September 3, 2015
Yellow school buses lumbering down the streets.
Bright orange summer towels (almost-)stored away in closets and cabinets.
Purple jerseys pulled out in anticipation of the last Ravens pre-season game (tonight!) and the first game of the regular season (a week from Sunday, same as our Parish Picnic and Sunday School kick-off!).
Tell-tale colors and signs, like markers and cones on a sports field, of where we are in the calendar year and what season we find ourselves in our lives.
But what happens when an event occurs that completely disorients us? When something or someone we took for granted would always be “so” and was always a “given” is no longer? So that everything we thought we knew or could count on is shaken and flung away, like sand from a beach towel? And we can’t tell up from down, right from left, where we are, much less where we might go?
Last night putting my 7-year-old son Ben to bed, I kissed him, and his toes, goodnight as I often do. And I thought of a former neighbor of mine, Louise, who writes about kissing the toes of her 17-year-old son, Archer. Many of you in the community who know and love the Senfts have been praying for them ever since Archer, in a freak swimming accident last month, broke his neck and became paralyzed. After a month in ICU, Louise and Archer are being flown this morning to Shepherd Center in Atlanta, the premier rehab center in the world for spinal cord injuries.
As they fly, they leave behind them a grueling month of pain and uncertainty. The road before them is equally unsure. But as I have been reading at night, in the quiet dark of my room, the blog Louise writes to keep family and friends updated, what shines through, literally and figuratively, is the light of her faith in God and the love with which this tragic, unmooring accident is steeped — faith and love that seep into the crevices of sorrow and heartbreak, transforming this tragedy into a life-giving event, regardless of the “final” outcome.
A few nights ago, Louise wrote the words below. I share this excerpt from her blog with a fountain of questions flowing from my own heart: When everything falls apart, when everything certain is shaken, what is your anchor? Where is your foundation? Could you, could I, like Louise, witness with such faith, hope and love? Faith, hope and love that can transform a teenager’s ICU room into a sacred sanctuary? That can move mountains? That can transform our beleaguered city of Baltimore? The Lord we believe in conquers hatred, fear, even death, yes, even death. As his followers in the 21st century, may we through our own lives proclaim this Good News as faithfully as Louise:
Amidst all the fever and chills, Archer summoned me in a quiet period with his clicking sound he makes with his mouth … he’s so clever that he figured this out as it’s the only sound he can make …. he mouthed to me to watch his left foot …. In the semi darkness of the room lit by the numerous glowing electric monitors, I watched intensely.
Nothing. He opened his eyes. I told him to try again. He closed his eyes and did. Still Nothing. He opened his eyes. He nodded acknowledgment about the nothing. I lifted his left foot and massaged his toes and kissed each one and told him, In time, Arch …. It’s all in God’s time … I let him be, I checked the monitor readings and crawled back under my 4 blankets and wrapped my head in another …
Then I felt my hot tears again. I know he will walk again. I just know it. It might not be until he walks into Heaven. But he will walk.
And, as for our time on earth, we believe in miracles. We just don’t know what they’ll look like or when they will happen. But it can happen. God’s time.
For those who would like to read more of Louise’s writing and follow and pray for the Senfts, click here: http://www.beingrelational.com/archer-senft-updates-2015/