I recently lost a sister-in-law to COVID, and it was difficult only being able to give support to my brother (who lives halfway across the country) by phone. I know we are not alone in our loss as far too many have lost their loved ones to this virus. Just days later, my mother developed a serious health crisis. And as I think of all who are struggling in so many ways, I wanted to share my poem and reflection.
Sometimes the pain that life hands out is just too much to bear. You’ve lost a dear loved one, a beloved pet, or an awesome job which was an extension of yourself. Maybe you live with chronic illness, or perhaps an incurable disease.
And in those difficult times, isn’t it a wonderful feeling to have someone who truly cares come alongside you? Someone willing to listen to your heart, to help ease the grief, to share your tears, to speak a few words of wisdom, to help you deal with a particular hurdle, or just to be there to hold your hand while sitting quietly with you? Aren't they an extension of God’s overwhelming love. . . the hands and feet of Christ?
My poem was written several years ago as we continued to face my husband’s chronic illnesses. It all began in the fall of 2008 with statin drug muscle damage and rhabdomyolysis (excretion of blood from muscles), constant body/muscle pain, constant untreatable dizziness, and blindness (with numerous diagnoses added to the list since with multiple hospitalizations and several life-threatening crises). This is a new way of life for both of us—certainly not the life we dreamed of when we got married.
Gone are the easier and somewhat carefree days. Gone is the freedom for Ed do what he enjoyed doing, like stacking his own firewood, being able to take care of our yard and other household chores with ease, or going for evening walks up the road—all the things we used to take for granted.
No longer are we able to enjoy traveling as a couple beyond doctor appointments, or enjoy an evening out to dinner. We long to get in the car and visit our children and their families; but, even going out for doctor appointments takes a toll on Ed with increased pain, stiffness, and a generalized sick feeling. So much of what the rest of us can do and take for granted takes great effort on his part due to various limitations.
Yet, we both know very well we are not alone in this journey. You, too, may be facing your own difficult challenges. None of us is exempt, and our hearts and prayers go out to each and every one of you. God never promised that this journey called life would be easy just because we put our faith in Him… but may we know He is still in control no matter our circumstances, and is at our side to see us through any crisis.
A few verses come to mind that we cling to during the hard days and which give us a sense of peace (NIV):
- “But he said to me [the Apostle Paul], ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
- “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…” Romans 8:28
- “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
- For “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
In your most difficult times, may you feel the comforting presence of loved ones helping to ease your pain, just as you feel the presence of our Lord wrapping His arms around you in love… as He covers each one of us with His peace amidst the turmoil…
Linda A. Roorda
The hurt just cuts too deep
As you watch your loved one
Face endless days of pain.
You feel abandoned
When prayers seem unanswered
As waves of despair set in.
You stand alone along the side
Holding their hand in love
Helpless to assuage the hurt.
Tears that flow from out the soul
Tenderly touch the heart
When words cannot even convey.
A hand that reaches out
To hold, to steady, to calm
Brings precious comfort to the weary.
The voice of wisdom
Gently whispers in your ear
As the love of God enfolds with peace.
To understand the trial
Is simply to accept
God’s hand is still in control.