Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It's All Good

This isn’t primarily about me. I am not the victim here.

But I’ll be honest:

I wasn’t at my finest.

I felt sick, weary, and frazzled after a month-and-a-half with no down-time. We have been either out of town or hosting house guests (family, but still) since June 4. (The taking-care-of-me thing has been a middling success.)

I tried to take a nap, but it didn’t really work. Chills-and-fever, aches-and-pains. Dizzy and spaced-out. An upper respiratory virus was making its way into my chest and sinuses. I admit that I’m a wimp when it comes to a virus. We hate each other. It’s usually a weeks-long struggle.

I finally gave up on the nap, and dragged myself to the kitchen to make a strong cup of tea.

Frankly, I was relieved that I would finally have some time alone the next day. The house was emptying of loved ones. Middle Child left Sunday after the second family reunion; the youngest went back to LA that morning. Katherine, Jay, and James were to depart the following day.

Katherine came up from the basement, where she and Jay were trying to work on their talks for the Seasons conference* while entertaining James at the same time. (Check their "bios" page.)

Endlessly energetic, she had invited my mother and sister over for hors d’oeuvres.

(“We’ll do everything, Mom. You just rest.”)

Katherine asked only that I get out some trays and serving pieces for her.

She started back down the basement steps carrying a glass of tea.

Something made me activate from my stupor and say, “Wait. I’ll take it down for you.”

“No, I need to tell Jay something, anyway.”

A slight feeling of guilt? Trepidation?

But I went to the kitchen and started looking for serving pieces. Forgetting how things can change in a millisecond.

Then I heard screaming. Screaming like I’ve never heard before.

I barreled down three steps at a time.

Katherine lay writhing on the floor. Jay was trying to hold her.

“What happened?” I exploded.

In a calm, deliberate voice, my son-in-law said, “Calm down, Kim. Katherine, try to be still.”

But I could see a large protrusion stretching the flesh of Katherine’s right leg.

“Should I call an ambulance?” I hyperventilated.

“No!” said Katherine. “I’m okay.”

“Yes,” nodded Jay.

Shaking, I tried to call. “Is it 411 or 911?”

The paramedics got there fast.  (Love my Oconee County folks. Endless thanks.)

As they punctured her vein with the IV needle, deep red blood spilled out onto an incongruously tropical print pillow, grabbed from a nearby sofa. I cupped my hands to capture it. Flashbacks to UCLA. I told Katherine to do Lamaze breathing. (What’s that?) Jay told her to breathe deeply. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

“It’s okay,” he said with quiet authority, as he held her. “It’s all gonna be okay.

 It’s all good.”

I looked over my shoulder at him.

“Yeah, it’s all good if you believe Romans 8:28,” I said. Not without a trace of irony, I’m ashamed to admit.

As they lifted Katherine into the ambulance, my mother cried quietly. “I wish it were me,” she wept.

We were all thinking the same thing: Hasn’t she suffered enough?

Before they left, the paramedics pulled us aside to tell us what a tough cookie we had. “Man, if I were her, I’d be yelling up a storm.” Katherine had made no cry since the initial fall. Just apologized to everyone for the inconvenience.

After the ambulance pulled away, I scooped James up and tried to get him to eat something resembling dinner. He had offered Mommy a band-aid when the fall first happened.

As James picked at his ‘dinner,’ Jay’s phrase replayed in my mind.

It’s all good.

How the heck is this all good, God? Are you kidding me?

Even as I asked, answers came.

I remembered the last time I’d heard the sentiment expressed.

A week and change ago, we'd pulled into the retirement home driveway, returning my mother after a long weekend away. One of her old acquaintances sat on a bench outside the front door with her care-taker. They seemed oblivious to the 100+ degree heat. The friend has lost the gift of language. But the caretaker helped direct our conversation. “She’s trying to say something to ya’ll.” We remembered how the lady had been in better days, and told her how pretty she looked. Another friend came out, and we all tried to say something… anything… positive and uplifting. Conversation lagged.

Out of the blue, the care-taker spoke up. “God is good, all the time!” she announced with conviction.

“That’s how I gets through everything.”

God is good all the time: all the time, God is good.

Even at the end. Even when hope seems gone. Even when there is pain.

God is great, God is good.

Before the fall, Katherine told me one of the focal points she planned to share at Seasons. It was based upon Phil. 4:11-13:

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

Whether we are in plenty or in need…

Injured or well…

God is good.

And is working all things together for our good and His glory.

I remember teaching my children this.

But do I really believe what I preach?

Can I now? In this?

Lord, I’d like a sign. It's been a dry time. I'm rusty.

My sister took care of us until James and I finally got in bed together. My husband and Jay were still at the hospital. It was late. I was wiped out.

But I told James, “I will read you two books tonight if they’re two we’ve never read before.”

He brought back the same two we read last night. I sighed and said, “Okay, then you only get one if I already read it last night.”

