When Paula came home from Atlanta the last time – she was in, as they say in Hospice, a very delicate condition. In fact she came home in a private medical jet because the hospital believed she wouldn’t survive the 10-hour drive. Her friends rallied together so her husband could continue to work and we took shifts caring for her.
When I initially walked into her home for my first shift and saw my beautiful friend laying on the couch it dawned on me that this might be the end and I bit back the tears that threatened. You see, Paula has cancer. If you’ve read me for a while you recognize her name. She was diagnosed before me but was there for me through every step of my treatment, leading the way, plying me with ginger chews and bible verses and toasty socks and lotions, and a safe, godly ear for me to whisper into.
Walking through her door that first day was shocking. She was flat out on the couch under a pile of blankets and could not speak well, walk, or control the shaking in her hands that were puffy with steroids. She was on oxygen 24/7 and a regimen of oxycodone and other drugs and was only occasionally lucid. As the weeks went on I continued to take my turns sitting with her, helping her eat, and perform other vital necessities. Since she slept most of the time I busied myself with reading, writing, working on my book, and dozing off myself every once in a while.
We continued on like this for weeks and even though I prayed for healing a part of me was watching my friend sink further and further away from us and I asked God a few times if this wasn’t the end.
That was, until last week.
My ‘visiting’ day that week was Friday and I walked into Paula’s house to find the morning-shift friend smiling at me and Paula sitting up on the couch, her eyes bright, and a wide smile on her face. I can tell you now, I was more than a little freaked out. My friend was back to her perky self.
“It’s so good to see you.” She said. A weird thing to say when I had just seen her the week before.
But as the day progressed I was to discover that Paula remembered nothing of the past eight weeks. Nothing – save the constant ringing of the doorbell on Halloween.
She remembered going to Atlanta that last time and then … nothing until last Sunday when she, as she said, “Woke up from my fog.”
I was dumbfounded. Had God spared her the mental anguish of the last eight weeks by closing her mind to what was happening to her physically? No one had an answer for it but I wouldn’t put it past Him to do such a thing. That’s how much He loves us.
But that wasn’t the half of the miracle – here was my lovely friend Paula. Sitting up – and I mean UP (not propped up!) eating, talking, joking, laughing, with only a small shake in her hands to offer any lasting evidence. Her legs and arms were still mighty weak but that first day she walked with her walker, crossed her legs on the sofa like any proper lady, and held lasting coherent conversations. Even though she continued to freak me out as I watched her, I praised God for His miraculous healing.
It’s been four weeks since that day and Paula’s now moving around without the walker, has been out of the house to shop and dine and go to a Christmas party, and continues to amaze.
God is truly astounding.
Never give up praying. Never stop praising Him.
Never give up believing that God will intervene. I know that many times He doesn’t, and we won’t ever know why this side of Heaven, but sometimes He does. In both times, in all times, we must pray, and believe, and have faith, and praise Him continuously.
I’m learning that now, more than ever.
sweet, cool breeze lifts my face
snowman on dry grass.
Every once in a while I like to try my hand at poetry …
Let your past memories slip unnoticed through your soul. Don’t allow them to anchor, to irritate, or to kidnap your thoughts. God uses your past but forgets it as soon as it’s over. It’s an example we should follow … to treat our history in the same manner. Valuable because it made you what you are today, but already forgotten because you are so much more.
So. Much. More.