Good morning saints and the rest of us.
I hope that you got an hour of peaceful sleep for every minute of restless sleep I experienced last night. Most of the people who read this blog are people that I know and love. And as such, you will already know this. But I am in the hospital. Watching helplessly as my father fights for his life. (And Mike Lowe…if you’re listening…you’re not fighting hard enough in my humble opinion. OF ALL TIMES to stop being stubborn!)
But I digress. I’m sure some people will start out with some confusion as to why I am writing this. At this time. Which is 4:35 am. But if I have failed to get this point across to you in the past…words are my drug. Words are my catharsis. Words are my nirvana…my higher plane…my lesser pain. And there are two main reasons.
The first is a song.
It is an old song. A slow song. A sweet song. It is the story of trusting through the darkest night, the coldest fear, and the roughest seas. You see, the words are sweet and beautiful…until you know the story behind the song. Horatio Spafford’s family had its entire wealth wrapped up in Chicago real estate. After the death of their only son when he was still an infant, his family took another major hit during the Great Chicago Fire. They lost most of their wealth. But a blessing came when family friend Dwight L. Moody invited Horatio, his wife, and their three young daughters to go on an evangelical tour of Europe with him. Spafford had some last minute business to attend to…so he sent his wife and daughters and a nanny ahead of him. A few days after their departure, he received a telegram from his wife.
“Saved alone. What shall I do?”
The ship they were on had collided with another ship. In the ensuing chaos…Mrs. Spafford lost her mother’s grip on each of the girls one by one. She was found the next day floating on a door. Her children had drowned.
Spafford left immediately to be with his wife. And the captain of the ship informed him when they were over the spot where the wreck had happened. He reckoned that the water was 3 miles deep. Horatio Spafford went back to his cabin and wrote a song. “When peace like a river attendeth my way; when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say…It is well. It is well with my soul.”
These words. This linguistic lamentation…this spiritual salve…these words. How words of joy can heal the deepest of depressions. This story and its subsequent song taught me about the healing power of words. They are not only my tool to heal myself…but my tool by which to write things that can then help others.
The second is a book.
I read this book for the first time in the 6th grade. And I hated it. National education system…are you listening? Giving students points for reading, and basing the point system on the complexity of the book, encourages young people to read books they are not ready for, which encourages the growing distaste for reading in our young people. So…congratulations on doing something else stupid. Where was I? I blacked out there for a minute. Oh yeah…I picked this book because of the points. And I HATED it. It was long and hard and confusing and at the end…he died! I worked that hard for that long…just so the main character could die?!? Are you kidding me? Never again. Worst. Book. Ever.
Fast forward four years. Now I’m in 10th grade and guess what book we’re assigned. I roll my eyes and gripe. And then I start reading. These words. This lyrical life…this salvation song…these words. I now will argue with ANYONE who says “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo is not the most beautiful book in the world.
How could a hymn from 1876 about a shipwreck and a novel from 1826 about a sinner turned saint have made such an impact on me. And why does it matter at 4:56 on a Thursday?
The proof is in the putting.
The putting together of words.
From where I sit in this sterile room, I can see a board. This board says many things, but I have focused in on one this morning. “Daily goals”. The medical staff at Forsyth Hospital’s cardiac unit have set goals for my father. He may not know it…and I may not know what they mean. But they’re there. And the nurses and doctors are doing everything they can to meet and exceed those goals. My mother and I have received so much support from people and so many people have promised their prayers. And I appreciate that.
But can I direct them a little bit?
For Thursday October 27th. Our goals are a stable V.S. and a drop in vasopressers. (If you think I have any medical understanding you should know…I’m reading that our goals for today are to build a stable out of vixen spruce and experience a drop in velociraptors). So…anyway. As prayers ascend on behalf of my family, would you be praying over our daily goal? And would you check back to find out what our daily goals are every day? And if you have no idea what vixen spruce is or what my father’s recovery has to do with velociraptors (clever girl) (please get that reference)…can I point you to a verse?
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” -Romans 8:26
So…today’s request: stable V.S., decreased vasopressers, and Holy Spirit groan.
Because as much as I love words…sometimes a well placed groan communicates all you need.
And with all the prayers, love, and support coming our way…there is only one word left that makes any sense.