Every day, all around us, small insignificant events take place. Most go unnoticed, but others are life changing. God moments, I call them. My interpretation of "be still and know that I am God."
Ten years ago, my husband, Alex, was diagnosed with cancer and given five months to live. Shock waves shot through our family, neighborhood, and church.
Alex shared his time and resources with everyone. He had a marvelous sense of humor that lightened even the heaviest situations. So many people wanted to say goodbye and spend time with him. The phone rang constantly. Our front entrance became a revolving door. Our daughter came home to help me with Alex’s care.
One day, a month after his diagnosis, our daughter left for the day to spend time with her brother. By mid afternoon, several friends dropped by, and our daughter phoned, saying she was spending the night at her brother’s. Unusual, I thought, but realized siblings can comfort each other in a way no one else can. I pushed the "unusual" from my mind.
I was exhausted, and deep shadows on Alex’s face bore witness to his weariness. With much effort, he pushed out of his recliner saying, I’m going to lie down. Please come with me. I glanced at all the dirty dishes in the kitchen, left behind by constant company, and opened my mouth to ask for fifteen minutes. But my words stopped.
Since it was too painful for Alex to lie down, I collected pillows from the beds around the house and made our bed into a giant recliner. As we snuggled together, warmth flowed through us, much like an electric blanket on a cold winter night, and nothing around us existed. Alex’s pain ebbed. We talked about the fun things we’d done, the places we’d been, the people we’d met, the mistakes we’d made. We laughed about the shenanigans our children had done. The wonderful adults they’d grown to be. Evening turned into night. Still we talked and laughed. With no warning, Alex’s mind softened and he returned to Bosnia, where he’d served as a military engineer years ago. I held him until he calmed, then we drifted off to sleep.
The following day, Alex’s pain returned and he was admitted to the hospital. Within hours he was gone, but stories pierced my darkness.
The night before, Alex’s cousins were coming from Edmonton to visit him, but a tire on their car went flat. By the time AMA changed it, it was too late. Friends were coming from Calgary, but a sudden blizzard closed the highway between Calgary and Red Deer. And our daughter chose to spend the night at our son’s home.
Wonderment filled me. God used blizzards and flat tires and sibling love to give Alex and I that last evening by ourselves, to lie down in green pastures. Even now, ten years later, when I find myself in darkness and see no way out, I remember that night and am filled with hope for tomorrow.