He chose Pete the Cat, by Eric Litwin.  (Art by James Dean.) My sweet cousin Hadley gave it to James a few years ago, with a personal inscription to him from the author.

Pete’s feet get him into all kinds of trouble. He keeps stepping into one mess after the next.

But he keeps walking along and singing his song.


...and all God's people said



I force myself to reexamine these anchors, these memorial stones:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

“For all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”  Dame Julian of Norwich

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him…” (Phil. 1:29)

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (I Peter 4:12-13)


So, then we took the book to Mama this morning, and James read it to her. Twice.

And then he grabbed Mimi's camera and started taking shots:

Thank you for praying for all of us in the recovery days ahead. But especially pray for Katherine.

Please pray for the Seasons conference this weekend in Los Angeles. It is dear to her heart. This timing is a mystery.

Oh, I guess I'm blogging again.

We'll see how it goes.


Laurel said...

Are you kidding me? I mean, are you KIDDING???

She broke her leg? I can't believe how Zen y'all are. I'd be counting on God's great shoulders to take the weight of my temper for, well, at least a day or so.

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

I have been praying for you, Kim. And then I saw you posted this morning! Good Grief is all that came into my I read this. My prayer chain is continuing!
I will pop over to the Wolf blog also!
xo, misha

emily said...

i've followed your blog since the beginning, and God has used it in my life profoundly.. He uses you, your honesty,vulnerability & ability to apply words to the chaos so eloquently & which such clarity.. the ministry God does through your family, and these unthinkable trials is deeper than it seems.. it brings hope and light, and i just wanted you to know that, because in a small since, it's a picture of Him working all things together for good.. no, you would prefer not to have walked this road to begin with.. but it's not in vain, and it's not void & i fully believe that you and your family will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living..

becky weber said...

Kim - I've been praying for Katherine faithfully since the stroke and with renewed fervor since I heard about her broken leg from Jay's message on Hope Heals site a few days ago. I had the same thought when I heard "Hasn't this poor woman been through ENOUGH God?". Sometimes we just don't understand His ways, but you are so right - He is always good. I am reminded of the Tapestry - on the other side, we will see ALL the beauty that He worked through our sufferings here. Praying for swift recovery and healing. God Bless - Becky

becky weber said...

I forgot to mention, it's GREAT to see you back! I've missed you : - )

Anonymous said...

Kim, you really, "nail," the emotions.....eloquently and honestly. I've missed your posts and have been praying for you. Doesn't sound as if you've had a lot of rest! I started praying for Katherine as soon as I got Jay's post. Forwarded it to prayer warrior friends also. (My 4 year old grandson, Peter, loves Pete the Cat too!) Love & prayers, Sue

UGAMom8689 said...

I have so missed reading your blog. Your writings are so insightful and seem to always speak directly to my heart. Thank you for sharing your life and family. Praying for Katherine and all of her family during this time. God is Good all the time.

cheryl Doerr said...

Well.. sure isn't the way I would have written the story... but I do trust our God.. and do believe "It is Good.. and do believe God has Katherine, Jay, James and all of you in the palm of his hand. I do my unbelief.. All is Grace... Cheryl Doerr , West Linn, Ore.

Anonymous said...

Thank God you are blogging again! You are obvioulsly TOO GOOD at this to stop.

We are so sad and praying all the time for Karheirne. And ALL of you - I can just imagine your mom crying, wishing it was her suffering and not Katherine.

I agree, the "timing" is a mystery. And it's all Good.

Love, Michelle

Emily Hurst said...

I just learned of Katherine's story from my pastor, John Douglas Meyer on my facebook page. I have sat here for at least an hour reading of her life and utter courage in the midst of deplorable circumstances. I am amazed at her absolute faith in her heavenly father. And yes, "it's ALL good" ☺

Emily Ferris said...

I'm praying for you all! What a wonderful lesson from Pete the Cat ... and you all! Thank God He works it ALL for good.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Arnold- Would you be so kind as to post a quick update on Katherine's condition? She has been in my prayers. I don't know you, but I have been reading your essays here since being directed to it by a family member soon after her AVM rupture. Thank you.

Deseri M.

Lindsey Hoskinson said...

Kim, we are praying for all of you- I was heartbroken to hear of Katherine's fall. That Katherine is such a trooper & I am constantly amazed at her bright perspective in all of the many challenges that have been thrown her way. We attended the Simmons reunion this weekend & our kiddos certainly had a big time with James. He & Hutch (my 3 year old) were running all over that hotel. And he kept calling my 18 month old, Hazel, "the little lady." He is too cute! Thank you for sharing & being so open- thinking & praying for Katherine & your entire family!

Unknown said...

Dear Kim,

To hear of how the Lord strengthens you to get through trials is the greatest work of witnessing that can be passed along.

Ginny Evans said...

So glad you are blogging again. Prayers are with Katherine and all of you. Thank you for being so real.....