Half dressed after getting out of the bath, with a towel on my head, I lay across my bed and stare at the great outdoors through my window – the river and the trees and some buildings in the distance. I feel totally exposed, not that anyone can see me, but exposed as I lay myself bare before the Lord. I’m trying to just “be”, so He can do a work in me but that’s not easy. My high expectations say, get up, clean up, make your bed, get going, but I’m trying to be still. I feel I’m suppose to learn the discipline of “Don’t just do something, stand there.” Instead of what comes more naturally; “Don’t just stand there, do something.”
If you read my last blog post, you will know that I’ve figured out some of what God has in store for me in this place, and that’s healing. It totally took me by surprise because I didn’t think I needed any “healing”. I’m really okay, but I guess God’s not okay with just “okay” … I guess He wants more than that for me.
So with the revelation of “healing”, I’m trying to not dodge what God is doing. I kind of feel like I’m back in elementary school in line for a vaccination shot or something. It’s scary and uncomfortable and I want to run in the other direction, but I’m not running. I’m actually trying to be still, which is hard most of the time. It’s like, how can I be still when I’ve got bills to pay, a dog to walk, a floor to mop, dishes to wash, shopping to do and a workout to get to?
There needs to be stillness physically, but I’m learning a stillness in spirit is just as, or more important. So even when I’m doing those things, my spirit and mind are “still” available to Him and His working, His healing, His comforting, His loving, His directing. It’s about making myself available to go with Him where He wants me to go even though it really hurts. And even though I say, “go with Him”, it might be more about “staying with Him”. I might have to “move” through something, but stay put….”stay put” in Him.
Part of what I’m learning is to stop squirming when certain thoughts and memories come to mind, like thoughts of Mike’s touch. It’s a painful place to go, but a very wonderful place too. That place I once knew, tightly wrapped in his loving arms. The feeling of goosebumps when he swept my hair off my neck and put his lips there, or same when he’d draw a slow soft line down my bare spine with the back of a few fingers. ALS took his touch away from me a few years ago already, along with the sound of his voice and the ease of conversation. Fresher memories are those of ‘one letter at a time’ conversations that tested our patience and love (love and patience won). The scent of peppermint body wash and Old Spice deodorant linger, along with the sound of his breathing, and his few looks that conveyed many things. My lover, my caregiver, my encourager, my adviser, my helper, my friend all in one … my wonderful companion! I miss him as my “companion” the most.
Companions come and go in this life, but there is one Companion that never leaves.
Only a few weeks after Mike was diagnosed with ALS, my good friend Celeste asked me if I would join her at her church for a ladies meeting. The meeting was about prayer mentors and Celeste asked me to come as her guest, as her prayer mentor. I was honoured of course not only to be considered her prayer mentor, but to stand with her and share. One thing I’ve learned from Celeste (among many) throughout out friendship is how beautiful vulnerability can be.
Anyway, when I prayed about what I should say that day to a room full of women who were looking for some prayer wisdom and inspiration, I got this word: “companion”. It was the greatest word I could have heard at the beginning of a treacherous journey with ALS. At the beginning of a journey of letting go of my best friend, Jesus said, “Here I am, your greatest Companion.” He said, “I will never leave you, I will always be everything you ever really need and I will be your forever Companion.” I didn’t share with the women there that day that my beloved husband had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness, but I did share from my heart about my greatest, highest and forever Companion and about my conversations with this Man I love. Conversations I call “prayer”, a closeness I can’t compare; a relationship with the Almighty … my Lord, Saviour and Friend and forever Companion … the greatest love of my life.
What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer…
Joseph M Scriven, 1855
PS – I think it’s kind of funny that it took me so long to write my last few posts and this one was pretty much written three days after my last one. It was like my fingers couldn’t keep up with my thoughts. I’m wondering if writing is part of this healing process. I’m sure most writers would say, “Writing is always part of the healing process.”
Hi Nadine! Last week I was rushing, running to work, got to our building (BC Cancer Research) and made it to the elevator just in time to be on time. But then the elevator broke! I was stuck on the elevator (by myself) for over an hour! I made good friends with Josh, the security guy with whom I was connected when I used the emergency phone in the elevator. Best of all, I had your book! So I sat and read while I was stuck in this elevator. I was only there for about 70 minutes, while I was reading about you and Mike, dealing with ALS day in and day out. I felt like I had it pretty good. It’s all perspective, right? I have always wondered what it would be like to get stuck in an elevator. The funniest thing to me was when it was all over, and the elevator repair guy opened the door, 2 people were kind of leaning in with this look of anticipation, like, “what’s she gonna do? Burst into tears? Hugs?” I just popped out of the elevator and said, “Thank you, thank you so much! I have to go to work!! Thank you again, BYE!” Thankfully there was an adjacent elevator in good working order. Just wanted to say thank you, thank you so much for getting me through what could have been a really stressful experience! Love and blessings, Hilary
Here’s another story that really touched my heart. My parents were recently in Manitoba visiting my dad’s family. When they returned they told me that my uncle John’s brother in law (my late aunt Suzy’s brother) Ed Weibe passed away. They said they were told that when he died, my book was on his bed side table, opened, alongside his Bible. I was speechless, wow!
I’m grateful for the messages I get almost daily of how my book is touching the lives of others – it’s an amazing blessing! Mike would be so pleased his story is making a difference in people’s lives. Perhaps he and Ed Weibe are discussing it now.