Sunday, November 4, 2007

JOY COMETH... -- November 3, 2007

I continue to process the events of September 28. The day began at 12:30 a.m. with my neighbors’ house catching on fire. Evening brought the birth of our first grandchild. I was on an adrenalin rollercoaster all day. That yucky feeling in the gut from an adrenalin cocktail feels the same, whether poured from a bottle of fear or joyful anticipation.

“Linda! Get up! John’s house is on fire!” Adrenalin cocktail number one! Several hours later, the shooting flames quelled and the fire died down to the point of burning embers and smoke, my husband and I retired to our bed to attempt to get some sleep. It felt wrong to go back to my comfy bed when my neighbors had lost their home; when, just on the other side of my bedroom wall, firefighters held vigil over the smoldering remains.

Sleep eventually came, following vivid images of the fire and a mental reliving of the last few hours, with tears seeping through the fog of shock. Prayers of gratitude for lives protected and requests for comfort and strength for my neighbors carried me into a fitful sleep.

When I awoke, the adrenalin surge that had raged internally throughout the wee hours of the morning, had plummeted, leaving me fatigued yet antsy, unable to relax. Fueled by a sense of helplessness, I had to “do something,” anything, to keep busy and hold my feelings at bay. I poured those feelings onto paper, which became my September 29th column, Rising from the Embers.

As I journaled, a backhoe dug out buckets of rubble so firefighters could extinguish the fire smoldering underneath. Family members dug through the huge pile of debris, hoping to find salvageable treasures.

That afternoon, around 2:00 p.m., my cell phone rang with news that my grandbaby was on the way. Adrenalin cocktail number two! Grandma and Grandpa-to-be raced to St. Vincent’s Women’s Hospital to hold vigil on our grandchild with an excited group of family members.

One of the things I most looked forward to was seeing my son’s face when he told us that the baby was here—a face beaming with happiness and excitement. When Matt strode into the waiting area—we thought to tell us the good news—his face was grave. The baby’s heart rate had dropped several times, and although it kept coming back up, there would be a C-section. Adrenalin cocktail number three!

Thirty years ago, during labor for our first child, the baby’s heart rate dropped and I was whisked into an emergency C-section. You can just imagine where my mind went as I hugged my son and told him that everything would be OK.

“LORD! I’ve prayed earnestly that you would spare my children ever having to go through the pain we endured when our first son, Jason, died shortly after birth! And now, here’s my other son, scared to death, knowing full well that his brother died following an emergency C-section! Not fair, Lord! How could you!”

I was so furious that my son and his wife had to feel that fear. I knew exactly what Matt was feeling—and I couldn’t do anything to spare him the fear and pain! I really wasn’t too worried that the same thing might happen to my grandbaby—but then, I really was worried that the same thing might happen.

To make a long story short, I did get to see that face beaming with joy and excitement, albeit, with a measure of weariness and relief around the edges. “It’s a boy!” Matt proclaimed, and our cheering section screamed with joy. Adrenalin cocktail number four!

That’s the reality of life: sorrow and joy; joy and sorrow. We often have rubble to dig out from under and it can be hard to find the treasures in the midst of grief and sorrow. And yet, “joy cometh in the morning” (or at 7:35 p.m.)! Psalm 30:5

To every thing there is a season…
A time to be born, and a time to die…

A time to weep and a time to laugh…
A time to mourn, and a time to dance…

A time to get, and a time to lose…
Ecclesiastes 3

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