December 10, 2020 THE MMA TEAM

My dad came home from the hospital on Labor Day weekend. After two weeks of in-patient care and a cancer diagnosis, he called from his hospital bed and told me he was being discharged. Could I pick him up?

I got to the hospital and gave him a change of clothes. His feet were too swollen for his shoes, so the nurse gave him yellow socks with grippy bottoms.  

While we waited for the discharge paperwork, dad sat on the chair near the windows on the 12th floor where I assumed the most serious patients went, with the best views for possible last days. I watched as he lifted his arms and closed his eyes, like he was praising God. Maybe he was, or maybe he was just stretching to move some of the water weight around his swollen limbs. 

Like many other people, I'm a member of the sandwich generation, caring for young kids and aging parents at the same time.
When someone gets sick, you start to notice how many people are in similar situations. It’s like buying a red hat and seeing red everywhere, or walking past a purple azalea and finding them blooming in pockets around town.

There is nothing special about my dad’s cancer which is treatable, but not curable. Yet we are joined into a community of others loving people who face suffering and uncertainty.

But we're learning that uncertainty is exactly where God sometimes brings us—even as our bodies fail—to find deeper trust. To walk by faith, not sight.

Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve become quite sure that choosing love in our real life, in this wild world, will always cost us. We won't have the people we love forever. But bearing witness to God’s goodness in the land of the living is a gift, and living in the present moment is a gift.

Psalm 90:15, a favorite for months now, says: “Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us.”

In that light, hope in God's redemptive love can begin to flood in. If your cross is light or heavy today, if your body is whole or broken, join me in accepting the invitation to rest in—and not in spite of—affliction.

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