God gave us a miracle, but the work of keeping that miracle alive, making it worth something, is ours.
One year ago today I was sitting at my desk writing, my phone intentionally set aside with the ringer off so I wouldn’t get distracted.
When I finally finished and looked at my phone, there was a message from my sister. A message that would blow the lid of my morning, and my life. My mom had been rushed to the hospital and it was serious enough I needed to come home.
I stood in front of my bathroom mirror and replayed the agony of four years earlier in my head. The agony of being here and missing the middle of the night call while my dad was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance breathing his last breaths. The agony of rushing to the airport for my chance to say goodbye and learning he was already gone.
I stood in front of that mirror and didn’t want to rush to the airport again, because I couldn’t bear facing the same outcome. I cried and I screamed and I raged, and then I threw my stuff in a bag and headed to the airport.
I still can’t fully wrap my head around the miracle of my mom’s life after all she went through one year ago today. Five times her heart was paddled and compressed back to beating, her lungs weren’t functioning on their own, and the rest of her organs were failing. I still pinch myself some days that I said what I thought were my final goodbyes to her, only to have them become a new beginning.
My mom and I haven’t always had the best relationship. We’ve made mistakes with one another and held on to deep hurts and insecurities about our relationship. For two years straight I prayed to God to break my heart open and fill it with the strength and love I needed to forgive the not so good so I could remember all the good I could no longer see.
The moment we sat in the hospital after deciding to take my mom off life support I cried tears of anger. Not tears of anger at God. Tears of anger at myself because I thought I had more time to figure it out. I took for granted that there would always be more time. I could wait another day.
I remember my sister sitting next to me and telling me it wasn’t too late. I could still go tell her all the things I wanted to say. I could forgive her and ask for her forgiveness in return.
So I did.
Eventually, miraculously, she breathed on her own again, and we’ve been breathing new life into our relationship ever since.
I know I still do things that annoy and frustrate and hurt my mom, and yes, she still does things that annoy and frustrate and hurt me. But we talk more, we share more, we listen more.
In a mind-blowing turn of events, one that proves God does indeed have a sense of humor, we are now raising my eldest son together. It’s hard work, and it exposes some of the old wounds. But we are doing the work of forgiving and resetting and trying anew each day, over and over and over. It’s all we can do.
Yes, God gave us a miracle, but the work of keeping that miracle alive, making it worth something, is ours.