Sunday, May 2, 2010

Update 5/2/10 24 weeks since crash

Dear friends,

Summer came for a visit yesterday, stuck around today, and who knows about tomorrow. There’s a saying, art imitates life, but how about this one: life imitates the weather. (And not California weather, New York weather). Filling our senses with warmth and beauty, motivating us to hide under the covers, causing us to cover our ears in fear and trembling, crashing our boats against the shore, blowing gently on golden days with leaves floating across the lawn…both savage and gentle. Always unpredictable. Twenty four weeks ago it was a beautiful, surprisingly warm November day. Officer Ernie was raking his lawn, contemplating going to work for East Greenbush’s finest that evening. David and his pal Robbie were playing outside instead of being “one” with the Mario Brothers. I was lamenting going to work in a windowless office on such a fine day. And Smitty, well, he no doubt rolled down the window as he hopped in the car with our baby girl to pick up David. So many little choices and seemingly unconnected details come together in ways we don’t understand and create the mundane and the dramatic of daily living. What if it had been colder? Would Oscar Lewis have decided to stay home instead of going out for cigarettes? Would Hannah have gone upstairs to grab a sweatshirt, and lost 5 critical minutes that could have changed the whole scenario? These are the types of questions that really could turn your head inside out if you insisted on having an answer. The weather, along with everything else, is ultimately under the umbrella of the sovereignty of God, but the free will of man is in the mix too, and none of us is smart enough to figure out how it works. I love both of these quotes by men who saw more than their share of unpredictability:

“I have lived a long time, sir, and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God governs in the affairs of men.”
Benjamin Franklin

“God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist.”
St. Augustine

Here’s a dumb little story, but I’ve never forgotten it, and it shed some light for me on the sufferings of man under the eye of a watchful God. Steve and I owned a black cat we found on the streets of the Bronx as a kitten. His name was Sadie, after I misidentified his gender and the name had already stuck. When “The King of Mapleridge Ave.” (as he was later known by our neighbors after we moved to Albany) became very ill at around 2 years of age, I brought him to the vet. Turned out he had a blocked urethra, and the toxins from his system were backing up and killing him. Another hour or so, and he would have died. The vet put a plastic collar around his neck, pressed on him, poked him, stuck a needle in him, and performed various other painful and uncomfortable procedures on him. (As an aside, this cat was NOT Cosette, who turns into a pill bug at the vet). Sadie spit, hissed, scratched, yowled, and generally let everyone know what he thought of all this torture while he was already sick. Worst of all, he looked up at me like I was the ultimate traitor. I had to leave him there for a few days so the vets could save his life. Misery.

I put my foot on the step to leave the office, and I could hear God’s words to my heart; “That’s how it is with you and Me. You think I’m torturing you with your troubles, but I’m really saving your life – your true, eternal, deep down, real life.” I got a little revelation that day, that I just plain don’t get many things that happen, but like Sadie, I simply can’t see that He’s all about giving me true life. I’m too small to figure out the vast, cosmic truths that weave themselves together beyond my tiny understanding. But this I know: at the bottom of it is a heart of love so grand, I can’t get my head around that either. It’s like St. Augustine said, he’ll bring good out of evil.

Sadie lived to the ripe old age of 16, impossibly long for a cat who nearly died 4 times, and spent a good part of his life outdoors. He defied the predictable. When we cooperate with God, and don’t get bitter, we can defy the predictable too. God help me do it, because otherwise I’ll live a small, safe life, with that ever dangerous tendency to make it all about me. That’s the worst…

Enjoy the “summer” while it lasts. When the rain comes, accept it too, and be glad it when it washes off the car a little bit.

By the way, Officer Ernie, I’m really, really glad you went to work that night…You too, Officer Mike… and Dan Lane... and all you firemen and EMT’s and nurses and doctors etc., etc… I think you're all absolutely the top of the ladder. And you look the unpredictable in the eye, every day.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,



tasha said...

Loriann my friend.. Thank you for the reminder that God truly has our "best" in His heart.. I am sending love, and hugs, and prayers your way.. XOXO Tabitha

Anonymous said...

To quote Robert DeNiro in the movie where he plays the mobster opposite Billy Crystal playing the psychologist: "You, you gotta gift" (you have to think of it with a thick NY mobster accent or it doesn't work).

He's saving my life with every trouble. That is one that will stick with me for the rest of my life - I kid you not. Troubles are a constant reminder that something's wrong that the Lord wants to fix in ME - not the one who's causing my discomfort (usually my kids), but ME. And it's all in my HEAD where the change needs to start.

I am coming into a deeper revelation of just how constant the feeding of lies into our minds is by our enemy, and just how much more I need to be on guard to say no to the lies. It's like being a sentry 24/7. No sleep - just a constant awareness of who may be around to bring destruction.

YOu bless me with your words of truth and encouragement. I hope your day is magnificent. XXOO mar

TGSmith said...

But also consider...
What if that army medic chose not to drive that night?
or the doctor followed protocol and cut him open to find the source of the bleeding?
or the Medivac chopper was already on a call that night?
Or the nurses didn't squeeze the blood out of the bags?
Or Stephen waited another year to start getting fit so he wasn't in the shape he was in,
Or ....