It’s Sunday morning. I feel the weather in my bones before I see it out the window. I turn over in my bed, careful of the new knee and find that my husband is missing. I remember that he was having trouble sleeping in the night, and he must have gone down to his recliner. I hate it when he can’t sleep, but we both are better off when he goes downstairs instead of rolling and tossing, but I miss him.
WOW! Do I ever feel ragged around the edges. My knee is swollen, and it hurts. My head aches, as do most of the bones in my body. Sunday morning comin’ down.
So I pick up the things I need to comb my hair and pull on my favorite robe. I traverse the mountain that is the steps to the bottom floor. I have been going up and down them every day with forced optimism, believing that it is good therapy for me to put one step over the other, one step over the other, and trying to be brave and joyful. This morning, I put one down, plop down the other to the same step, put the first one down another step, plop the second one down. I hear the unreplaced knee complain. I decide that I am neither optimistic or brave, and the tears brim in my eyes. Mostly I am tired of trying so hard.
I come into the kitchen, and rustle for some air-borne, and some yogurt and some coffee and some vitamins and some pain meds. I take the little group of things over to my favorite chair and sit there and think about the day. And cry tears of self-pity. I need to think about the day. My thoughts automatically turn to needing to get ladies up, needing to get around in time for church and I look at the kitchen, still in shambles from the day yesterday and decide that I am going to stay home. I justify myself saying that no one will really blame me. And I tell my Heavenly Father all my troubles. And then I remember that He hates grumbling.
So I begin to thank Him for the blessings I have, and I begin to think of my brothers and sisters at Laws Mennonite Church. One by one, their faces come into my mind, and I think about how very much I love them, how I need them to help me keep my balance, how they have been so supportive and helpful and encouraging. I know that some of them won’t be there this morning, and that our group, already so small, will be even smaller, and I know that if I were there, I would miss the ones that weren’t there. Acutely. I think about how we just celebrated together last night in an adoption celebration — and how much fun we have together. I think, too, about how we’ve weathered so much as a church family, how we continue to weather things that make us sad, and the knowledge that I really need to be with them today begins to creep into the edges of my soul.
Besides, I am starting to feel a little better. Middle Daughter had sneaked in to bed after working all night and some of the ones that will be missing at church are the little people who make up her little class of pre-schoolers, so she elects to stay home and sleep after two nights of work. This simplifies things as she will be here so that Cecilia, and Nettie won’t need to be drug out in the rainy morning. I go to wake up Cecilia so that I can give her the early morning medication before her shower. She sits on the potty while I make her bed, get her clothes around, and turn on the morning news for Nettie. After Cecilia is showered, and back in her room, it is time to spray and powder, and dress and comb her for the day, the routine for this morning is the same as every morning.
I am half listening to the news on the television behind me, thinking of the devastation of Haiti and wondering just how all this was going to play out over the months ahead when my attention is suddenly arrested by an announcer saying, “There are still people in Haiti who hold on to hope, even in the midst of all this terrible destruction and chaos.” And then I hear it: Haitian Christians. Singing. Their voices are joyful, and I recognize the tune:
“There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus.
No not one. No, not one.
None else can heal all our soul’s diseases.
No, not one. No, not one.
Jesus knows all about our struggles.
He will guide ’till the day is done.
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus.
No, not one. No, not one.”
The words run through my head in English as the tune goes through my head as the Haitians sing it in a local dialect. I stop, my hands still, suddenly so ashamed of myself and so aware of how self centered I am. Even the pain that I have been through the last six weeks is because of a wonderful gift — that of a new knee, and a new lease on life. I’ve seen so much devastation and loss, people who have no recourse, no hope for recovery, and who have lost everyone and everything they needed for life and happiness, and there they are singing! And here I am, sitting on my comfy chair, complaining. Thinking of not going to church.
Oh, Lord Jesus, forgive me. Once again, I pray that you will conform me to the image of Your Son. There is no other hope for this selfish, selfish heart.