I was very glad this weekend was Easter weekend. It’s been a weekend full of reminders of God’s love and grace. Those reminders came in very handy as we had a very challenging weekend. Between emergency trips to the hardware store, the hospital, and my parents’ laundry room, it’s been good to have constant reminders that God loves me, and is there even when things don’t go as I’d have hoped.
I missed the Good Friday service this year, as I was working. I determined to spend that evening trying to be more prayerful and meditative to make up for it. I definitely followed through on that as the weekend started falling apart.
The first thing to fall apart was one of the hinges on the door to James’ change table. I prayed as I crawled around the floor finding screws and pins and springs, hoping I got them all before James got in there and swallowed any pieces I might have missed. An answer to prayer, he happily played elsewhere, and I think I got all the pieces.
Putting that problem on hold for the moment, we decided to go for a walk, and maybe even to the park. Shortly before we left, James seemed to be in some distress. Grandma came over to drive us to the park, and instead drove us to the hospital. Things in the hospital were moving slowly, James was a bit squirmy, and mommy was trying not to panic. So the praying picked up again. An answer to prayer, James stayed fairly content as grandma and mommy took turns walking him around the waiting room for a couple of hours before we got called into the examination room. Then, as we waited for another hour to a see the doctor, James was content to sit on the bed and giggle at the antics of the two sisters waiting in the exam room across the hall. Another answer to prayer, after two minutes of examining James, the doctor gave a few simple suggestions and told us he’d be fine.
We picked up grandpa, got dinner out at Burger King (where a nice employee gave James a toy that he happily banged on the table) and had James in bed by nine. That wasn’t ideal, but in answer to Jon’s prayer, that meant James slept in, so Jon didn’t have to be up late after working afternoons and then up early with our typically early riser. It worked out, I suppose, though it was a trying day.
The next day started with me getting up late, and not being able to find my visor for work. I looked everywhere. I couldn’t find it. I got to work barely on time after my frantic, prayer-filled, apparently not-so-thorough search, and asked if there was an extra hat in the office I could borrow. I was told there was. Yay! But there wasn’t. Rats. Resume the praying. One of the girls on the night shift graciously let me borrow her hat for the day. An answer to prayer, and a reminder that God’s had eternity to arrange things I’ve only just encountered. Maybe it doesn’t seem like much in the big picture, but having someone on shift before me willing to lend me a hat seems to me like God moving pieces into place, knowing I’d need the help.
I was determined to keep with my resolution to be more prayerful and meditative this weekend, especially in light of a smoother than anticipated hospital visit, and a miracle hat, and I made it through work in a fair state of mind, all things considered.
Shortly after arriving home, Jon informed me that James had been ill that morning, but had improved throughout the day. I was worried he’d picked up some horrible hospital bug after our evening there the night before, but since he seemed okay at the moment, we figured he’d gotten over it.
We went out that afternoon and found almost identical hinges to the one that had crumbled earlier, which Jon attached to the door while I kept James occupied in a bath. By the time we had done our errands, and chores at home, I was thinking we’d made it through the worst of the weekend. I had to bake biscuits for Easter dinner, but after that I was ready to have a restful night, a meaningful service in the morning, and a family dinner in the afternoon. The only hiccup ahead was finding time to Skype with the out-of-town relatives.
The praying resumed in the morning, when I went to get James from his crib and found him standing in a puddle of what had been last night’s dinner. I sent him off to wake up daddy while I scrubbed the crib, the floor, the teddy bear. Then I got to scrub our bed too, as James had apparently not finished getting rid of whatever was bothering his stomach. We hummed and hawed about what to do, as I was supposed to sing at church, but James seemed unwell. We figured we’d give it a bit more time before deciding. James seemed sleepy, so we thought we’d make the call after a nap. Nap time was interrupted as we heard unpleasant sounds from the nursery, grabbed James and held him over the sink for while, then decided it was time to go back to the hospital.
Sitting in the waiting room, watching ambulance after ambulance come in, I was again praying for a content baby, a quick diagnosis, the correct treatment, and to just make it through the weekend, because it looked like Easter dinner, whether we were out of the hospital by then or not, was just not happening.
