Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Good Times in Kankakee

I've got pictures to prove it:


(Carra, this is mostly for you, since you're not a facebooker:)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hospital Visit, parts 2 and 3

Saturday I visited again with the same lady I saw last week. She didn't look so good at first, but after a while of talking I was reassured to hear that the antibiotics had been effective and her infection was cleared up. She did seem a little depressed, though. Mostly, I think, she was frustrated - after all the other problems, now she was unable to walk. The nurse, tech, housekeeping, etc, were all in and out, and it was kind of hectic. Since I was short on time, but still wanted to visit, I asked her permission to come back the next day.
Sunday afternoon when I showed up, she was in a wheelchair and just about to wheel herself around the hallways. So I went for a "stroll" with her... We sat in the solarium and looked out at the river and had some small talk, some silence. Her mood improved a little - she was probably just glad to have company - but overall, she still seemed pretty melancholy. Next we walked all the available hallways on the floor (which wasn't much). Finally, we settled back into her room. I figured we had a pretty open visitor-patient relationship thus far, so I again started asking her some simple but serious questions. Have you been praying a lot? "Every single moment." Do you feel like God hears your prayers? "Sometimes." My heart ached at her plea: "I want to be healed now! My family needs me." I continued to sit with her in silence.
Then, it all started to come out. She said in a very desperate voice, "I just don't know what I did!" When I asked for clarification, she said, "I don't know what I did to deserve this." So I asked her if she thought God was punishing her. "Yeah... maybe." Then I asked if she thought God would punish her for something without telling her what it was. She quietly admitted, "But he did." So then I talked with her a little bit about God and punishment... how the Bible says God does discipline us, but as a father lovingly disciplines his children. Then I asked her about whether she thought God had forgiven her for whatever she did. She didn't seem too sure. Had she ever asked Him for forgivness? She said no. Would she like to? Yes. Did she want God's forgivness in general, for a bunch of things, or was it one particular thing that she did? It was one thing. A long time ago? Yes.
I offered to pray with her. She said she wanted to try it on her own, first, and then "if that doesn't work, maybe you can pray with me." I asked if she wanted to do it right then, or wait until she was alone. She wanted to wait until she was alone. So I told her I'd check back with her in a few days.
Sunday night at a concert, I bought a CD for her that I thought might encourage her (and help occupy some of her time spent in the hospital bed). A couple of people knew about my conversation with her that day, and we were praying for her. This is where I would have ended part two, and part three would have been the results of my next visit with her. But...
Tuesday morning I found out that she had died. Sometime Sunday night (so, within a few hours after our visit), she was found dead in her bed at the hospital. She was 42 years old. She had an 11-year-old son.
I'm still processing... all of this. I don't know yet about the funeral or anything. Today has been a sad and thoughtful day for me. A little sad for me, and thoughtful because I am somewhat distanced from the situation... But crushing, when I think of this lady and her family. Her life. Her questions about God. Her death. About all of these things... and what it is like for her family, I have no idea.