Saturday, May 30, 2015

Truly Present

Spring brings new life, hope, refreshment, and new beginnings. For me this year, it's brought sickness and medical issues. Not directly to me, but to several people I love. I visited my mom on the east coast back in March. She's been having serious health issues which prompted the trip. I brought Andrew and Kaitlyn with me in the hopes they would cheer her up and create some nice memories together. Instead, while we were there she suffered from a stroke and had to be hospitalized. She was still in when we had to fly home.

The kids entertain themselves with a mini-casino
 Leaving in that way was SO HARD! The week we were there was one of the worst I can remember. Those who've had a front row seat to watch a dear family member suffer can attest to the feelings of helplessness and inadequacy as you know there is nothing you can do to remedy the situation. Hopefully my two children will not remember this as a snapshot of their otherwise very engaging and child-loving grandmom. One evening, I sat in the family room I grew up in thinking about the lack of interaction between my mom and the kids and the bad memories they were creating. I lamented, " We shouldn't have come." My dad rebuked me saying, " I'm glad your here. I need the company. I need someone to talk to. I need the distraction. I'm very glad you're here!"

That was enough for me to realize our very presence was the lift he needed to have the strength to carry the burden of that difficult week. We were right where we needed to be-- not so much for my mom, but for my dad.

Recently I received a text from a cousin that I had just re-connected with while I was visiting my parents. She had received a terrible diagnosis and was headed into surgery. Through the world of texting (which I happen to love for many situations), I've been able to stay present to her, assure her of our prayers and support, and receive regular updates. This has diminished the miles that separate us and even though I can't lend a shoulder in-person, we've kept a connection and she's thanked me for "being there with her". Present even though physically not.

As I write, I've been at the hospital with my husband for three straight days and nights. He's had major abdominal surgery that will require a long recovery at home. I slept one night on a sofa in a lobby like a hobo, until they brought a sleep chair in for me so I can rest at his side. I haven't breathed in fresh air or let the sun kiss my skin since arriving. Our kids are home fending for themselves and I think it's wonderful that they are stepping up to care for one another and also take charge of the activity schedule and pet care. We've received many offers for rides and food, but they've got this and I am so grateful for older children when extended family isn't nearby. 


I've been able to focus on my husband and be attentive to his needs. Whether it's covering him with an extra blanket, combing his hair, looking up the patron saint of pain, or simply holding his hand, I have no distractions tugging me away; no agenda  or to-do list spinning around in my head. For the past three days I am present to him and even though he sleeps alot of the time and the nurses have been wonderful with their care, my presence brings comfort and companionship and tells him we are in this together-- he just got the raw end of the deal. I am ever thankful for being able to stay here and weather this storm united with my spouse and once again, I'm keenly aware that this is where I am called to be, completely present.


While I nurture my husband and beg prayers for his recovey, I am fed spiritually. This hospital is world-renowned and attracts patients from all over the globe to come here for treatment. I've found solace in the chapel sevearl times a day. This one is different than the plain chapels I've visited in other hospitals. Tucked off in the corner, with a kneeler placed in front, stands a tabernacle holding the Blessed Sacrament. My Jesus is also physically present here! I've watched numerous medical personnel stop in before starting a shift to kneel before this holy throne. What comfort to know He is here and feeding those who care for our sick loved ones. I
      I've also knelt before this sacred spot to pray the rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and just speak my heart. I attended a noon mass yesterday and was able to hand-out some Divine Mercy holy cards both in English and Spanish. It's such an honor to both be given spiritual peace and participate in spreading His message, especially to people who are going through trials right now. 

Outside the chapel in a main hallway hangs this picture:

Next to it is an explanation which reads that this was taken at the Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica, using film. The miraculous white apparitions showed up once the film was developed. They are believed to be those of Jesus/Mary and angels. I was pretty impressed to see this hanging in such a prominent public place! 

The True Presence is here and inspires me to be present to all those in need.