During my twenties my parents used to joke that I would always have a crisis when they were on vacation. When I was single, that certainly seemed to be the case. Whenever they were out of the country, out of cell phone range, or generally out of reach, I would become sick with a parasite, or go through a horrible break-up, or experience some other emotional trauma.
Fortunately for them, the “curse” seems to have been transferred to my husband. This past weekend Ike went to North Carolina for a wedding, leaving me to care for Isaac alone. What’s ironic is that I was not anxious about the weekend at all. Since Isaac’s birth Ike has gone out of town before, but this was the first time I felt totally confident about my care-giving abilities. I even looked forward to the quiet evenings alone after my son had gone to bed.
Well, those quiet evenings were not meant to be. Approximately 5 hours after Ike’s plane took off, I was calling 911.
Just before I put my son to bed, I developed severe abdominal pains. It felt like labor pains but I knew I wasn’t pregnant; something else was wrong. I called my neighbor, who is also in my small group, and she was there in minutes. She called 911, and soon after I was riding in an ambulance to the hospital.
Today I am home and I feel nearly fine, but we’re still not sure what happened. In the past few days I have learned that bum gallbladders run in my family, and my gallbladder appears to be the culprit. Apparently “gallbladder attacks” are a thing. I’ll find out more this week when I see a specialist.
In the mean time, I thought I would share two lessons from the whole experience:
1. Single parents are heroes
(That goes for military spouses, or any other parent who largely parents alone!). As I lay on the floor writhing in pain, I had no idea what to do with my son. I knew I needed to go to the hospital, but who would watch him? For anyone who has experienced this dilemma, you know it is a terrible one.
Parenting alone is already a challenge, but emergencies can accentuate the vulnerability. You parents out there who persevere through it all, you are champions!
2. I need my church.
I am so grateful for the paramedics who took me to the hospital (Dave and Jeremy, you rock!) and the doctors and nurses who cared for me in the hospital. They are lifesavers in the most literal sense. But I am equally grateful for my church family, who took care of me and Isaac and absolutely saved the day.
As I mentioned, my neighbor came over in a FLASH, called 911, and met me at the hospital afterwards. She stayed with me the entire time, and drove me home when I was discharged. Her husband and her sons’ girlfriends took care of Isaac so that I didn’t have to worry about him for a second. The next day, they dropped by to see how I was doing.
I don’t know what I would have done without them. Not only were they there for me, but I never once felt like I was imposing on them. I knew they loved me and were happy to help because I know how much they love Jesus. Their generosity was an amazing gift.
If you ever read Christian blogs–or the news–you are likely to hear some critiques of the church. I have written some myself. To be sure, the church has its shortcomings because it is populated by broken people.
But there is a lot the church is doing right–little acts of kindness and love, quiet sacrifices of service, and provision for those in need. Most of these mercies transpire without any fanfare– my neighbors’ benevolence will never make the news. But these little acts of love happen every day in the church, and the beneficiaries are profoundly blessed by them.
So today I write in praise of the church, the beautiful Bride of Christ. As the hands and feet of Jesus in the world, the church is a servant, a rescuer, and a means of grace. The church is our hope and our refuge. The church is a light and a witness. And for many of us who live far from relatives, the church is our family.
I am so grateful for my neighbors, and I am grateful for the church that connected us. Through the church, God’s mighty ways manifest as thousands of tiny goodnesses each day. This weekend reminded me of that good news, that the church is not just a building, or even a group of people; the church is the Bride of Christ, and she is a rescuer.
How about you? How has the church rescued you?