- The Sun
A close relative of mine is hospitalized. It’s one of those horrid encounters where something small becomes more and more serious. It’s a tough week of ICU and “let’s watch and see,” comments from the doctors. Things improve then his blood pressure dips. Blood pressure improves then his fever spikes.
He’s middle aged, a father, a successful man, but here he lays on a bed of ice, hooked to machines and gazed upon by the stern countenance of wary doctors.
He turns the corner and a wash of relief floods the family. As quickly as it starts, it finishes and his wife sends us a pic of him snowblowing the sidewalk the next day as if to say, everything is back to normal!
But a change occurs.
I see him at a family function. I’m on the couch and he stands in front of me.
“I went outside today and just stood in the sun and let it warm me. I’ve never done that before in my whole life.”
He looks a bit nostalgic as he says it, maybe for the years lost not enjoying the simple embrace of our life giving star, maybe just a longing for the feeling it gave him that day.
But when he looks at me I see happiness.
The start of March Madness brings with it a slew of bloody noses in my house. Not a day goes by without one of my sons standing in the kitchen, hands out wide, leaning over the floor saying, “Uh, dad, I have a bloody nose.”
My days on the rugby pitch and the wrestling mat have made me adept at nostril-plugging and the crisis is usually averted within a minute or two.
One night, my youngest goes to bed, but I let the oldest stay up to watch the Sweet 16. We sit in the tv room yelling at the screen and oohing at long three pointers. Amidst the clamor of the game the baby steps down off the stairs. He’s crying with a bloody nose. We rush to him and clean him up but he is inconsolable. He says he’s knees hurt between sobs. Maybe it’s a growth spurt or he’s over tired, or maybe he just feels left out of the excitement.
I kiss his head and say, “Why don’t you watch with us for a little bit?” He nods and sniffles.
“I want Michael.”
His brother perks up and lifts up the blanket next to him. Benny scrambles underneath and cuddles with him. Mike wraps an arm around him and tells him how he hates bloody noses. He pats his head and just sits with him.
He’s asleep in minutes. Safe and comforted.
I buy a suit. I’m dreading the process. The sales people are high pressure and the tailor gives a few too many “hhhm”s for my liking, but thirty minutes later I’m swiping my card.
I feel good when I leave.
I’m not sure it’s a real epiphany. There are so many decisions I feel I have to make, I often feel paralyzed. “What if…” dominates my mind and makes me second guess everything.
I have reached the point where I say, “Enough.”
Apply for the job. Do the workout. Start the diet. Read the book. Buy the suit. Do something.
As I renew my faith I’m struck by this idea of direction. Forgiving others, forgiving ourselves, helping others, accepting help, letting go of fear, loving more freely and openly,…all of these simple yet life changing actions require direction. A step away from what we hold onto so tightly.
God’s path is winding and long.
But the direction is forward.
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