It was late, and a long day. My husband was in the hospital…again…another needed procedure following a serious fall. Our six children were thankfully asleep… all was quiet when I returned home alone. As I entered our bedroom, there in my husband’s rented hospital bed, snuggled our 7-year-old son. With the bed’s remote button, he had adjusted the head and foot to fold up tightly so that he was nestled deep in the center’s fold.
Sleeping soundly, this young boy was as near his Dad as he could get. Here, he found comfort snuggled in tightly; to cuddle, to smell, to sleep, to imagine all he could manage by being as close as he could to his father.
Leaning against the door frame, I just gazed on that treasured scene of our youngest son. A peacefulness in that hour of quiet darkness. I pondered all the events leading to this moment.
It was just a few weeks earlier, when my husband was outside preparing a large picture window for the winter. This particular chore required a ladder, a wooden relic from his grandfather’s storage. Standing on the 7-foot stepladder over the paved driveway, my husband did his work. With tools in hand, he turned to adjust his balance. Suddenly, the contraption collapsed beneath him, landing my husband hard on the pavement.
Stunned, he lay there thinking the wind was knocked out of him. In only moments he experienced piercing pain running through his body with each effort to move. It was apparent an emergency vehicle was needed. Sirens, paramedics, and neighbors arrived. Gingerly, my husband was lifted into the ambulance and our lives were altered that September afternoon.
Within hours we learned his pelvis had been broken six inches nearly clear through the bone. It was like moving in slow motion those first hours. Not being able to relieve my husband’s pain, trying to understand the doctors and their instructions, I was caught in the moment by moment crisis as it unfolded. He was soon scheduled for surgery. What followed, eventually, would be weeks of therapy and two additional, unexpected, hospital stays.
Penning my thoughts in a journal, my recordings gave me pause. I was struck by the community surrounding us who immediately mobilized upon learning of the accident. Along with friends, family and people we hardly knew, each began to call our home, offering any assistance. The first call was from a woman I barely knew from our church – an Occupational Therapist – she offered to help bring my husband home from the hospital. Someone else came to finish the window job that was abruptly interrupted. Another adjusted our shower and tub so he could get in and out with little effort. A dear friend took me for a drive when the house became crowded with the steady flow of visitors. Meals and special outings for the kids were God-sends. Cash gifts and dinners amazed us as they came at the “perfect” time. The answering machine was always full with messages. I was overwhelmed to respond to each one. God had comforted before I even knew to ask.
One night my husband was having an especially rough time, so I moved to the living room couch. As I dozed on and off throughout the wee hours of the morning, I heard a car slowly drive up in front of the house. “It must be the paper,” I thought to myself, rolling over attempting to go back to sleep. But, then, I heard a car door shut, and the sound of footsteps coming up our porch. It was still dark, and I lay there, listening as the metal mailbox lid opened and something dropped in.
Deciding to wait till my husband was awake, we retrieved a blank envelope from the mailbox later that morning. The significance of what we found was humbling. Enclosed in the envelope was a cash gift.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it… It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, and to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. ~ Psalm 127”
I treasure that image of our young son, snuggled tightly in his dad’s bed.
Our Abba Father held us steady. When we were beyond fatigue, He provided the quiet for extra rest. When we were angry, He showed wisdom behind hard decisions. Where it didn’t seem we could squeeze one more ounce of hospitality for visitors, He gave grace. Where we worried how to make the next house payment, He supplied our very need.
What blessings have you experienced when you weren’t looking? Share your story in the comments.