As I write this, I’m sitting in a hospital, waiting for my dad to come out of a 6 hour open heart surgery. As nervous as my mom and my siblings and I are, we are all so relieved that Dad is getting some help for the intense health issues he has been dealing with for the last few years. But…now we wait. None of us slept much last night (except for Dad, who is the least nervous of all of us!), but despite our exhaustion, none of us can fall into a restful sleep while we wait. Given my propensity for screaming nightmares, the ICU waiting area might not be a good venue for deep sleep anyway.
The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. I drove to my parents’ house and then to the hospital with them for Dad’s heart cath, which identified the issues that this open heart surgery will correct. Almost before Dad was out of recovery, I had to jump on a plane to fly to Vancouver for a work event. On my way home, I stopped back in to visit Dad in the hospital and then went home to my kiddos and husband. That weekend, my husband and I headed to my parents’ house again with my siblings to help get some things done outside that Dad is unable to do. If you’ve never used a wood chipper for 5 hours, jamming the last branch into the feeder LONG after the sun has gone down, well—you just haven’t lived, my friend.
Immediately after our lumberjacking weekend, we went home and I had to start prepping for my own lesser medical evil—my bi-annual “Hey, let’s look at your screwed up insides!” colonoscopy. Colonoscopies take a lot out of me. Wait. Colonoscopies are extremely draining. Argh! Okay—colonoscopies are just downright unpleasant and inconvenient. My insides are such fastidious little jerks these days. I am still being punished for the injustice they have perceived this week. The day after my probing, it was back in the car for four hours to come up to the hospital again—but not before we squeezed in a work day, one gymnastics class, a vet trip, and two Halloween parties. Today is October 31st, and I’ve promised the kiddos that I will do my very best to make it home in time to take them trick-or-treating, assuming that Dad is okay. We aren’t allowed to see him for longer than 2 minutes, and I don’t function very well in “hurry up and wait” conditions. Plus, in times of emotional distress, I crave the sweet hugs and comfort of being with my kids and husband. That makes the thought of another four hours in the car bearable for sure.
I am driving my husband’s car so that he can shuttle the five kids around in my mom-mobile while I’m gone, poor guy. On the drive up here last week, his car politely flashed a sweet little alarm that said “rest reminder” on the dashboard display, along with the image of a tree. I suppose the idea is that I would pull over, find an inviting little tree, kick my legs out and take a nap? Clearly this car was not built for busy mothers. I steadfastly hit the “ignore” button and forged ahead, wryly smiling at the naiveté of the car thinking that there are still women in the world who rest.
The physical strain of the last couple of weeks has hit all of us pretty hard in our immediate and extended families. While rest for our bodies isn’t an option, rest for our spirits is within reach no matter what is happening at the time. The solitude of many hours of business travel and the hours of driving alone, while worrying about my dad and the harried schedule we’re surviving, has given me the chance to seek reassurance from my Heavenly Father. When my fearful, weary brain just wouldn’t shut up, one verse popped into my head over and over again: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11: 28-29) Oh, man. Rest for our souls. That is exactly what we need, isn’t it? Can’t you just picture your spirit, stretched out under a shady tree, and at perfect rest? That’s what God wants for us and what He gives us. We just forget to ask sometimes. Or I do, anyway.
Dad should be coming out of surgery any minute, and while he won’t know we’re there in the 2 minutes that we get to see him, we’ll sure be thrilled to see him! I know our hectic pace isn’t unique to our family, and you are likely experiencing your own version of it right now–or worse. I pray that you find your own “happy little tree” of rest in the midst of your chaos. Feel free to reach out if I can pray for a specific need, and I would appreciate your prayers for my sweet dad.
Consider this your “rest reminder.” : )
**UPDATE: Dad is out of surgery and we got to see him for our allotted 2 minutes. He had a pretty serious close call during the surgery, but his medical staff is simply amazing, and the prayers of all who love him so much were definitely heard. Our family has so much to be thankful for!