Justin had to have the needle changed today in the central line port that was placed in his chest last week. The nurses told us ahead of time that we may not want to watch and it was okay for us to leave.
I wasn’t leaving him.
It took myself, Jeff and 3 nurses to hold him down while he screamed his lungs out. They had to rip the original adhesive patch off first. His skin was so red and raw underneath. He screamed that it felt like a knife going into his stomach. I felt the tears burning my eyes. But I did not leave him.
He saw the needle before it pierced him. His screams did not even sound human. I had to look away, but I still held his arms back. And I did not leave him.
It was finally over and he was calm after he screamed at the nurses to get out. And they did. I felt the last meal I’d eaten rising in my throat. I went to the elevator, blindly pushing buttons. I reached the first floor and headed to the exit. I went through a wrong door and set off some kind of alarm.
I kept going. I was finally outside, gulping in cold air. First time in nine days. I just wanted to walk and keep going. I made it halfway down the street and felt something really cold and wet on my foot.
It was then I realized I was still wearing only socks. I sat down on a stone wall. It was really cold but I didn’t care. I thought about trying to walk again. I thought about finding something breakable to throw. I thought about storming the cafeteria and opening the chocolate soft serve nozzle right into my mouth.
In the end, I went to the prayer room. I opened the door and went in, not really paying much attention to my surroundings. I tried to turn and run out when I saw him, but the heavy door slammed behind me.
He looked at me momentarily, then resumed speaking, half-singing in a language I didn’t understand. Over and over he fell to his face on a small decorative rug. He was calling out to Allah. That much I understood.
I REALLY wanted to leave. But he had seen me and I wasn’t about to let the name of Jesus fail to be proclaimed.
I got right down on my knees and called out to my God. Awkward.
A few minutes later he left. But I had kind of forgotten about him anyway. I told Jesus my heart was fainting. I told Him that I’m nowhere near strong enough and I need Him, need Him, need Him. I told him that I know this trial has a purpose, but my boy is only five and could He please, please ease Justin’s suffering? I prayed as many of the Psalms as I could remember.
A calm washed over me and I thought of the words of Jesus in Scripture, “In this world you will have many troubles, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” (I don’t remember the reference right now.)
The disease and brokenness of the world is already overcome. Cancer is overcome. Justin’s suffering is overcome. It will all someday become undone at the throne of grace. I believe it. And I believe that Justin may not be walking here and now, but he’ll be taking a good, long walk in the Kingdom.
We just have to hold on. Hold on for a little while longer.
I am tossed about, pushed down, and thrown against the rocky shore. But my anchor is holding.
My anchor is Jesus. My friends, please don’t let the praying cease.