Hoping in the Darkness
....911 is coming, I almost passed out because of pain....
The text was from my husband. He's in LA to be with his mom who is suffering from aggressive cancer. He flew home from Asia to be with her, his father, and his siblings and their children. It was supposed to be a bittersweet visit. Lots of tears over the sickness but sweet memories of her life. A life well lived.
But now 911? John? It was reminiscent, too familiar. May 2013 when I received that call also at 6am.
...John's collapsed on the hotel floor. they've carried him to a taxi and rushed him to the nearest hospital...
And both times, I wasn't there. The first time it was cancer. Now what is it this time?
It's almost too much. The kind of pain that takes your breath away. The almost-too-excruciating- that- my- heart-can't-bear-it kind. Thoughts racing. Running wild actually. The what-ifs that emerge after compounded trauma are fear-full. They're things I never thought to worry about. They were other peoples' stories. Not mine. Until now.
Our Christmas tree is up. We set it up the night John left along with our first reading for Advent. I wrote last night about Hope; what hope means. What waiting and hoping mean together. That it is an active waiting. Expectant waiting. Waiting that looks to God to answer not just in the future but here and now. Today's crisis gave opportunity to exercise this kind of waiting and I feel like I failed. I want to believe that He's able. I need fresh faith to hope and patience to wait.
But I want an answer now, too. I know I'm not alone in that. There are things we hold deep in the depths of our hearts. The list of "impossibles" that only God knows.
The prophetess Anna knew something about waiting. She prayed day and night for years, waiting in the temple, for her Messiah. She must have lost hope from time to time, but she continued on. Trusting that one day He would come. And He did.
The question begs an answer. How do we wait then? In community. Together we wait, we call out courage and honesty, trusting that God will enable us to live in this world without being seduced constantly by despair, cynicism, and darkness. We say it together. God is a God of life even when all around us there seems to be deep sadness and death. He is present. He is here. Emmanuel, God with us. He has come already. We affirm this together. This is the how of waiting, that will enable us to survive this crazy chaotic world.
Today the community around me gathered and prayed. My brothers and sisters affirmed the truth of God's love and His presence. They named the fear in my heart and cautioned me to guard my heart against it. Fear would steal away faith. But perfect love casts out all fear.
My heart is tired tonight. Yet I wait again. Expectantly. Come Lord Jesus, Come. Come and answer tonight. My husband may or may not need back surgery. Hoping expectantly that it's not needed. Praying more expectantly for his heart. That he would not despair. That community would gather around him those thousands of miles away. Losing hope isn't an option. God has made Himself known to me again today. Finding his fingerprints was difficult this morning. Tonight as I write, I see His handprints all over our day. All over the moments that filled this day.
Active waiting and hoping. For He is near.