Monday, June 26, 2006

The Future

It was good to be back home with Nicole and Luella. It was a quiet and uneventful day, just what all of us needed. Given all she has and is facing, Nicole's spirits seemed good and her body seems to be taking those day by day incremental steps of healing. Tomorrow I will spend my first full day in my office since May 19. We really do have so much for which to be thankful. We were pointing out to Nikki how far she has come in the weeks since her accident and she jokingly said, "Maybe God does answer prayer after all." Yes, he does indeed!

Because it was a quiet day, I found myself reflecting on questions about the future. Will Nicole's recovery continue to be so positive? What will we learn about the injuries to her legs? Will she end up needing further surgery? What will happen with her legal case? Will she be adequately compensated for sufferring and loss? What will be the spiritual results of this travail for Nicole? How long will she be with us and needing care? How will she do when the process of physical therapy begins? Will she have any long-term physical limitations? How will she do when all of this is behind her and its time to get back up and running? And how will we do with balancing all of the responsibilities we must carry in the inbetween?

In the middle of the day I began to reflect on how difficulty propels you into the future. You would think that a moment of suffering and difficulty would so command your focus that you couldn't possibly think about anything else but the needs of the moment. But that is not what happens. Difficulty launches you into the future. It sends you out to worlds unknown to try to discover what does not yet exist and to understand what has not yet happened. And, although difficult to articulate, the way you suffer in the moment is affected by what you think the future may hold.

You see suffering is not unifaceted. Suffering always has three faces. In a moment of suffering you grieve what has happened, you suffer the pain of the moment, and you suffer the fears of the future. In fact, one of the hardest disciplines of suffering is to stay focused on the issues of the present.

Pray for Nicole and us tha we will not ask questions of the past and of the future that cannot be answered, that we will focused on the healing processes of present, and as we do, that we will recognize the daily grace that we are being given.


Blogger Beth said...

Hi Paul! My name is Beth and my husband and I live in Bel Air, Maryland and attend Chesapeake Community Church. We would like to get a care package together for Nicole and I wondered if you could answer some questions for me about the kinds of things that she likes. Could you email me at: Thanks so much.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

What a great thing to pray for, I won't forget you guys.

3:33 PM  
Blogger nina mc said...

Thanks so much for that gifted insight, Paul. It reminds me of Sara Groves' poetic lyrics in her song "Painting Pictures of Egypt" (Conversations album).

"I don’t want to leave here
I don’t want to stay
It feels like pinching to me either way
The places I long for the most
Are the places where I’ve been
They are calling after me like a long lost friend ...

I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt
Leaving out what it lacked
The future seems so hard
And I want to go back
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I've learned
And those roads closed off to me
While my back was turned."

The past cannot hold all of the valuable things that the Lord is teaching Nicole and your family through this difficult, difficult time. Thank you again for sharing it all with us.

5:31 AM  
Blogger Tim's friend said...

Dear Paul,
Thank you so much for writing this blog as you go through this difficult time with your daughter. I'm praying for Nicole, Luella, and you that you would feel God's presence and peace as you walk through this time. Our son Tim, an intern, ended his life on May 11th. We had come to see a pattern of bipolar in his life and were just waiting for him to finish exams and graduate so we could pursue help for him. I agree with suffering having several faces. In our case there's a fourth, what could have been done in the past to give us a different outcome? Your advice to stay focused on the moment is so right. I am choosing to believe that God will work even this great loss of ours to our good. He has given me Isaiah 26:3 to hold on to," You keep you in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in you." We are trusting God as we shepherd our 4 children ages 16 to 24 through this time and care for our 30 year old autistic son. Trust God as you walk through this painful time that He is both good and in control! Sandy

8:10 AM  

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