Wednesday, August 04, 2004

I See

I've mentioned before that most days when I sit down to write I have no specific topic in is different and I'm saying that as part of a longer disclaimer. Today I know what I'm going to write, but in the process of getting to my point it is going to appear somewhat egotistical. That's not my intent, so please bear with me.

I was described as "hot" the other day. This is not an adjective which readily rolls from the lips of people when they describe me. Lest I let that linger, allow me to quickly bring the remark into perspective by adding that it was Gordon, our pastor, who made that observation. Obviously, if for no other reason than to minimize the potential impact to Gordon's manliness, a bit more explanation is still necessary.

Gordon had come to the hospital to be with us during an especially difficult morning. Once we had passed through that morning's particular storm, I was preparing to leave and as I did so Gordon turned to Amy and said, "have you noticed how hot your husband is these days?" I understood this was meant as affirmation for me about my recent weight loss, but also Gordon was doing his pastoral best to make sure the mood remained light. In truth, "hot" is an extreme exaggeration, but had he said, "have you noticed your husband isn't so fat?", which is not something I would put past him; it wouldn't have had quite the impact.

The other day, I received an email from our eldest child, Tiffany, in which she mentioned she was praying for us and specifically that I would be able to "maintain that inexplicable composure that you're so good at."

I spoke with a close friend this morning, seeking his always wise counsel and during that conversation he said something to the effect that my "patience" was inspiring.

Earlier in the day I was stopped by one of my bosses at the office who inquired about Amy and then added he thought I was, as he put it, "stoic" in my ability to function at work with so many indefinites in our lives.

Our dear friend Kim - whom we're now forced to keep up with through her blog Goodnite Moon since she ran away to Mosquito Gulch, Oklahoma - left a comment to my post yesterday saying she is amazed at my "optimism".

Optimistic, patient, stoic, composed, and even hot - if you were to ask me to list 50 of my character traits, I honestly don't think one of those would be on the list. I don't see myself that way, although others obviously do...remember I've already conceded the hot comment has to be kept in context.

All this brings me to the point I wanted to make which as hard as it may be to believe, has little to do with me.

My point is about our friend, Rhonda. I wrote not too long ago about Rhonda being invaluable as Amy dealt with her pain and disillusionment at home, but I haven't mentioned that Rhonda has been at the hospital too. Every day and every night since Amy was readmitted last week, Rhonda has been there. She has explained to her family that she believes Amy needs her, her family has accepted that, and she has literally camped out in Amy's hardly comfortable hospital room. Rhonda knows I can't be there around the clock. She knows I have at times been worried sick and leaving Amy alone when she was having complications was only going to make everything worse. So Rhonda decided on her own to remain at Amy's side until things got better.

That was a huge commitment, especially since things have not progressed well and at times have gone very poorly. Still Rhonda has remained faithful and steadfast - providing a reassuring presence as much as anything.

It's been an enormous benefit to Amy to have someone there in the middle of the night when the pain has become unbearable, and it's been equally reassuring to me to know that Amy is not alone. I truly don't know what I would have done this week had Rhonda not made this decision.

I have tried to tell her how much it means to me. I choke up every time.

Rhonda is not a church-goer. I'm not certain she'd even define herself as a "Christian", but I look at Rhonda and see compassion without expectation. I see a faithful friendship which can not be rivaled. I see unconditional love and an honest desire to help Amy in every way possible.

I see things in Rhonda which I don't think Rhonda sees.

You see, I see Jesus...bright and clear.

I only pray that when Amy and I have overcome this latest hurdle, God will grant me the privilege to reflect that image back, so that Rhonda too will see Jesus within her as Amy and I do.