On Monday, the kids and I abruptly flew to Oklahoma to be with my sister while her youngest child battled epilepsy and pneumonia in the ICU.
In the chaos, we forgot the stroller and underwear. It doesn't much matter, really. I carried the baby in his carseat through three airports and I didn't shower for three days. That doesn't really matter, either.
Nothing can prepare you to see a beautiful six-year-old girl in a hospital bed on a ventilator. The only thing that can ready you to see your sister bedside is your own fear and shock mirrored in her face.
Time moves differently in the hospital. You forget to eat and sleep. You forget that Christmas is on Tuesday. We have all relied heavily on the generosity of family and friends while we take shifts watching the beeping monitors.
It has been a sad December. Nationally and close to home. Stupid stuff feels stupid and then suddenly important. Important stuff feels like the only thing, then suddenly angry and stupid.
My niece's name is Carrie Ann. I know many of you are already praying for her since I tossed out a plea for it on the facebook page. Please continue. Her road to recovery will be long.
One of my best friends is a surgeon. We grew up together in the same small town. She made the drive to come see us in the ICU and bring medical comfort while we peppered her with four million questions. When she arrived at the hospital, her phone wasn't working well and she misheard me. She got off the elevator on the wrong floor and approached a nurse to ask directions. That nurse - of the hundreds in the hospital - happened to be an old childhood friend of ours that neither of us had seen in years. We did not know she worked at this hospital, she did not know we were struggling upstairs. I consider it God's wink to us that he revealed a loving connection in another part of the building, someone who knows our family and could help if we needed it.
In such a heightened emotional state, it's easy to see God everywhere or not to see him at all. I do both, depending on the hour. That's what faith really is, I think. Seeing the "everywhere" portion as Truth and doing your damndest to dismiss the rest.
If you know how, please tell me.