to be loose a little, just like you who is reading this and is rebelling with me!
Have you noticed that God also rebels? He does everything differently from the way man would. When there is a problem, everyone cries, but He says: be joyful always! When someone asks for help, everyone turns away, but He gives His own son as sacrifice for those in trouble. When somebody is tired, everyone feels sorry, but God gives tremendous peace. When someone is angry, they tend to do all kinds of crazy things, but God teaches gratefulness! Probably this is the reason why people say that those who believe in God have gone mad.
Wait! I can hear your question: Could you give thanks for the fact that you had to press an ambu bag against Vince’s face so he can breathe?
My answer is: No. For this, not yet. But I could, because He gave me strength when I there was an emergency, so I was able to help. I am thankful because we didn’t need to go to the hospital. I am thankful, because He has taught me how to become a rebel!
It happens sometimes that I run out of the house, because I want to stand in a corner in our garden, and I want to feel the warmth of the Sun for a full two minutes while I should be making breakfast. It happens sometimes that I go into the shower naked with Vince. We sing, we dance, we splash the water, and we don’t come out for an hour. It happens sometimes that I am dead tired at dawn, but I turn on a preaching, so I can get nourished by the Word and I can go back to sleep, filled up. It happens sometimes that Vince falls asleep at 8 PM, and I go to the nearby swimming pool for an hour, then I sneak back into the sleepy, warm house, recharged. I have become a rebel! I am not willing to cry anymore about being so tired or about how many emergencies we’ve had to go through. I snatch the seconds that are filled with pure joy, and with a grateful heart I thank God for this calling. The type of joy, the type peace the world is unable to supply.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39