Overwhelmed and drained, I plopped my behind down on a coffee table in the ICU waiting room yesterday around 3:30pm to embrace, and be embraced by this group of crazies that I call my own. Now don’t worry, my behind was safe from hitting the floor in an embarrassed heap because that coffee table was as sturdy and strong as my Aunt who had just lost her husband of 26 years, unexpectedly, just moments before. Sitting on the edge of that coffee table, as conversations drifted around me, my mind began to ponder what a whirlwind the last several months had been. My Father-in-Law’s death on December 6th, my Mom on January 28th and now my Uncle on April 8th…surreal seems to be the word of the day for us lately. But as I sat amidst the timbre of the huddled whispering voices, I allowed my thoughts to run rampant; thoughts of how my Aunt had embarked on her grief journey just moments before I arrived at the hospital. She had planned to cook meatloaf for lunch, but life dictated that she call the ambulance instead. She had planned to go to Physical Therapy today, but circumstances deemed it necessary for her to make funeral arrangements instead. We plan, we arrange, we schedule as best we can, but when God’s timing says it’s time; it is time.
Have you ever been sitting in a restaurant staring into space, fully lost in your own thoughts as you wait on someone to join you, but suddenly realize you’re staring straight into the eyes of a complete stranger? As fast as your brain can scramble to attention and convince your eyes of the need for retreat, Operation Divert Your Gaze commences. Well, as I sat and pondered on the edge of that laboring coffee table, I found that my gaze had been locked onto an oil canvas of father and son, Dr. Brantley and Dr. Brantley. Two stares looking directly toward me; as entranced with me as I was with them. As I scrutinized father and son, I realized that not only have I never truly looked at that painting, I had also seen it a million times. Why in that moment in time, did someone ordain that I look at that portrait for the first meaningful examination? Why did I need to know that father and son do not really favor, forcing me to then ponder if their lack of similarity on this canvas came from real life truth or was it a choice made only by the artist’s brush stroke? Realizing those answers would not be provided this day, the craziness that is so typical for me erupted and I was fully sidetracked with the fact that it appeared that the young Dr. Brantley had no pinky nail in the portrait. Apparently the deep reverie on life and death and how quickly things can change, had evaporated into thin air as comical thoughts and comments erupted between my Dad and I about the young Dr. Brantley’s pinky nail. (Incase you were wondering, upon closer scrutiny, it appears that the young Dr. Brantley does indeed have a pinky nail and all is well; no artists must be called and chastised.)
But this life on earth is nothing more than a series of happenings; some good, some bad, but all very necessary to make up what is called life; all orchestrated by a God that meets our every need. What became very evident to me is that the same God that supplies all of our needs, provides us with little defense mechanisms that enable us to step away from some of the sorrow that comes our way. Little distractions that seem so mundane, but so appreciated as they hoist some of the load from our burdened shoulders.
I’m giving Him the glory for the young Dr. Brantley’s pinky nail and for what it stood for…His brief little distraction from the sorrow of the day.
Matthew 11:28: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” NKJV
Until the next pot is freshly brewed. ~paula