I've been a bit quiet, partly due to a bit of writer’s block and partly due to the volume of work I need to accomplish this fall. “Computer turns” are infrequent for Mom and fall among the lower end of my list of priorities.
There are many things I’d like to talk about on my blog, but they require more than a few minutes of time to write them in the way that I would like—and to write without a “Mom?” “Mom???” every 17 seconds.
This past Saturday, I sang at a women’s meeting for our denomination. The focus was on missions and the speaker was absolutely engaging. I can’t remember the last time someone held my attention for that long. The way he spoke about the work he has done as a missionary and the encouragement he gave that God is on His throne was captivating.
Sunday, Dennis wasn’t feeling well so it was just the kids and I who headed to church. Having remembered to set my phone to vibrate, it buzzed. Linnea heard it; she was sitting nearest my purse. She looked at the screen and saw it was a friend of ours. She discreetly showed it to me; we both exchanged looks, thinking it must be an “oops”—a pocket-dial by mistake. Surely this friend would know we’d be in church at that time on a Sunday morning.
A minute later, my phone buzzed again. She’d left a voicemail.
A few minutes after that, Dennis sent a text message.
And then another.
Typically, I don’t look at my phone during church. Typically, my purse would most likely have been sitting on the floor and I don’t know that I would have even heard the vibration.
I decided to read the texts Dennis had sent me. It wasn’t good news, nor did I think it would be if he was texting me during church.
Four of my friend’s children had been in a rollover accident and one was being airlifted to the hospital in the big city.
I stepped out of the sanctuary and called my friend.
She answered, crying.
“Where are you.” I asked.
“On my way to _____________.” She said.
“Who is there.” (I’m purposely leaving out the question marks here to convey the tone in which I spoke. My friend and I are very frank with one another and I knew that direct questions requiring only direct answers were what was needed at that moment.)
“Claire.” She answered. “She’s unconscious with head injuries. She was ejected.”
I cried. She cried. We spoke about the other kids and some other details about the accident.
Fast forward to now—this little 11 year old girl is fighting to survive. Her brain has suffered terrible injury. She lies in a coma and the outlook is bleak.
Would you please pray for my friend Marla? Her heart is breaking as she watches her baby girl hurt so badly. Claire is the youngest of 10 children and her daddy died of cancer when she was 10 months old. Her older siblings are scattered a bit around the country, even the world—one of her brothers should be arriving today from Israel. Would you pray for peace for them all? For rest and for strength…for a sweet time of togetherness in the midst of this terrible storm?
I’m burdened also to pray for her siblings in the accident, that they would recover physically and that the emotional and physical scars would heal with time. Also, please pray for the sister who was driving. I can’t help but think that she has replayed every. single. moment. of that accident.
They are a strong, Christian family who would greatly covet your prayers for their youngest member.
I know people always say this, but seriously—hug your kids. Be thankful that even if your day was crummy, it (most likely) wasn’t life-changing. Embrace ordinary days. Cherish those moments to brush your little girl’s hair, to wash your son’s smelly football uniform, to shake your head at their messy room.
I’m being reminded constantly of how many things really don’t matter. Like really don’t matter. Because that could just as easily have been my family.
Or your family.
But it wasn't. They've been set on this road and it is theirs to walk.
We have the opportunity now to walk beside them and to pray for each step they must take.
Now, if I could ask another favor.
If your family has dealt with a tragedy or you have some insight into this kind of thing, would you please share about something that was particularly helpful? Maybe even something that someone did with good intentions, but that was actually just not helpful? Certainly not as a way to embarrass anyone, it’s just that I think oftentimes we simply don’t know what to do when someone goes through something like this.
Too much “help” can be overwhelming, but if everyone stayed away because they were afraid of being in the way, that would be terrible, too!
If you would, please share some ideas of ways to help a family in this situation. They may not apply in every situation, but suggestions might spark other ideas.