We are going through a very hard time. Brian, Chuck's son, has been living with us for 5 months following a psychological breakdown in Chicago. And everything has gone fairly well as we have become comfortable with each other's ways and grown into a family of 3. Not always easy, but my sense was that we were a "womb" for Brian as he was getting counseling and other help to build a life here in Columbus.
This weekend he had another breakdown and as I write this he is in the hospital waiting for a bed in the Psyche ward. And it has been challenging and very sad for all of us. And we have no idea what is ahead.
I write this in gratitude for the blessing of all the ways in which Chuck and I have been supported. This is what I am learning.
1. How important presence can be in a moment of trauma. We had to call 911 and paradmedics on Sunday afternoon and both Kacey and Marnie (who was physically sick) came to us. Marnie walked in and hugged Chuck and it got better for him. And they listened to the police and paramedics and heard what I could not hear in the midst of everything that was going on. Kacey drove to the hospital just to be with us and it helped so much just to have her there.
2. The value of prayer. I was so blessed on Monday to have scheduled a meeting with my spiritual director. She always prays as we begin our time together. As she spoke - not knowing any of what had happened - I felt a shift inside me as God became central in my focus and everything else just moved into place. Yesterday I saw the Movie "Inside Out" and it was like all of the emotions lined up in a healthy way. My morning prayers had my focus on "Immanuel" God with us. And always, just that thought can center me and bring peace.
3. The gift of counselors. On Monday I spoke to my spiritual director, a psychiatrist in the hospital, and Brian's counselor here in Columbus. All of them gave me needed information and comfort. I am learning that there is so much I don't know. Monday night Audrey came in from Tuscon and her experience as a chaplain has been invaluable. God continues to give me the people that I need.
4. The treasure of friendships. Yesterday a good friend "happened" to call me about a church matter. I had been sitting at lunch with the girls and feeling lost in my sadness. I left the restaurant and talked to her about our situation and her compassionate and faithful response lifted my spirits noticeably. I felt like a different person when I went back to the table. I have emailed and texted friends throughout this time and received caring emails and texts back. Every time it just provides one more piece of support.
5. The reality of light in the darkness and joy in the sadness. And right now the light and the joy is most evident in grandchildren. Addie is sleeping in my family room as I write this and she just makes me happy as do all of these beautiful children. We are laughing and waiting for Christmas at the same time we are crying and caring about Brian.
6. What it is like to live a day at a time. Because we are. I have no idea when Brian will get into the psyche unit, how long he will be there, and what is going to happen. I am not even specualating about the future because I cannot imagine it. What is it like to live a day at a time? Actually, it is freeing. Kind of surprising, really.
But this is what is clear - God is here. Immanuel.
Loving, supporting, guiding all of us.
And it is enough. Actually it is more than enough.
So, keep us all in prayer.