Becoming Holy

We will run and not grow weary…Part Three

on February 20, 2013

RunningShoes

There are so many subtitles I could use for this entry~maybe “Running in Place” would be an apt description or perhaps “The Broken Road.”  We’ll see where things go.  To begin with, the pacemaker being placed caused a lot of anxiety in our family.  Gabbie didn’t like to talk about it, didn’t want to think about it, got anxious when it would “fire” and throw her heart into chaos.  She would pull me aside and tell me what was going on, but like any fourteen year old, she just wanted to be like everyone else.  It took almost four months from the muscle biopsy to get the official word~Gabbie has Kearns-Sayre Syndrome.  Why on earth did that information hit us like a ton of bricks?  We already “knew” that would be her diagnosis.  I had believed it for a few years now~thanks to my stellar research on Google.  It was what all signs pointed to and yet, seeing the results on paper was just this ugly, sickening moment.  I guess no one wants to be defined, to be placed in a box.  Knowing what was going on did give us a framework to operate from.  When people asked me what was going on, I would explain the disease and Gabbie would get very quiet.  One day, on the way to morning Mass, Gabbie burst out, “I would really appreciate it if you would NOT talk about KSS to anyone.  I don’t want to hear about it or be asked questions about it or listen to you tell other people about me.”  I held back the tears, realizing the pain I had been causing her and I promised I wouldn’t do that to her.

God had other plans.  He placed a beautiful woman in our path that day.  After Mass, Susan came up to our family.  She introduced herself and began talking with the girls.  Somehow the subject of Gabbie’s health came up.  She asked how Gabbie was doing.  I panicked~I had just promised Gabbie we wouldn’t be having these discussions.  The Holy Spirit must have filled Susan with the gift of knowledge because she said she had never heard of Kearns-Sayre Syndrome but she knew what would cure it.  Ice Cream!  She reached into her purse and pulled out a twenty dollar bill, all the while sharing her wisdom about ice cream’s healing powers.  She was certain we should head right off to McDonald’s or Dairy Queen and buy as much ice cream as we could get our hands on!  All of the kids were giggling by the time we got into our car.  A loving friendship was formed and the day’s crisis was averted!  

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My sister, Jeannette, called me and wanted to do something for Gabbie.  She offered to make knotted rosaries for her and to distribute them so people would be constantly praying for her.  I got the go-ahead from Gabbie~a big deal, because again this drew attention to her life situation.  Gabbie chose the cord used for the rosaries~a beautiful mix of blues and green called “Tranquility.”  We began to refer to these rosaries as tranquility rosaries.  Aptly named as I longed for nothing more than peace and tranquility for our family.  When the cording arrived, we traveled to my parents’ house in Idaho and spent an afternoon with my family learning how to knot these one decade rosaries.  We all worked together and laughed and laughed.  My sister and her family did all the set up work and finish work in this huge project.  My aunt, a Benedictine nun, wrote brief, beautiful reflections for each mystery of the rosary.  The rosaries were then placed in a ziploc along with a little paper that told which mystery would be prayed on that rosary for Gabbie.  Family and friends “adopted” a mystery of the rosary for Gabbie and pledged to pray that mystery every day for her healing.  My sister’s goal was that all twenty mysteries would be said every day for Gabbie times how ever many of these rosaries we could hand out.  I know there were over a hundred.  The blessing in Joe and I each having a big, prayerful family is that we had rosaries in the hands of nearly 100 people by the end of the day!

At our parish, people were praying up a storm for Gabbie.  One friend called to see what the parish could do.  I honestly did not need meals brought or our house cleaned (well…it’s not like I can’t clean!)  She offered help driving, shopping, basically anything our family could use.  I told her we needed prayer and thought of my sister’s rosaries.  I knew I was not able to make hundreds more, but I shared the idea with my friend.  She immediately set to work and made beautiful cards that explained Gabbie’s situation.  Each card listed a separate decade of the rosary and the idea of praying this decade for Gabbie daily.  She took our family’s photo and made a big poster board for the vestibule.  There were little pockets that held the Rosary Cards and an invitation to pray for Gabbie.  As you can imagine, the attention was not easy for Gabbie, but I think it was beginning to settle in that we needed all the prayer we can get.  The response was beyond beautiful~people everywhere were taking rosary cards and when they would see us, they would share which mystery they had chosen and why.  My eyes would always tear up.  That happens a lot these days.

 This has been an extremely humbling journey.  How does one do anything but cry when a friend or a stranger looks into your eyes and shares from the heart that they are praying in earnest for your child?  As parents, Joe and I agonize over Gabbie’s health.  She is our daughter and we long to see her cured.  I’m not certain if I can paint a word picture to express the incredible beauty of the people in our lives.  I’m not sure I can “paint” with these crazy tears running down my face again.  The people who love Gabbie, who pray for Gabbie, who hold her in their hearts, form a safety net for our family.  I envision a sea of prayer warriors with hands held high, lifting us up and holding us together.  In my painting there is music too.  I hear the prayers of the rosary, the Masses, the Word of God prayed on her behalf.  I hear songs of healing and words of promise.  I see face after face, friend after friend~each a sign of God’s faithfulness.  I think of God’s promise in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”  Jesus is at the center of my painting.  Sometimes He is on the cross, suffering and reminding me of all He went through so we can be together.  Sometimes, He is walking among all our praying friends and He has such JOY in this sea of faith.  Sometimes He is alone with Gabbie and they are speaking heart to heart, but I cannot hear them.  He is always there.  He anchors the painting.  He anchors the painter.

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2 responses to “We will run and not grow weary…Part Three

  1. Joanie says:

    I thank God for giving Gabbie you as a mother. You pray for her, you listen to her and you are obedient to the Lord always praising. I am honored to be your friend.

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