My thoughts simply blur as I think of what it could have been, yet what is is now. The battle has just begun, and the mind-master of all wars is working away.
But I shall not crumble, nor will I be torn. Always defending the helpless and feeding the sick, now much more should I do for my own flesh and blood. That blood will always be there, and there is one person that I will miss the most.
Grandpa. He came with us to Orlando, to Aruba, to West Palm Beach and what did he do? He brought joy to the family, completed a circle of love, and is still a deep lake of love. Misunderstandings may abound, but his favorite food awaits him on his doorstep even now as I write. I will never forget the things you love. I will never stop loving you. I will always want your grandchildren to know you as well as I did.
You know that I have been through this struggle before. That when I was in my first year of medical school, there was a thick cloud that faced me every day. My best friends, both female and male, helped me make it through one day at a time. Later, I was a single parent with no child support and I could picture myself at the bottom of a cold, dark, and damp well.
Seems like I'd been there before. My face is turned downwards as the tears naturally flow into a muddy pile next to my legs. Finally, finally, finally...after reaching the bottom and staying there a while in shock, recovery began.
It started only because of the kind words that other people had for me. It started only because God was in my life and He made sure to solidify my faith in Him. Since I've been at the bottom of the well before, it is not new to me. Nor is it kind.
But there is one thing that I will always know, even as the tears fall down and my nose runs. I wipe my nose on my shirt ever so gently. I let the tears flow, for the body has its own natural processes. No one else can carry the pain. No one else can feel the drain. I am here by myself and time is ticking away.
I remember. So this is what I do. Slowly, with tears still falling, I move my eyes. They move from the soddy and blurred vision of my tired eyeballs which encase them.
My fight comes out. It slowly fills me up with passion and belief. With trust and hope and faith. I stop crying. Instead, I choose to fight. With all of my might, I begin looking away from this deep, dark pit that smells of mildew and dust. My eyes move to the sky.
I can see the light. And in the light, I see something that has been waiting for me all this time. It is the Hand of Jesus, reaching down to me. It has been there this whole time. All I had to do is 1) look up; and 2) know it is there.
So it was just as if I was running down a mountain side and twisted my ankle, tumbling down the edge. I groped and clawed my hands and fingernails into the shrubs, the thorns, and the dirt. If one plant failed, I grasped at yet another area, in hopes of finding a shrub with strong roots that could support my body's weight.
And some one, the last person on this run, noticed that I was missing.
She turned around I suppose, and noticed that my running steps no longer made that padding sound as the shoe hits the ground. She didn't just leave me there. Or assume I was somewhere ahead of the pack. She went back, like a good shepherd does with his flock, and she checked on me.
By the time she found me, I was hanging on to the plants so hard that little by little, I was starting to lose my grip. In the background, my back turned to the great outdoors, I calculated that the sun was going down. Soon, darkness would abound and the night time critters would come out. I could no longer cry out for help, because I was just hanging on. All my energy went in to my grasp, my hold.
Suddenly and without warning, I looked up. I saw a large hand, that of a strong woman, come down into my visual field. I saw it but that was not the end of the story. Thank God, that strong hand reached down and instead of waiting for me to grab it, the hand took it upon itself to reach out to me. Her hand did not just stay there. She used her energy, extended her arm, and .... like an apple being plucked off a tree, she lifted my hand up to the sky.
Whew! I was startled and my pupils were widely dilated. I was being lifted from that place of fear and writhing and pain....and in one full swoop of confident strength, there I went. Upwards with a jolt at first, but upwards nonetheless. I grabbed on to the hand with both of mine, so I would not let go. But it was not necessary.
The big hand was able to carry me up and gently place my shoes back on the trail. "Are you okay?" "Yes!".... "but the night is falling and we must make it down the trail soon."
So I pulled myself together, put behind all my aches and pains, and I took a deep breath. And then I started running. Faster and faster, until I was flying in a smooth line towards the light. And I'll never forget it.
So now, when I am in the bottom of the hole again, I know the hand of Jesus is there. It is waiting for me as surely as I know. All I have to do is look up, see it, and then reach for it. Just put my hands up and reach for the sky. Praise the Lord with all my strength, and know that He will put me down gently. The trial may not be over; it may just be a new beginning. But I know that I can make it to the bottom of the hill before the sun sets.
So it is. Another fall, a trip of the step, a case of seeming hopelessness. But I have faith that I will be okay. I may have to struggle for some more time, but I will make it in before dark. I will run on a sprained ankle, and I will run without complaining.
For I know that God is with me.
And I begin to Praise His Name, and the spider webs stop sticking to my face. My shoes are renewed with each step of faith. My ankle hurts less and less. I know my direction is right, and I know I need to run.
So I think of this moment, and I think of past times that were similar. I'm not sure where I am...falling, grabbing, or being lifted. But this I do know: God is with me.
That is all I need to know.