Just as the the most challenging phase of caregiving for mom was coming to an end, I got a call at work. Dad had fallen, and had broken his hip.
When something bad like this happens, I immediately go into what I call “Robot Mode.” Things must get done, and it is counterproductive to turn inward and wallow in why’s and why me’s. Therefore, I switch off all emotions that focus on myself. My siblings and I never left Dad’s side as he went through surgery and his painful recuperation at a rehabilitation facility.
During that time, Dad was in despair. He had no hope of walking again, and worse, of not driving again. He even told us that he wanted to put an end to his life, if only he had the guts to do it. That was a hard thing to hear, but we chalked it up to the pain medications and his terrible ordeal.
On the day he came home with me, he was still in the midst of this severe depression. I tried to buck him up; I grabbed my keys, and told him I was going to go to his favorite restaurant and bring back his favorite dish. I got into the car, and on the way, I reached out to God in prayer.
And suddenly, Robot Mode came to an abrupt end.
The truth of my situation avalanched upon me. At home, I had an elderly mom still needing help dressing and fending for herself, and now an elderly dad who needed help doing everything from walking to coping emotionally with his new handicap. I now had two to nurse by myself, and the world was closing in on me.
I was nothing but a heap of broken shards, and I was absolutely incapable of articulating my condition to God—all I could do was sob in anguish.
I was feeling beaten down and bloodied, and I cried out wordlessly to God. I wanted God to put His arms around me, even if I couldn’t feel them, because I badly needed reassurance that He understood what I was going through, and that I wasn’t alone.
And God heard me. And He had a message for me.
I turned on the car radio to a Christian music station I often listened to. A song came on that I had never heard before. It was Stephen Curtis Chapman’s "The Glorious Unfolding.”
Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold
And this is going to be a Glorious Unfolding
Just you wait and see, and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch His Glorious Unfolding!
It was as if the voice of Jesus was speaking directly to me in that car on that day at that moment. He was telling me that He knows what my future holds, and it was so much better than this present black moment. I was not to be discouraged, but to know that He is with me and I with Him. I had wonderful things in store from Him who loves me.
Tears came again, but they were no longer of despair, but of thankfulness. The Lord of All cared about me!
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)