Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Several years ago my husband got very sick. He was in the hospital for a week, came home to recuperate only to wind up back in the hospital 5 days later. After another week stay he came back home for a few days. By this point he had lost 40 pounds in 3 weeks and we were both getting scared.
We had a 5 year old getting ready to start school and a one year old. Clyde had just finished graduate school and had only been working 5 weeks when he got sick. Then a surgeon friend made arrangements for him to see a specialist at a bigger hospital. He was there for a week as well.
During that time, I started having an irregular heartbeat and was worried I was having a heart attack. It was also the week that Garrett started Kindergarten.
To top it all off, I got a ticket for running a stop sign (which, I still don't think I did, the cop was there all week giving tickets). But I had been up most of the night with my one year old who was teething and at the hospital all morning for a test that was supposed to take an hour and going in to 3 hours I knew the news wasn't good.
I will never forget an experience I had that week. I was strapped up to a mobile heart monitor that was hidden under my clothes which I had to wear nonstop for 24 hours. I was pushing my cart through the store with my 2 little boys, short of breath, worried about my husband who was now 2 hours away, getting some food and some school supplies and wondering how we were going to pay for all this. As I was pushing my cart and feeling very burdened, I looked up and noticed people all around me doing their everyday things as well.
But suddenly, that man reaching for the milk may be a man who just lost his wife. And the young woman yelling at her kids may have been single, tired from work and worried about finances. What about the lady in line who is staring at the wall? Did she just get a cancer diagnosis? What about that very happy young couple, did they just get engaged?
There were people all around me doing their everyday things, but I could not see what was going on in their lives any more than they could see what was going on in mine.
We survived that time in our lives. My husband got diagnosed with Crohn's disease and we have learned to adjust to new eating issues. I got my heart diagnosis and know what symptoms will always be there and which ones are a problem. It seems like a lifetime ago, but I hope what I learned from it will stay with me forever.
We will never know what is going on behind the faces of those around us, happy or sad. Sometimes we need to just cut people a little slack.
Sometimes we just need grace.