May 27, 2017
Somehow, a single day can seem like a lifetime when a child is in the hospital. When one day of admission turns into several days, and then into several weeks, it’s more like an eternity. What day is it again? Time seems to stop and the tears seem to never stop. It is utterly exhausting, both physically and emotionally.
After many years of caring for medically-fragile children, children who spend thousands upon thousands of hours in the hospital, you would think I would get used to it. Nope! It never gets easier. There are days – and usually interminable nights – when I cry into the darkness, I can’t do this! This is impossible!
Indeed, it is impossible, at least for one person. There is no way I could continue caring for these precious children with their complicated medical needs if I had to do it alone. I depend on my community, my “village,” those invaluable friends and neighbors and church family who are ready and willing to step in and offer support when things invariably get overwhelming and difficult.
During these seasons of long hospitalizations, the most common offer I am likely to hear is, If you need anything, please let me know. I love the openness of that! The generosity and kind-hearted intent. The love that those words communicate!
But honestly, when I am focused on the child in front of me - on the medical complications and the doctor’s prognosis and the long-term implications of this current health concern – and when I am completely drowning trying to balance the time at the hospital with the ongoing responsibilities at home, it becomes almost impossible to articulate what I need. I search my over-burdened brains for the right words to ask, and come up empty. All I can think to cry is, Help me!
What I need more than anything, what has encouraged me the most during these stressful days and weeks in the hospital, is a specific offer of help. When someone is willing to take the initiative, and give or serve or love from the abundance of their heart.
I am so grateful and humbled to be the recipient of so much love! I can barely begin to count the ways that thoughtfulness has inspired me to not give up on these frail children. Ways that generosity has encouraged me to press on with this hard calling. Ways that kindness has made the impossible . . . become possible.