Once we were finally driving home, a plastic grocery bag wrapped around Zeke’s torso as he dozed in his car seat, I asked Jeremy: “What are we going to do?”
“I guess we bring Zeke with us,” he said. “Kiley can watch Hope, and we’ll take Zeke.”
“But if Zeke’s really sick, then she won’t want to be around any of us – otherwise her kiddo will get sick, too,” I said.
We’re quiet for a bit, and then I said, “I can’t believe this.”
“Yeah,” he said.
By the time we reached home, I have a text from Kiley: “Hey friend – let’s just chat in the AM and see how he’s doing. As long as he’s not seeming super sick, I’m great coming.”
I sat in the parked car in the driveway, texting her back, as Jeremy unbuckled kids from car seats and tucked them in their beds. I texted, “Thanks, friend. That means a lot. He just puked one more time, so it looks likely that we’ll bring him with us. How would you feel about watching just Hope, in that scenario? (She’s had zero symptoms so far).”
Then I walked downstairs and sat at the edge of the bed, phone in hand. After a few minutes, Jeremy joined me, sitting to my left.
“Just waiting for a text from Kiley,” I said. He nodded.
Then he sighed. “This just sucks,” he said. “Zeke gets the flu the night before your appointment?”
“I know,” I said.
We were quiet for a bit, and then I said, “I’m scared – about tomorrow. Can you pray for me?”
Jeremy said, “Yeah, yeah. Of course.”
Then he put his arm around me, grasping my right side.
“God… we need help,” he said.
I breathed deeply, and nodded, shutting my eyes and laying my hands on my knees, palms up.
He continued: “We need your help. We can’t do this without you – I mean, Zeke, and Liz’s eye, we just need you to come through. Please. Please have mercy on Liz. Heal her eye. Have mercy, God, have mercy.”
In a flash, I remembered Bartemaeus, the blind man who called out to Jesus from the road, begging for healing: “Son of David, have mercy on me, a sinner.” His words became the first breath prayer, one that I’d memorized during the Lenten season when I was falling in love with my husband.
I leaned my head on my husband’s right shoulder and prayed the familiar prayer in my mind. I breathed in: “Jesus Christ…” I breathed out: “Son of God…” I breathed in: “Have mercy on me…” I breathed out: “A sinner.”
This post is part of my “Through A Mirror Dimly” series about a health issue I’ve been experiencing. I started telling this story during the season of Lent as a way to make sense of the ways that my own suffering teaches me about the suffering of Jesus Christ.
I also invite you to engage with your own suffering through this series: how does your personal pain illuminate the suffering of Jesus for you? And what can your pain teach you about the life of faith?
I’d love to hear your thoughts – comment away!