Overwhelmed

On Monday we took my dad to the emergency room by ambulance. He’s been in intensive care all week; he has pneumonia and between that and his chronic conditions, we are unsure of the prognosis. I am crying constantly. I have so much emotion in me that it needs to come out, and that’s happening through my eyeballs. I started by assuming I was feeling sad, or feeling grief. But I realized this morning that’s not it—it is just love overwhelming me.

Love for a job that gives me the flexibility to work when I can and stay home when I must, and for colleagues who prayed for me in the middle of the emergency.

Love for my friends, who brought us dinner this week, who answered my questions about what the heck a “hospitalist” does, who drove kids to practice and back so I could be at the hospital.

Love for my church who let me cry through services this morning and didn’t make me feel like I had to stop. I was held up by those around me as they sang “Look to God; do not be afraid. Lift up your voices; the Lord is near!” I couldn’t sing today but they brought me a box of tissues and sang for me.

Love for each of my sisters and brothers, Tanya, Martyn, Tracy, Nick and Ian, who are so much a part of me and I a part of them that I am always a “we.” And “we” are only ever as well as the worst off of us.

Love for my husband who takes care of me even when I hate being taken care of, reminding me to go to bed when I’m too tired to remember. Who knows that the best way to help me is to take care of as much day-to-day as possible so I am freed from all the doing; freed to sit and just be with those who most need my presence.

Love for my mother, who always does what needs to be done, even if it is hard and unpleasant, and even if people don’t always like it.

Love for my father, who has been the quiet, steady foundation of my life; the model of faithfulness to family, of industriousness and persistence, of humble good nature. Even in this hospital bed, he doesn’t really care to be the center of attention—he is happy just to be still and to hear his family together.

It’s hard to be truly sad when you have this much love in your life. It’s hard to be anything but grateful and overwhelmed by the grace happening all around you.