Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2010—somewhat belatedly…
My apologies to anyone who happened to stop by here and found that I’ve been A.W.O.L., so to speak. I have written many posts in my head over the last few weeks, but life’s “dailies”, unforeseen needs, and Other Computer Users in residence have gotten in the way.

I had quit checking to see if anyone logged on here, and then at New Year’s someone asked me if Miss Cee would do a Swiffing Demonstration, and I realized that there may still be a few intrepid souls out there who check in from time to time. So, as time allows, I will try to recount the improbable details of a pre-Christmas trip to Toys R Us (not for the faint of heart!), treacherous journeys northward in blowing snow, and other contemporaneous adventures.

For now, this is a brief [well, in my world, it’s all relative…] post about questions and answers, and how I tend to be woefully slow-on-the-uptake.

This morning I woke up and realized that I’m pretty lousy at ‘connecting the dots.’ I remembered those dot-to-dot books I had when I was a little girl. You know, there are pages of dots interspersed with strange strokes that look like whiskers, a mischievous eye here and there, and as you connect the dots, you find that you’ve drawn Tom (the cat) just as he’s about to pounce on little Jerry. However…

…THOSE dot-to-dots have a distinct advantage: namely, the dots are all numbered. Assuming you know how to count sequentially to 15 or 20, all you need to do is place your trusty #2 pencil point at the first dot, and proceed in numerical order, as the image magically takes shape before your eyes.

In these latter years, I find there are still dots to connect…but no numbers to show you what which dots need to be connected, and in what order, to see God’s current picture of my life. I think this is another of those somewhat annoying instances in which one has to Trust, and wait at each step to see which is the next “dot” to lock your sights on. I could do it so much faster on my own! But, somehow, the picture doesn’t come out right.

As I percolate on this, it seems there are different permutations (aha! Two “per” words in one sentence!) to this phenomenon: (1) there is the Spectator Version, in which you watch someone else quite obviously make an unfathomable mess of it, and there is nothing you can do but cringe. And know that, in spite of it all, God circumscribes the extent of the chaos. It goes without saying that the classic type here involves the parent as Spectator, sadly watching the offspring willfully scribble.

But the second version hits closer to home: (2) the Firsthand Version, in which I hold the pencil, wait all of 3 seconds, and then shamelessly complain to God that He isn’t giving me any direction. And, afterall, I’m here; or as Miss Cee used to proclaim loudly from the changing table when she wasn’t immediately attended to: “I WAITING!!!”

Why the hoo-haw? Is there any reason to think His picture will somehow appear without Him? Well, no. Has He ever not shown up? Actually, no. He may seem to push it a little, as in ‘never late, but seldom early;’ but I’ve never been truly abandoned.

Many years ago, I gleaned from a sermon this tidbit: that when you find yourself in a place of uncertainty, when little waves of panic threaten to lap up against your mental shores, it is helpful to look back. Recall previous moments when you’ve been here before: the fact that you’re here again is itself proof that God has shown up in the past. Is there anything in His character to cause me to doubt Him now? He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. I’m the one who quails. Even at the ultimate moment, when I step forth from this earthly tent, I can count on Him to accompany me “through the valley of the shadow of death.” Shouldn’t that assurance make a difference now?

But for now, it seems that we’re in another one of those holding patterns.
Two weeks ago, we took Ben back for an appointment with his endocrinologist, Dr. C. Although we hadn’t discussed our hopes aloud, in our hearts the three of us had hoped—and almost expected—that this would be Ben’s last appointment. We had delivered the two weeks of blood sugar readings several weeks prior, there was still no need for insulin, and it just seemed we had walked this road long enough. Surely, anyone could see that.

But, that’s not what we heard. Instead we learned that, though medically considered a pre-diabetic now, Ben will always be susceptible to future diabetic episodes because of the hit his pancreas took almost exactly a year ago. He needs to be kept ‘under surveillance’ for now. Further, he needs to continue with glucochecks once or twice a week, one fasting, one after a meal, until our next appointment in four months. Wait a minute.

So unsatisfactory was this news to Ben that he has, to date, refused (in overt moments) and “forgotten” (in passive-aggressive moments) to test. Eeeesh. I think we’ve been here before. What about ‘connecting the dots’, God?
What, indeed? I feel a review lesson coming on. Exactly why are we even at the place where we could consider that Dec. 31 might be at Ben’s last appointment? Why, in this year’s Christmas card photo, is Ben smiling on the living room sofa when a year ago he was in the PICU being fed through an N-G tube? Those were two major dots in our picture and both of those, along with all the intermediate ones, were in the control of, and connected by, God.

When I woke this morning, for some reason, my first mental picture was of friends of ours—who didn’t know each other, but who knew us and knew the Lord—standing over Ben one year ago, placing hands on him and beseeching God for healing. I remember that. But I hang my head as I realize that I haven’t consistently remembered to connect the dots between those prayers and Ben’s recovery. That is a line superintended by God.

If we expected a different endpoint two weeks ago, we were trying to connect the wrong dot…and forgetting Who’s charting the path.

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