The kids and I recently listed to A Peep Behind the Scenes. The story is rather like a Dickens novel–the good characters are so good and the ill characters so wretched, it leaves one spinning from the moral opposites always clashing.
We did love this story. Little Rosalie found a picture from a Bible, it was of the Good Shepherd carrying his lost lamb. The story captures the beauty and security found in Jesus through a little girl’s eyes. As we listened during cold winter nights it fostered a warmth in each of us and made us catch another glimpse of God’s care and goodness.
This image of a shepherd holding a little lamb has been so comforting to me lately. Calvin has had a very difficult month–respiratory infection, constant spasms and convulsions, and another lung infection. All in the course of a few weeks.
Today he is pale. His eyes have dark circles and the blood seems to have drained from his face. The two courses of antibiotics do not seem to be holding and we are battling constant secretions. Respiratory treatments are done often but his lungs are still full of fluid. He is not coughing much anymore, another sign of weakness. We suction countless times but his lungs still pop, crackle, wheeze or have little or no air movement in pockets.
He seems to be quite comfortable in spite of it all. Perhaps he is too exhausted to show discomfort. We are doing everything possible but it is not enough. For the first time I am not seeing him bounce back while on antibiotics.
The illustration Jesus gives us of Him as the Good Shepherd has been an immeasurable comfort to our family. When I see Calvin lay still with closed eyes while his stomach heaves to support his lungs, I give him into the hands of Jesus. Darryl and I pray often with him and for him, asking Jesus to give His comfort and nearness to Calvin and to keep him from panic and discomfort. We pray for a quick transition from our arms to His when it is time. We praise God that death is the last enemy for Calvin. And after that life, life with Jesus.
Nurses are in our home nearly every day, helping us with the tremendous medical needs he has, particularly during illness. One of our nurses told me she felt something very different about Calvin and our home. She is not a Christian but told me that she thinks Calvin has a “spiritual connection.” Of course my eyebrows went up (on the inside of course :); she went on to explain that she often finds Calvin looking up, waving his arms, talking and looking with wide eyes as if somebody is there. When she comes in, he stops. Or when she moves him to another room, he stops. “I take care of a lot of kids like him, but there is just a joy in him that is supernatural,” she said shaking her head. I smiled and explained about the hope we have for him because of Jesus Christ. “Well, all I know is that somebody or something is there,” she replied emphatically.
Whether or not Calvin does “see” or “hear” something, I’ll never know. BUT, we do know that God is not bound to our constraints of cognitive and physical ability. I do know that Calvin is filled with joy and a peace more consistently and abundantly than any person I’ve ever met. I don’t doubt for a minute that he knows so much more than he is able to express. I do know that the Lord loves to work in the unexpected, to give joy in broken places, to commune with little needy lambs.
We continue to carry on through these days. Sorrow is inevitable but the joy that runs deep through these days is carrying us. It’s odd to be busy with the daily duties and yet feeling powerful forces of life and death midst the cleaning and caring.
Perhaps next week Calvin will be back to himself. It has happened many times that he pops up like a little cork out of the waves of sickness. I hope so. In the meantime pray with us that we will keep our eyes on the Good Shepherd and that we will feel His arms carry us.