We got called into the exam room faster than on Friday, and James was fussy but not overly squirmy, so that was okay. He clung to me until he threw up in my hair and all over my coat. Then he wanted to lie down quietly. I had prayed for a contented baby, so that prayer was answered. I was trying to focus on that rather than on the smell of my hair.
The doctor saw us promptly and gave him some medicine. At this point, the major concern was dehydration. If we could get his tummy to settle, and get some fluid into him, we could go home and let him rest until his stomach bug cleared up on its own. Twenty minutes after the medicine we gave him juice. The doctor checked on us and said we could go home, but to come back if he threw up later. We got James into his boots and jacket, and he threw up all over himself and daddy. Now we all smelled bad. I went and found a nurse, who went and found the doctor. The doctor pointed out it was a good thing it had happened while we were still in the hospital. I did find myself thanking God it hadn’t happened in the car.
The praying continued as I was growing desperate for something to work, as I was starting to imagine spending the night in the hospital, curled up in an uncomfortable hospital chair, as James tried to sleep while plugged into an IV. Another nurse came in with a needle, and while it hurt, it did help. Twenty minutes later we got James some more juice. Thankfully, this time it stayed down and we got to leave.
Back to Burger King for lunch, as it was 1 o’clock and neither Jon nor I had eaten anything that day. We got lunch, got cleaned up, and let James rest. We decided to show up to say hi to family, but to skip dinner and let James rest. We got home, Skyped with the out-of-town relatives briefly as James struggled to stay awake (every time he fell asleep in the hospital he had to wake up for treatment or for juice), and then put James in his crib. He looked around for his bear, which was still drying. He managed to sleep without it.
I went and put a load of laundry in the machine in our building, and threw the coats into the tub with detergent. Jon and I ate leftovers and hotdogs for dinner, and figured we’d try some toast for James when he woke up. The toast went down fine, which was another answer to prayer. I was about prayed-out, and was just ready for the day, the whole weekend, to be over.
I went to get our laundry, and found that the dryer I had used for our clothes was broken. The heat worked, but the drum was not spinning. Only the very outside layer of laundry was remotely dry. Jon laid out all the clothes on the bed, and had the fan blowing on them, trying to get them to dry. I would have hung them in the bathroom, but the bathroom was full of drying winter jackets. Despite many prayers for peace, and despite hours of meditation on God’s loving provision, I was ready to cry.
Then, another answer to prayer showed up, as a phone call from my parents. How was James? How were we? I told them James was better, and I was exasperated with the laundry. They asked if I would like to bring our soggy laundry over to their working dryer. Yes, please! I arrived with my laundry basket, which my dad dubbed my Easter basket, and left the laundry to dry, to be picked up when we could get back over there. I also left with a box of Easter dinner leftovers. Hurray!
James is doing mostly well today. He’s not entirely better, but there’s no need for a hospital yet today, so I’m relieved. I’m also relieved I don’t work until Wednesday, so I can stay home and take care of him. Hurray for God’s timing again. I occasionally work Mondays, and I’m very glad this Monday was not one of those occasions.
I went into this weekend determined to focus on God’s love, God’s answers to prayers, and God’s presence in our lives. I found myself clinging to those concepts as lifelines during this very challenging weekend. This is the weekend in the Christian calendar where God’s love is most front and centre. On Good Friday, we remember Christ’s sacrificial love that rescued us from God’s wrath and opened the door for us to receive God’s unconditional love. On Easter Sunday we celebrate Christ rising from the grave, giving us hope for life in paradise after death here on earth. I’m glad that if James had to get sick, it was on this weekend full of love, hope, and God paving a way through the impossible. I needed those reminders to get through this.
As I look back on the many hours holding James and whispering to him that we loved him, were taking care of him, and doing our best to make everything all better, I think God was doing similarly for me. I imagine, as God was helping me through every trial and paving the way for every miracle of good timing, and helpful people surrounding us, He was whispering to me that He had it under control, He loved us, and it was going to be okay. It was a hard Easter, but it was also a good Easter, because though I missed every church service and spent every other day in the hospital, I also received many confirmations that God cares for me. For that, I am grateful.