Sunday, July 3, 2016

Great mercies

And I get turned around
And I mistake my happiness for blessing
And I'm blessed as the poor
Still I judge success by how I'm dressing

-Caedmon's Call, "Faith My Eyes"

Last year it was a major victory to climb this lighthouse.  I'm glad to say it was much easier this year, what with full use of my legs and all.  It's still a lot of steps.  We were still sweating when we reached the top.  And approximately 1.2 minutes after we reached the top, Lizzy told me she was bored and Caleb told me he had to go potty.  At which point Jason snapped this picture.

We made it home via a looooong car ride which included a whole lot of squabbling, a fair amount of screaming, and liberal complaining; but no vomiting, however, so we'll call that a resounding success.  We have it down to an art now:  line 'em all up and stick a spoonful of Dramamine and sugar in each mouth.  Repeat at the halfway point.  Follow with candy if necessary.

Cartoons at the end of a long hard day of beaching.

This being our first return to Hilton Head since I've fully recovered from Lyme, I'm naturally inclined to reflection on these last two trips.

Caleb went around the table and wrote down everyone's orders.  "What you want?"  Scribble, scribble.  "What you want?"  Scribble, scribble.

Here he comes to Grandma, who ordered crab cakes.  He informed her she wasn't allowed to have that yet, because "that's dessert."

This year I made dinner for 15 one night.  I dove in the water.  I biked seven miles for kicks one day.  I wore 4-inch wedges.  I carried my fair share of beach toys.

Last year we carried a handicapped parking tag.  I couldn't put on/take off my shoes.  I couldn't feel the sand with my fingertips.  I lagged behind on beach walks.  And that was when I was dramatically better.

A few weeks before the beach last year, all I could do was lie on the couch.  Jason would help me into the shower in the morning and wash my hair for me, then help me down the stairs.  He would deposit me on the couch for the day and the first of three shifts of helpers would arrive in time for him to go to work.

The helpers would take care of the kids all day and provide food for our family.  I myself could only eat a few bites because my jaw was too weak to keep chewing.  Because of my weakness, vision problems, and lack of fine motor control, I couldn't read, I couldn't type, I couldn't text, I couldn't watch videos, I couldn't hold a pencil.  There was, in fact, very little at all I could do.

Often the helpers had the kids out in the park to play, so I lay alone, gazing out the window (rejoicing that we went with the extra-large kitchen window, which was directly in my view from the couch).  The helplessness, and the pain in my head and neck and shoulders, reminded me constantly of those who suffer much worse than I, and with very few other options, I spent a lot of time in prayer.

Lying still, looking at the window, and praying.


This year, praise God, I'm healthy.  I could fully participate in every pleasure the beach offers.  If I lay on the couch, it was out of laziness and leisure.  I ate enough to gain several pounds.

There was very much besides prayer that I could do.  So I spent the time indulging in pleasure, not so much feeding my soul.

The kindness of God's providence is clear to me in both the relief of restored health, and perhaps especially in the desperation of need.  I know which one I prefer, but which is the better blessing?

There is no greater mercy that I know of on earth than good health except it be sickness; and that has often been a greater mercy to me than health.

It is a good thing to be without a trouble; but it is a better thing to have a trouble, and know how to get grace enough to bear it.  I am not so much afraid of the devil when he roars, as I am when he pretends to go to sleep.  I think that, oftentimes, a roaring devil keeps us awake; and the troubles of this life stir us up to go to God in prayer, and that which looks to us ill turns to our good.

-Charles Spurgeon, "The Simplicity and Sublimity of Salvation"

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