Monday, November 09, 2009

Blessings in Disguise

A clump of hair sat on his shoulder.

Several more strands littered his maroon sweatshirt. Dad's spirits were good, but the chemo sapped his strength. Walking even three steps required him to hold onto something.

I couldn't let him see the tears in my eyes, so I busied myself putting the groceries away, loading the dishwasher, cleaning up the bathroom, anything to avoid looking at him. But there was no escaping the obvious. Medicine bottles lined the counter. Pamphlets from the oncology center lay scattered on the table. The lint trap in his dryer resembled his sweatshirt.

He assured me he was okay, encouraged me to get home to my kids, which was a nice way of saying he was ready for me to leave. I stalled in the doorway and though it wasn't our habit to express our true feelings to each other, that clump of hair beckoned me to take the risk. Would there be another chance?

"Dad, we love you. We're going to be here for you. You won't go through this alone."

He didn't know what to say. We didn't talk like this.

Then I pushed myself to kiss his cheek and gave him a hug, knocking the clump to the floor. And though I cried all the way home, the pain in my heart shared space with sincere gratitude for true connection with my father, for a chance to bond like never before.

My dad's cancer--a blessing in disguise.

My mother and I followed the ambulance which carried my two-year-old son to the hospital in another town. Fear and uncertainty, along with the hormonal fluctuations and sleep deprivation of having a newborn wore me down. Tension hovered between us. For months we ignored a big elephant that needed to be addressed. I wanted to talk about it earlier, but was too chicken to bring it up. I wrote letters I never mailed, imagined big speeches while I lay awake in bed, but never mustered the courage to talk about it openly with her.

But in a quiet car, my emotional reserves completely spent worrying about my son, the conversation I'd wanted to have for months, the one I talked myself out of too many times finally took place. And though we saw the situation differently, true communication happened, relieving my anxiety over the situation.

My son's illness--a blessing in disguise.

Sickened by my own actions and hurtful words which ended a friendship, I no longer trusted myself and decided my usefulness in ministry ran its course. Ready to quit everything I was involved in, a woman who should have been hurt by my words came alongside.

"Tami, you can't quit. If you quit, you let the devil win."

Her sincere encouragement and faithful prayers held me up until I was able to stand again, forming a new relationship, an alliance necessary to continue in ministry.

A gut-wrenching low point in my life--a blessing in disguise.

Every trial carries with it an opportunity to deepen a relationship. The urgency, the stress, the pain heightens our vulnerability and breaks down our defenses, enabling us to say what we're really thinking, to act when we wouldn't otherwise. A crisis brings grief, but a blessing may be waiting in the middle of it.

What are you facing right now? Could it be the impetus to deepening a relationship? Could it be a blessing in disguise?


Caroline said...

This is so apt for me today. I am going through a gut-wrenching low point after a schocking revelation. I am waiting to see the blessing in disguise. Several of my friends have told me God is sparing me from something worse. it gives comfort but then again the pain comes because of the reality of the situation. Thank you for your post Tami. I hope your Dad is doing better. I am so glad for you for the restoration of those very special relationships.

e-Mom said...

Beautiful Tami. We talked about this very subject at Bible study tonight. God can and does take the ugly in our lives and turn it into good. :~D

Jaime Kubik said...

This is just what I was telling you while sitting on your porch today....reading these words always seems to be one of the ways God tells me to persevere! Thank you for reliving these difficult times to show how God can act in our lives!