Today’s thin place is one that can only be reached by words. Thank you Thinker:
Watching your child suffer is the worst – it comes no more painful than that. But those days in the hospital were often times of absolute knowledge of God. Sometimes I recall being angry – screaming angry with God – and God took it and loved me, my husband and our children. Other times I recall being at such peace with God’s absolute presence in the pain of childhood cancer.
Three year old children learn more of God than we can believe. When I was three, I knew of God. God was not yet an old man in the sky – (that comes about four and hopefully leaves in late childhood) at three my concept was bigger than that. God was everywhere and in everything. I colored big pictures about God in Sunday School. We prayed at night. Hymns particularly touched my little musical self and I loudly sang songs about Jesus on the cross. Sang “Jesus Loves Me” in front of church and my mom still remembers how adorable her three year old was as she sang the pure little song.
One night, my little ADD self could not sleep. In the room next to me, my brothers – both younger – snored softly. My parents and my newborn sister were in their room and gradually – on a hot Texas night – the house slept. Everyone slept but me. I sat at the window of my room in one of my two little rocking chairs. I heard the dog bark across the street and the train sounds on the nearby tracks. I could hear little Mikey Castle yelling at his mother down the street. I could see the large full moon. It was hot and there was a hot Texas breeze that blew across my face. Then I glimpsed my other little rocker and decided – as only a three year old can do – that God was there. I proceeded to talk to God all night long. Told God all my little secrets and fears and joys and as the sun came up, I began to play with my blocks. I almost told mom about the night, but she was so tired and when I said, “Mommy, I stayed up all night…” She replied that I had been dreaming. The memory of the night faded as such memories do until one night over 40 years later.
My youngest was being treated for cancer. We had been in the hospital for quite a while, but this day had been the worst one. She had coded – quit breathing after a transfusion. I watched the rush to do CPR, to breath for her, I watched her heart stop on the monitor and then after drugs and CPR, I watched her come to life. It was the worst day of memory.
Night came. She had been extubated. The rest of the family had gone home and I sat in the room with her – so angry with God, so filled with fear. I heard her little snore as she slept Then it happened. I first felt the warm breeze across my face – in a room where no such draft could enter. I heart the train and dog and the full moon shone on the rocking chair from the window. I knew God’s presence just as surely as I had known it at age 3. God was present in that awful place on that worst of days. There was peace instead of terror. It was the turning point for everything.
God’s love is there no matter what happens. It is the part of the mystery we don’t get. We must just receive just grace and be transformed by it.