Twenty five years ago I lost my only brother in a very tragic car accident. I have written often about him, the kind of man he was and the mark he left on our hometown. That phone call from my dad is as real today as it was then and while time does heal you just never really forget. I do not deal well with emotional pain, at all. I remember how badly my heart physically hurt the night he passed and prayed that I would never, ever feel that again. Unfortunately I have been reminded of that pain over the years … when Elizabeth was born, the numerous times I was told she would not live to see another sunrise; lost friendships, failed relationships and most recently where I am right now.
The day of AC’s accident I was a long 6 hours away. I don’t remember much about that drive home, only that I prayed continually for healing. I believed that God could perform a miracle, that He could heal AC’s body and allow him more time here with us. My dad didn’t tell me anything other than it was bad and I needed to come home so when I walked into that ICU room later that night I knew that it was going to take some kind of modern day medical miracle to bring my brother back. Okay, I was up for that challenge and for the next 6 weeks I prayed one single prayer day in and day out. Heal him, Lord. I believe you can, I believe you will; make him whole again. Every kneeled prayer and candle lit in that little Chapel of the hospital was centered around the same prayer. This was my dads hospital and the news had quickly spread; I was in the Chapel which was one of the only places I could escape from the curious visitors that filled the waiting room and one of the Sisters came in. She remembered me, knew me from those times my dad would bring me in to the hospital with him for rounds. I told her I believed that God would heal my brother and she nodded, touched her hand to my cheek and said yes, child He can and will heal him.
I was there when he took his last breath. I held his hand and whispered to him that it was okay to go. “Fly Home with the Angels” were the last words I would ever speak to him. I found a quiet hallway in the dark hours of that hot summer night and silently screamed at God asking and begging for answers as to why He didn’t heal my baby brother. “I believed in you, I believed in a miracle.” I sat on that cold hard floor for hours as my heart hurt with the most excruciating pain I have ever felt begging and pleading for a reason why. He was young, he was good, he was a man of God without question. I remember looking up and with just enough anger to get myself in trouble said … “You just took one of Your own” as if that was somehow going to bring AC back to us. I can smile thinking about that night now because I am fairly certain God knew exactly what He was doing and didn’t need my scolding of what He had done! When Elizabeth was born I prayed that same prayer. Heal her, Lord. Please just heal her. Even now, 17 years later I pray for healing. Not because I want her to die and be whole but because somewhere deep in my heart I still believe in miracles. But our reality with Elizabeth is much like that of AC. It took me a long, long time to come to terms with the fact that God had indeed answered my prayer with AC, faithfully and boldly as He promises us He will. Healing comes in many different ways, there is no cookie cutter shape here that allows us to know exactly how God will work. AC was really hurt. He had been thrown from the drivers side, out his front windshield and landed a good distance from his truck once it had stopped rolling over. The brain injury was devastating, one that no one could come back from. Physical healing would have been just what I thought that first night I stood by his bed; a modern day medical miracle. Instead another miracle of healing took place and yes, it was just as much of a miracle if AC would have opened his eyes and said, “hey sis.”
It is not until this last year that I began to take the promises of God knowing just how our days are numbered here on Earth seriously and only He knows that time line. Even after losing AC I didn’t begin to appreciate the significance of when we will be called Home and it has nothing to do with when we are ready. (Says the girl who finds it necessary to let God know her plans for her life!) When I was diagnosed with cancer I remember saying to God I am not going to die, heal me. This was a harsh reality for me. I had prayed for healing for AC, God took him home. I have prayed for healing for Elizabeth; her healing will come when He calls her Home. For a very long time I believed that healing meant death. For the past few months I have had that physical ache deep in my heart that I hate, that comes with and is my reality of healing. It takes me back to AC, to Elizabeth and all those life lessons in between. This is a very different kind of healing and to be very honest with you I would rather just hurt; I think it would be easier. My dad tells me it’s very much like a death and I will have to grieve it as if it is. I don’t want to. It’s not a car accident, the birth of a sick child, an illness; no it is so much worse because it’s a healing I have to own and admitting that is not easy. So how do you begin? Forgiveness. You forgive yourself; it helps a lot. Healing is messy. You have these moments where you think everything is okay, life is moving along and then you hit a brick wall and everything shatters around you and you are painfully reminded that you are human. You are forced to face the brick wall and ask yourself what caused the crash? If it’s you, own your stuff and fix it. This will require a level of honesty you can’t even imagine. Be patient with yourself, be transparent, be open and know that like I said it’s going to get messy, really really messy. Here’s my messy … I hold onto everything, to a point where I have no idea how I can even be happy in a day because I am always thinking about what happened before. I over think, over analyze, over talk, over blame and relive it until it’s all I am talking about. Forgive others, because not everything is your fault. I have actually come to hate that word. Fault. I very recently wrote that it is unbelievably easy to blame someone else for everything. You and only you are responsible for every decision and choice you make. This is a lesson I am learning the hard way and is a huge part of my healing process. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone. At some point you are going to make some really BIG ones, and quite possibly more than once! And finally, give yourself some grace you’re going to need it.