"This illness is to fatigue,
what a match is to a nuclear bomb.
It's an absurd mischaracterization!"
~Laura Hillenbrand

October 10, 2008

Walking on Water

It's time I finally write this blog!!!! (and it's taken a week to get it done!)

I need to get this blog out because so many of you prayed for us and are waiting to hear how things went after the loss of Bill's Mom.

Secondly, I need to write this for myself - to remember and record what amazing things God has done for me! (especially for those hard days - it helps to go back and review the goodness and graciousness of God in my life!)

We had all been preparing and yet not really knowing how or when we would need to travel back down to California.

When Mom passed away Monday night, we quickly began making plans. We decided Bill and the kids would head out on Wed morning for the 11 hour drive. They arrived about dinner time on Wed. I stayed home, trying to carefully use one more day to rest. I would fly out Thursday morning and return Friday night.

I was hoping I would feel better, but instead, I felt worse on Wednesday. I sat in my recliner, with my PJ's on all day, trying hard not to cry (crying messes with my ANS system and makes me feel even worse). I knew I was so bad, that not even my special meds were going to make a big enough difference for me to survive the travel and all the energy I would need for all the "people time". I needed a miracle.

I have always enjoyed and identified with the disciple Peter in the Bible! His faith challenges me. But he also gets himself into trouble with his strong opinions, quick speech and his instant responses. It reminds me of myself.

But Jesus loves Peter and even calls him a "Rock" - a solid person, whom he can rely on. Jesus uses and refines these characteristics, that often got Peter into trouble, and turns them into useful strengths.

One such moment, was the night that Jesus needed some "alone" time, so he sent his disciples off in a boat ahead of him, to cross the lake. After his time of prayer and solitude, Jesus, walks across the lake to catch up and meet his disciples on the other side!
But they see him and begin to freak out thinking he's a ghost.
He calls out to reassure them, and Peter's instant response was "If it's really you, then tell me to come out of the boat and walk on the water with you!"

Jesus does! and Peter does!!! For a few seconds.... and then the reality of what he's doing gets the better of him and he looks down and begins to sink instead of having faith! But Jesus took his hand and lifted him up and they walk back, on the water, to the boat together!"

You don't know how many times, as a young child, I attempted to walk on water! I would run to the edge of the pool and see how many steps I could take before I sunk! What a silly sight I must have been!

But, last week, I walked on water!

Well, not literally - but the miracle I experienced was just as good! Read on!!!

Wednesday night, as I pulled myself to bed, I prayed for God's mercy to give me strength for the two days ahead - whatever that meant to Him. I put my hand in his as Peter did and I went to sleep, feeling a bit nervous, but also very peaceful. I had the best nights sleep I've had in months.

I awoke to my very early alarm at 6:00AM. (Now to fully appreciate this miracle, you must understand that, not only was I at my worst physically, on a normal morning I can't get out of bed until 9:00 at the very earliest and that's if my Sweetie has brought me tea and lots of fluids to drink! More often I'm in bed until 10 or even noon.)

I awoke feeling refreshed. (this never happens on a normal day) I got up and started the water for my pot of tea. When it was made I took the tray back to bed and spent an hour drinking a whole pot of tea for the fluids and then I took my extra meds. I was amazed how good I felt! An half hour later, when the meds should begin working, I took my shower, (it had been a week since I'd been able to wash and style my hair) got dressed and was fully ready to go when my ride arrived!

I took my wheelchair with me, but when I got there, I was going to miss my plane if I waited any longer for the airline to provide someone to push me. So, I put my bag in my chair and pushed it myself all the way to security. Then I sat and wheeled through security, then walked all the way to the gate! I got there just in time to get some coffee for breakfast and board the plane!!!

I was tired from the walk, but I thought, "Wow! Thank you God for such a miraculous beginning to a hard two days!" Little did I expect that he would hold my hand and we'd walk on water for the next 48 hours!!!

I could go on and on with details of each and every miracle I experienced. We had good times with Dad and sad times. We cried, we laughed... we gathered as a family and even enjoyed an early breakfast at an Austrian pastry restaurant just before the service on Friday.

Then, we all separated to do our last preparations before the service. The kids and I stopped by a florist (one I had delivered flowers for when I was in college) and I bought one blue Iris and one Yellow Rose. They wrapped them separately for me, and without knowing what they were for, they put pink tissue around the blue iris for me. I had bought it for Mom's graveside service. The yellow rose was for a High School friend, who is buried at the same cemetery. (a yellow rose for "Friendship Forever")

Then the kids and I headed to the church. The service was wonderful! We sang some of Mom's favorite hymns, three family members shared - Bill's oldest sister, one Grandson, one Son-in-Law and I had the pastor read a tribute I had written out. The service ended with a fully kilted Scotsman playing "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. We followed him out and then the rush of greetings came!

The best part of the whole greeting time was seeing our best friends, John and Lieschen. Lieschen and I have been friends since 6th grade and were roommates for 2 years in college. But as friends do, we had all become lazy and busy and lost touch. I just soaked in the warmth of their presence and, for me, it was one of the best parts of the day. (I think I stood up for over a half hour talking... You KNOW how miraculous this is for me - "walking on water")

Then the family headed to the graveside service. I was getting a bit tired and took hold of Dad's arm, and sat up in the front with him. On the other side of me was one of Mom's sisters, whom I've only met once, but we instantly connected and held hands through the service. (a very special piece of this miraculous day)

I left the blue iris wrapped in pink tissue on the casket as people began to leave for the meal that would be served back at the house. Then, Ellen and I began to search for Brent's grave. My memory did not serve me well in finding it, so I'm glad they had a map.

Brent was a good friend through High School. He challenged me in my tennis game and taught me a lot. He was my favorite TE for our HS football team. He was the first person my own age who would sit and talk for hours about deep spiritual things. His Dad became very special to me too - as the Young Life leader in our town. (we called him Papa-One-Kanobi... it was the original Star Wars era *smile*) One summer, Brent, my Uncle Ted (who is 10 mos older than me) and I had more Table tennis competitions than I can count. Brent died young. After serving four years in the airforce, he was studying at the ministry school in Texas, started by Melody Green in honor of her husband Keith Green. One night, there was a car crash near the school. Brent ran to help and in the dark, stepped on a downed power line. I look forward to seeing him in heaven... I bet he has a tennis court reserved for us! (*smile again*)

I found his marker - Daniel Brent Buchanan - and cleared the weeds from the stone, stuck the rose deep into the ground and thanked God for the memories and for the hope (knowledge and confidence) that I have that I will see him and his Parents again. (Bob and Nancy Buchanan,- his parents, died several years ago in a car accident) Then Ellen and I headed to the house for the family gathering.

The house was packed!!! Family, friends and relatives!!! I really enjoyed seeing my Nephew's baby son and another nephew's beautiful little girl, and a very special niece that I hadn't seen in a long time. It all whizzed by too fast and the next thing I knew, Chris and I were leaving to catch a flight home.

Chris flew home with me because he had an important Retreat that started Friday. He missed the bus, but two of the leaders waited behind to pick him up and take him to the retreat!

It took a bit of winding down before I could sleep that night, but once again I had a fantastic nights sleep and in the morning.... I awoke... and the miracle was over. I was back to my same sick self.

But somehow, it didn't matter. God had done more than I had asked or expected. I will always cherish the memory of those two days and all that they held.

I love my husband and I love his family - which is, and has been, for a long time - my family!

Thanks for letting me share this huge journey with you, in what is probably the longest blog I've written yet! *smile*

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.
For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
I Thessalonians 4:13-14