Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Aches, Tears & Questions

I lost my first patient. So as to not break the bonds of confidentiality, she will remain Nameless, however, though I am not able to label her in this piece, it does not mean her life did not have a profound impact on my own.

Nameless was always ready to greet me when I came trudging through the sliding glass doors of the dialysis center. Her greeting would never change: "How's it going kiddo?" Or there were times she came knocking on the little window peering into my office saying: "I need to speak with Holly," with a tone of urgency in her voice. Hearing this, I would rush out to see how I might assist, and as I approached she would flash this huge smile and say, "I just wanted to see how you were doing kiddo...." Being the sarcastic that I am I would reply, "HEY!! You scared me! Next time just say: I wanna hang with Holly," and we would both giggle.

Yes she was a crack up. Out of my entire caseload, Nameless was the one my heart related to the most. She has Spina bifida you see, along with many other medical complications, so we would talk crutches, wheelchairs, walkers... past, present and future challenges... and relate on a level neither of us had experienced much in the past.

When I heard the news, I felt my heart fall below the earth. It didn't seem real. I felt that I would still see her come wheeling into the center that night with her spikey orange hair (used to scare her momma) and that humongous smile... but she never came.

Nameless lived in a Nursing Home, and so often I felt those 'questions' to get me out to the lobby every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, were just ploys to have some fellowship, some laughs, and some love.

My heart is broken honestly. My patient lived a difficult life, endured a heavy cross and passed on from all of this alone in her room.... and being human I began to buckle... I began to wonder if I would travel the same road some day.

With these concerns spinning in my head I went home, crawled into bed in hopes of sleeping off all of the pain I was feeling. In the wee hours, I heard my phone signal I had a new email. The message was informing me that my favorite biblical teacher, Matt Chandler, has been diagnosed with a small mass on his front lobe and endured a seizure just the week before.

Again... this can't be real. I went back to sleep and dreamt of Nameless and I sitting in The Village Church listening and being encouraged by Matt.... he cracked jokes, and Nameless laughed awkwardly loud as I looked over and smiled at her.... then I woke up to the reality that Nameless is gone, Matt is not preaching right now... and I'm not home in Dallas.

With all of these difficult occurrences to process, I only felt more and more issues begin to boil over as I shlepped around the apartment in my nightgown and socks. I signed on to Facebook to distract, but couldn't focus. My questions were becoming too much...

"Why did Nameless have to endure that life? Why do I? Why has this happened to one of the most anointed pastors I have ever known? Why has God led me to a desert to deal with all of this? Why am I alone? Why am I single? Why can't I have a family? Why is my spine broken? Why do I feel completely abandoned? Why Lord, WHY???"

I felt overwhelmed and lost. The aches were too heavy, I had no one to answer me, no one to hold me, no one to catch me as I collapsed to the floor in tears and pain. I felt so alone. Then anger came rushing in. I was mad because my pain seemed to go into the oblivion, with no husband, no friends, no parents or sisters to tell me it was going to be OK. So I buckled under the weight of this cross, and sadness of others.

I cried for Nameless. I cried for her family. I cried for Matt Chandler and his family. I cried for The Village Church. I cried for my anger, my confusion, my frustration, and my loneliness. I cried and cried and cried. Forever it seemed like.

Then an IM: "Holly Bell!!!" Amie exclaimed. Immediately I poured it out onto my so very strong sister in Christ. She waited out my questions, my fears, my hate, my hurt, my frustration - only to love me in the midst and speak life back into my pain.

Through my sobs I was able to converse with Amie and be honest with her. With tears streaming, and my nose completely closed up - I asked the Lord if He was here. Stepped back from the computer and collapsed again. I asked if He couldn't answer all of my 'why's', would He please just guide me in this day. I thought to myself: should I go to work and 'game face it', or should I stay, rest and recover from all the buckling and hits to the floor....

Then IM's again: "Holly. You are not alone." More sweet statements of truth and love in between and then, "Maybe you should take this day to rest."


Amie didn't know what I was doing on the other side of the country... she lives up north. She had no clue I fell to the ground and cried out to our Lord to save me... to answer me.

Again, I read the words over and over. This can't be real. The answers, SO clear. So insanely clear that it made my soul buckle this time, under the Majesty, Power and Love of the God of all... our aches, tears and questions.

This post is dedicated in loving memory of Nameless. May her spikey hair and huge smile be the sweetest addition to heaven.

It is dedicated to the love and respect of Reverend Matt Chandler. May the tumor disappear as though it never existed and Christ be praised.

It is dedicated to every lonely heart. To everyone who feels they have no one to catch them when they collapse.

It is dedicated to my dearest friend (and neighbor ;)) Amie, who speaks nothing but the truth, power and love of Christ. May her skills and wisdom be used to glorify Him forever.

And finally, it is dedicated to my Lord, Jesus Christ. The One Who loves the lunatics ;), the One who stays silent and loud in the same moment, the One who catches me when I fall... the Love of my life, the Lord of all my questions.


sherry gail said...

Dear Holly,

I have a 2 1/2 year old grandaughter with spina bifida. She has been our little miracle baby from day one. My daughter is the one who told me about your website. I just read your blog titled, "Aches, Tears, & Questions, and it was beautiful and heartwrenching at the same time. I will keep you in my daily prayers from this day on. Sherry

sherry gail said...

Dear Holly,

I have a 2 1/2 year old grandaughter with spina bifida. She has been our little miracle baby from day one. My daughter is the one who told me about your website. I just read your blog titled, "Aches, Tears, & Questions, and it was beautiful and heartwrenching at the same time. I will keep you in my daily prayers from this day on. Sherry

Larry said...

When I read you, I am reminded that God loves me. I'm very sorry you lost un-named. She would say that you strengthened her life and that she was much the better person when she left your office.
Your words continue to move this old linebacker/contractor,,,to action.
grateful for you,
Larry LaTour
aka,Limping Tiger

Jessica said...

Holly, Thanks for your post. It was encouraging!! I'm sorry for the loss of nameless. I will be praying for you!!

Joe in Camarillo said...

Hi Holly,

Are you here to give me hope? I don't know, but you do.

Are you here to give me courage? I don't know, but you do.

Are you here to show me how to endure? I don't know, but you do.


Lori Laws said...

Beautiful, Holly. Because of the cross you bear, God has made you to be a voice shouting in the wilderness, and your voice speaks volumes of the faithfulness and goodness of God.

It's awesome when we get direct messages from our Savior, isn't it?

Keep writing and inspiring. I know that God will always see to it that you also get encouragement that will refresh your soul when it gets dry. God bless!

Holly said...

Sherry Gail - thank you so much for your sweet words of encouragement. I love to hear how my life ramblings reach the hearts of people who understand what it means to live with a disability. My love to you and your family this Christmas season.

Larry Latour - SO GOOD to hear from you my friend. I hope you're doing well... Merry Christmas! xoxo

Jess - thank you for the prayers sweetheart. I hope you're enjoying your holiday break.

Joe - your comment encouraged me more than you know. Thank you for telling me.

Lori - I LOVE your writings as well, my friend. Thank you so much for your encouragement - I feel amazed at how the sovereign Lord brings about all of us in our brokenness, to love and edify one another. Merry Christmas.

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