Tucked away in the pages of Exodus, there’s a little verse that describes a beautiful scene of respite.
Shortly after God miraculously delivered the Israelites from the pursuing Egyptian armies, the Bible says the people “came to Elim, where there were 12 springs of water and 70 date palms, and they camped there by the water.” (Exodus 15:27)
Doesn’t that sound delightful?
This verse has long been a favorite of mine, but it’s been on my mind more lately as my family and I have been working our way through a crisis that began when my mom fell in the shower a couple of weeks ago.
It’s a long, sad story—too much to tell right now. For now, just picture daily trips with my dad to a Kansas City hospital. Family meetings with medical teams comprised of plastic surgeons, internal medicine doctors, palliative care experts and all kinds of nurses.
Long and heavy phone and text conversations with siblings near and far. Surgeries that hold great risk for an 85-year-old woman with my mom’s particular set of issues. Restless nights filled with thoughts of what comes next for her.
It’s been a lot—let’s just put it that way.
People around the world have been praying for my mom and our family. God’s healing power is clearly at work, and I can honestly say I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I have experienced more of His peace.
At the same time, I’ve felt like I’ve been carrying a weight that gets heavier and lighter, depending on the latest report from the doctors, the most recent news from whomever is in the hospital room with my mom, and how much sleep I got the previous night.
That’s why I’ve been quick to notice settings that offer respite, if only for a moment here and there. Like the long corridor that leads from the main lobby of the hospital to the parking garage. One day after the girls and I left my mom’s room, we got Krispy Kreme doughnuts from the cafeteria and ate them on a curvy bench in this hallway.
We were still at the hospital, but for a few peaceful minutes, it felt as if we were visiting an art museum instead (see picture above). In the midst of the stress, busyness and uncertainty, it was an oasis.
Then there was the day after my mom’s second surgery (following one of those nights of little sleep) that I sort of hit a wall. We had to be somewhere at 4 p.m. and we didn’t have enough time to go home first, so we stopped by the local Lifeway store to get a Father’s Day present for Randy.
Lilly and Molly took off into the store, but I spotted a little table with two chairs in the bargain book section right inside the front door. I was so tired, I couldn’t resist. I plopped down, pulled out my phone and started writing down my thoughts.
As I sat there, I slowly became aware of the music that was playing on the store’s intercom. One after another, the worship tunes reminded me of times in my life—and my mom’s life too—when God had made His presence known in special ways.
It was exactly what I needed to keep moving, which, at that point, was all I needed to do.
Now, we’ve entered a week of decisions for my family and transition for my mom. And I’m not there for it.
When you’re in an intense season like this, there’s no good time to leave. But sometimes, the worst time to leave is also the right time to go. So the girls and I packed up, and we went—just as we had planned to do before the accident.
Instead of 12 springs of water and 70 date palms, we are surrounded by rolling Iowa hills, corn fields and gravel roads. As I sit here typing this, I can hear mourning doves calling through the open window of an old country farmhouse.
I have nothing on my agenda for this week except long, relaxed conversations with my college roommate and watching my girls run around the farm with a batch of kids who are dear enough to us we might as well be related.
Back home, reinforcements have arrived, and capable, loving hands are helping my parents move through the next big steps.
Here, we’re getting refreshed for the long haul—however long that haul might be.
♥ LoisSometimes, the worst time to leave is also the right time to go. Click To Tweet