Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thank you for family

by John D Ramsey

Tonight I was sitting on the front step watching a group of stars set in the western sky. They followed the twilight. Even as the sky darkened they dipped further into the summer haze near the horizon. Their glory was incomplete and fleeting, but I watched to see whether they would make an appearance before vanishing into the mist. It was almost like cheering for the underdog. They did not belong to the summer sky, but for a short hour or two they tried.

Cara had returned my call, and we were visiting while Lisa and the little ones were at a 4-H meeting. I confided to Cara that for the first time in about two months I had no idea what I should write. “So you’re finally out of things to say?” she asked. I told her that I was out of things to write about except for things that make me angry. Other than unimportant things that irritate me, I am concentrating at work on learning new technologies. My mental wanderings have left me very little subject matter worth sharing. Cara paused for a minute and said, “If I were writing a blog post tonight, I would write about being thankful . . . I am thankful that I had a family that knew how to love me.”

Cara is completing on-the-job training in a program that works directly with abused children. When she accepted the job, I told her that it would break her heart, and it already has. What I did not realize is that without my knowing any particulars, Cara’s new job will break my heart as well. I can hear the pain in her voice and I am helpless to remedy. I will weep because she is weeping.

When Cara was nine years old, a house fire displaced our family for about three months. No one was injured, but the disruption caused by such destruction is difficult to imagine unless you have experienced it. A week after the fire, while the shock of it all was still settling, Cara was bitten in the face by a dog. Her injury required surgery to repair a tear duct on her left eye. On Labor Day, we took Cara to the hospital for emergency surgery. Except for the surgical team, no one else was working because of the holiday. The nurse prepping Cara for surgery had great difficulty finding a vein for the IV, and Cara cried out, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” but I was helpless to rescue. Although the surgery progressed well, my inability to shield my daughter from pain shook me deeply. Cara recovered from eye surgery. Nevertheless, I remember the intensity of Cara’s crying and my helplessness to do more than to hold her hand.

Now Cara is crying again. She is not crying for her own pain, but rather for the pain of others. She is beyond even my touch of reassurance. Yet in the midst of her tears, what echoes most profoundly is thankfulness for a family that loved her, and I am humbled. Because she has felt pain, she has compassion. Because she has known love, she has hope. Because she has hope, she can minister grace to the unlovely. The damaged souls among whom Cara will work have a proclivity for bitterness, violence, deceit, and manipulation. Cara loves them still. She loves them because she has a glimpse of God’s grace in her own life, and she has faith that His grace can heal. I have confidence that God has purposed Cara’s life for such a time as this.

I listen to Cara’s enthusiasm and I am thankful. I am thankful that the grace of God has captured her heart. I can do nothing to help Cara except to cry with her and to pray for her, and thus I am pledged.

I am thankful that we have a Savior, a high priest, who is touched by the feelings of our weaknesses. He knows our weaknesses because he walked among us as a man, and because he endured violence from our hands. I am thankful that having his forgiveness, we can boldly approach the Father's throne to find mercy and grace when we are weak. I am thankful that I can commit Cara to his loving care. I know that he is able to lift her up in his arms and carry her through approaching trials.

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