Thursday, June 10, 2004

Trish #9

Tonight before I went to the hospital, I called and asked the ICU nurse how Trish was doing. She said, "Trish is doing OK. She wanted to watch Dr. Phil."

"WHAT?" I asked.

"I just asked her if she wanted to watch television -- Dr. Phil was on --a nd she shook her head yes. So, I turned the TV on. She kept her eyes focused on it for a few minutes."
Amazing, isn't it? Dr. Phil puts me INTO a deep sleep. Today, Trish watched him to come OUT of a deep sleep.

Trish was not quite that responsive when I got to her room. She had gone back into her state of twighlight sleep. But she did squeeze my hand. She also squeezed my daughter's hand with her LEFT hand. It is obvious that she has regained more control over her left side today.

She is still very ill. She continues to need much prayer. The next four days should move her out of the most dangerous period though, and we will start focusing upon recovery.

I am becoming aware that there are hundreds, perhaps a few thousand now, reading these e-mails. I regret that I have nothing profound to say tonight. Well, except for maybe one thing: that sometimes the most spiritual thing that can happen to us is to receive the grace to rejoice in some ordinary, natural thing. "Natural" is good. We are made to be natural. Divine fireworks are not the norm in either time or in eternity.

God reveals his character through creation. When we look at creation, we see that he made the tides to rise and fall every day. He made birds fly North and then south again, every year. These and thousands of other parts of creation shows our Creator to be a God of patterns and rhythms. So he is a God of "natural" and "ordinary." We never get truly healthy (spiritually speaking,) until we stop craving "big" and "spectacular." We begin to find peace for our souls on the day we first see the grace shinning through ordinary things.

Think about this: God only made three kinds of creatures. He made angels, which are spiritual beings. He made animals, which are material beings. And he made humans, which are incarnational beings, that is to say creatures who are both spiritual and material. That is the way God made us; that is the way he intends for us to be. When forget our spiritual nature and try to be animals, we get into real trouble. Most people realize that this is true. However, many people don't realize that we get into just as much trouble when we try to be angels. God does not intend for us to be angels, in this world or in the next. He made us to be embodied creatures. He made us to desire to touch the stars. But he also made us to touch the earth. He made us to give and receive love. But he made us to express that love through material means. We never really understand spiritual reality unless and until we learn to see the spiritual significance in ordinary and material things. Otherwise, we live in abstraction and fantasy. Ordinary things root us to the realm we were made to live in and to enjoy -- the earth.

For most of these days of trial, I have focused upon spiritual reality. I have pondered unseen things. But tonight, I am mostly happy about Trish wanting to watch Dr. Phil! Hopefully, her taste will improve with therapy! She has had a brain trauma after all. But if she insists, it will be my joy to watch Dr. Phil with her if that is what she wants to do. I am quite ready to accept doing nothing more spectacular than sitting on the couch with Trish, watching Dr. Phil. ( I can't believe I am saying this!!) Sitting on the couch with my wife, holding her hand and just being grateful that she is here, is an ordinary thing that I have failed to appreciate enough. I have always been driven to "make time count," to be productive -- all that nonsense. Tonight, I just hunger for "ordinary" and "mundane."

Well, my friends, that's my thought for the day. It is night. It is time for rest. He who never sleeps and never slumbers will watch over us all, saint and sinner alike, as our physical bodies enjoy their daily Sabbath. So let us give thanks to our God who "gives his beloved sleep." Though most of the time, sleep is nothing to "write home about," just one of those natural and ordinary things that happen, the scriptures tell us that our Heavenly Father gives us the gift of sleep each night. It is a most extraordinary, ordinary thing.

Holy God, give MY beloved sleep tonight. Keep her safe until the night that I can hold her once again in my arms. I know that someday you will call for one of us. When you do, we will submit in peace to your will.

But not yet, Lord. Not yet.

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