Time and Patience

Kids are so frank. We were at the church where little Peter goes for day care. It’s a very welcoming sort of place in spite of the posters showing Adam and Eve as white people with straight blow-dried hairdos.

Now Peter is little; not two feet high, so it was faintly surprising to me see a eight-year-old named Connor hailed him.

“Yo, PETE! High five!” he called and Peter offered his own version of that universal male salute before losing his balance and sitting down hard on the church hall rug.

“Hey HEY!” shouted  Connor approvingly. Then his glance fell on Peter’s mom Susan, who bears the marks of the surgery that three weeks ago severed  her 8th cranial nerve, ending her ability to hear ever again with her left ear.

“You look kind of …weird,” the boy said.

Thanks!” said Susan. “It’s the eye patch.”

“She looks a little like  a pirate, right?” said I, going for a jaunty take on things.

“No but there’s more. Your mouth looks funny.”

In fact that whole side of her face is still without feeling, the muscles still unable to draw the curtains of tissue up into a smile or down into a frown or anywhere at all really. Her right side is completely mobile so the contrast is marked.

“It’ll go back to normal soon. It’s just resting now after an operation she had.”

That was me again. I say this ten times a day, sometimes to kind strangers so greet me here in the home of Mormonism and sometimes – many times – to myself. It’s a fact, the doctors say, and not a fond hope. It will go back to normal eventually: when Annie was here last week the doctors said all feeling and movement would return to that side of the face though it could take months. “Months!” Annie agonized in the email she wrote to to fill me in on things.

I think we all feel as Annie felt when she typed that word: Anxious. Scared. Maybe even faintly outraged?

If we do feel that way it’s because we are only laymen and have no real sense of the miracle is to be able to remove a tumor so rare that only ten people in a million are diagnosed with it each year. We have scant sense of the miracle it is to be able actually to sever the slender filament that is the 8th Cranial Nerve without doing damage to the surrounding circuitry – and THEN to see the beneficiary of the surgery sitting up and talking and even taking a step or two just hours after it.

Laymen want miracles and instant results but Fate is schooling us all in patience.

And so we can wait until her body heals and she can resume life as the same dark-eyed beauty she was on the day of her marriage to kind tender funny Kevin who wraps her in his arms many times a day here in the city of the Great Salt Lake and all through the night as well.

I guess patience is what we all need to pack in our daily knapsacks. Patience and a strong dose of gratitude for blessings received.

I know I felt blessed yesterday when the woman behind me at the checkout in Wallgreens asked what brought me to Salt Lake City and heard the story and then asked for Susan’s name.

“I will pray for her tonight” she said. She hugged me  and I stumbled back to my car in the blinding high-desert sun, a wash of fresh tears brimming in my eyes.

10 thoughts on “Time and Patience

  1. me three …

    Thanks for sharing with us all your gift of storytelling, your ability to build community wherever you land and the greatest gift of all your LOVE. still praying for strength, courage, patience and healing … and giving thanks for immense doses of optimism and hope in the face of adversity

  2. It will get better and it will take months. (Reminds me of Best Exotic Marigold hotel line ” it will be alright in the end and if its not alright its not the end”)

  3. As horses and chariots and a great host shut up the prophet in Dothan, his young servant was alarmed. How could they escape from such a body of armed men? But the prophet had eyes which the servant had not, and he could see a greater host with far superior weapons guarding him from harm. Horses of fire are mightier than horses of flesh, and chariots of fire preferable to chariots of iron.

    Even so it is at this hour. Agencies seen and unseen of the most potent kind are on the side of rightousness. God has armies in ambush which will reveal themsrlves in the hour of need. The forces of good and the true far outweigh the powers of sickness and evil. Therefore, let us keep our spirits up, and walk with the gait of men who possess a cheering spirit which has lifted them above all fear. We are on the winning side. The battle may be sharp, but we know how it will end. Faith, having God with Her, is in the clear majority.

    Let us look through the eyes of the prophet.

      1. Just some thoughts from an episode described in 2 Kings 6 where God performs once again his wonderous works through his prophet, Elisha. First, Elisha calms his servant by word; much the way we become calm through the Word. Then, by vision. “Open your eyes,” he advises. In this world, adversaries of truth are many, influential, crafty and truth often suffers. Let us look about us and find the good. In the supposed worst of times surely we can discover love, caring, support, a helping hand here along with an unexpected lifting there.

        I personally was just released from an unexpected hospital visit where the news of my health and condition grew progressively worse as reported. This passage along with others helped bring to the surface what we know for sure inside of us…that God has surrounded us with his good and holds us tenderly in his care. We need to bring this to light and place in next to the frightening reports concerning our situation at hand.

        I know that my health road ahead is long and probably difficult but my spirits are high and lifted above fear. What can be seen through the prophets eye shows clearly that I will finish on the winning side.

        “And he answered, ‘Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”
        2 Kings 6:16 (Don’t mean to be preachy, just positive).

      2. I am so sorry to read the news Art! You could never be preachy. You are in my prayers now, as I think of you there with your loving family around you…

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