Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Pain Pills


Something happened last Saturday, something I didn't tell you about, but then, that's not unusual... there are many things I never mention here. But anyway, Naomi and Carl came over for lunch to celebrate Naomi's birthday. In between caring for Tom and keeping house, I'd shopped for Naomi and given a lot of thought to this lunch and her gifts. The anticipation was sweet.

The lunch went well. The opening of the gifts went well. But afterward, Naomi gave us the bad news about her worse-than-we-dreamed financial situation... and that she may need to move back home in March for a 'couple weeks'... We asked questions--made not a single accusation...did not raise our voices one mini-bit-- yet she shut down. Told Carl she was ready to leave. We offered to change the subject, but no... Naomi dragged a poor, in-the-middle-of-it-all Carl out of our house.

I sat at the table, stunned at this swirling whirlwind too reminiscent of earlier years... and cried. But not many tears--by the time you've had a child for 26 years, your mother's heart has toughened a bit. You've been through this before and learned the difference between the end of the world and just another problem which someday will be a memory you can choose to keep inside a dark drawer--and forget.

I told Tom, if he wanted, I would run down to the video store and get the next disc of 24. 24 is great for taking your mind off of what is going wrong in your life. At least, it works for awhile.

He said that would be great, so he walked back to our winter room, using his cane and with his arm in the sling, and I got into the car and immediately switched on Kimberley Locke's song, Eighth World Wonder. Then out in the sunshine with that song, already the world felt better. Down at the video store (where we have an all-you-can-watch-for-$14-per-month contract and where they've come to know me quite well since Tom's operation) I chatted with Brenda, the woman our age who recommended 24 to us, as though everything was just fine. With people behind me in line, there was no time to complain about the-birthday-lunch-gone-wrong.

But sometimes that's a good thing. Those few words with Brenda reminded me that life still goes on... it is ever moving forward... and I need to cooperate with it, move along with it.

Then back home through the sunshine and the song again and then back in the house, Tom told me he had cried a bit while I was gone. But I told him already I felt better and I tried to share the sun and the song and the video store chat with him as reminders that yes, we will move past this day.

In a way, I was giving Tom pills for the pain--the same pills I'd been given after I left the house. But you realize the thing about those, don't you?

Pain pills heal nothing. If you only take pain pills for an ugly, gaping wound, that wound can still become infected and kill you.

Everyone knows the old saying, "Time heals all wounds." Well, Dr. Phil says "Time heals nothing," and at first I disagreed with him. Quickly I recalled how Time, always moving forward, had whisked me far away from the moment of specific injuries. Time carried me to places beyond the wound and left it so far behind me that, even in looking backward, not one hint of pain resurfaced.

No, but now I think Dr. Phil just may be right. Time is more like a pain pill. Time can dull the pain of a gaping wound, but it cannot clean it or stitch it up so that it will heal-over, leaving just a tiny scar.

No, now I believe God heals all wounds. And we help Him by cooperating.

Maybe that's why Tom and I, both, felt a lot better after watching the 24 dvd(stay with me here... I know that sounds funny.) I think many of us never feel healed because we can't sit still long enough for any surgery God wants to perform on us. Instead we run. We run to friends and phones and professionals and liquor and food and who knows what else. We run and God cannot hold us down long enough to stitch us up. We run and God cannot take us into His lap and whisper comfort in our ear. We run and God cannot hug us into wholeness again.

Maybe Tom and I felt better after watching 24 simply because we sat still. I know as I sat there, I kept one ear opened to God's whisper. He can whisper an encouraging word in just a second, but you have to wait for it. You have to expect it. You often have to sit still for it.

And when it comes, oh my, there's nothing like the healing it brings. I know, because I heard Him whisper to me that day.

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