Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Under His Wings

We love going to Puerto Rico every summer. Except it always happens that some of us--usually all of us--get sick.  It started early this time. The weekend before we were supposed to leave I got very sick, then our just turned three year old started running a fever between 101-103.  And threw up.   We were able to squeeze in a doctor's appointment and they said that it was just a virus. Her ears were clear, strep test was negative, her fever went down, and we left on schedule.

The first flight went pretty well. She was fine during the descent, but while we were taxiing to the gate, the mother of all meltdowns began. This fierce little one goes from utter calm to hysterical screaming in a heartbeat when she doesn't feel well, and at that point every attempt to console her usually makes it worse. This was one of those times. As we exited the plane, she was shrieking, hitting me about the head and generally doing an amazingly impressive and enthusiastic imitation of a rabid octopus.

We were changing planes at DFW, and naturally our connecting flight was in another quadrant of the galaxy.  We heard more comments on her meltdown than I have heard in her entire three years before, and the lady next to us on the tram was shooting daggers the whole ride, even after she ostentatiously moved two feet away. (I was kind of waiting for her to actually say something, because for the first time ever, I had a comeback ready.  I was going to smile as sweet as Texas tea and say, "She is still a baby and hasn't had as many years as you have had to practice being considerate of others when she is feeling miserable."  Usually I don't think of those things till the middle of the night, and I thought it was just pointed enough without being too bitchy. But I didn't actually say it, which was probably just as well. I am better at blurting than at passive aggression.)

Something distracted me, though. I remembered Jesus' words about longing to gather Jerusalem under His wings, and I had the clearest picture of us. How many times have I flailed and screamed and yelled because I was overwhelmed and hurting?  I could hear Jesus whisper that it would be so much easier if I would just rest my head on His shoulder and let Him carry me and comfort me.

It was so clear that I didn't care anymore about the cloud of witnesses. I could feel some of the same tenderness and compassion that God feels for us.  It was the coolest thing of feeling so in tune.  God's presence was so strong and powerful.  I felt like He clearly spoke to me that He was going to do some special things during this trip.

Then we boarded the next plane. Thankfully, our three year old was perfectly calm again. However, our five year old rested her head on my arm and it was burning up. She kept up a 103 fever for the full five hour flight to San Juan.  She had the sick look and said she felt like throwing up.

We landed amid all kinds of warnings about Tropical Storm Chantal. None of us had eaten much since breakfast and we were all exhausted. My five year old felt too sick to want to walk, so I put her in my wrap and we exited the plane.  In the little tunnel between the plan and the airport some people tried to hurry past us, so I moved towards the side.  I couldn't see that the middle of the walk way was a couple of inches higher than the sides, for some reason and fell and twisted my foot.  Badly.  I couldn't stand on it.

They grabbed a wheelchair and eventually paramedics came. By that time it was terribly swollen, hard and purple.  The paramedics thought it was likely a sprain, although they noted that my blood pressure was 90/70.  I really didn't feel as much pain as I would expect, though it hurt a lot. I felt a little weird. Shock maybe?  They wrapped it and suggested I go to the hotel and take some Tylenol and ice it, and then go to the ER for X-rays in the morning.

This was what it looked like about five days later.

I had on impulse (?) made a special trip to get a new bottle of arnica before the trip, and I also had Tylenol (yay for overpacking!) so I popped Tylenol snd arnica every few hours during the night while touching Elena's cheek (fever gone!) and trying to keep my foot elevated without bumping any kidlet in the hotel bed.  I couldn't hear any wind or rain (and the storm didn't seem that spectacular compared to Oklahoma), but the lightening was regular throughout the night.

I can barely walk now, and can't put my full weight on it. I have to give a lecture this evening to our class, and it looks like I will definitely have to miss some of our excursions (no way to hike the rainforest, or explore El Morro and Old San Juan or do the hike to the bioluminescent bays).   My husband has done a phenomenal job of coping with the details of leading a group of nineteen  students on a study abroad trip and coordinating everything solo as well as taking care of the four kidlets. He has been incredibly tender and patient with them, as well as organized and on top of all the class details, and thoughtful of me (and he brought back mofongo after the class outing this afternoon, then took all the kidlets to the pool so I could rest).

I would be tempted to lightly mock all that I thought God spoke between the flights about doing good things on this trip (in a way not to bring fire on my head, of course). But I know it was real. I don't know what the rest of the trip will look like, but I can't shake the residue of peace and His presence. So I am trying to keep from flailing and screaming and just rest and let Him carry me. I suspect there will be more to this story, even if I don't hear it for awhile.

About Benjamin he said: "Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders."~ Deut 32:12

So we are home now.  It has been more than two weeks and my foot is still swollen and has purple and green splotches.  I did go back to the hospital in Puerto Rico.  One doctor thought she saw a fissure on the x ray, but another said it was just soft tissue damage.  The rest of our trip was mostly uneventful, except for one day when the street and the ground floor of our hotel were knee deep in water (I was so glad that we had a fridge and snacks in our room, and that the kids had Minecraft on their phones, since there was no TV and we were trapped in our room all day).  I don't have any dramatic ending about what happened.  No special moment where it all fell into place and I could see some miraculous result.  Except.  Except the peace that I felt then and still feel.  Maybe that was the special thing, right there?  Because I still feel like He is carrying me, and it is so nice to rest on Him. 

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