Lessons from ICU. 12. Love bears all things
In the previous blog, I wrote about how my face was distorted and how everyone who saw my face, averted their eyes right away because of how I looked. But there was one exception to that. Though this happened before I was admitted to the ICU, it was there I had a chance to meditate on that exception; hence it is one of the lessons I learned in ICU.
My three-year old niece, Irene Charlotte, was the exception. She is very close to me and my wife. Before becoming sick, I used to spend lots of time with her, carrying on my shoulders and playing with her. When I became ill suddenly, I was completely bed-ridden as the swellings in my legs were very painful. And it bothered the kid. But she would visit me every single day, massage my legs for a second or two, then close her eyes, mumble something and would say to me, “Uncle, you will be fine soon. I have prayed and Jesus will heal you. Once you are healed, you should carry me again in your shoulders. Okay.”
Since we did not know the bitterness of the cup that the Lord had allowed in our life, we would just laugh whenever she did this. But soon, my face started ballooning. In few days, my face shape changed and at times, even I could not identify myself. One of my eyes was so swollen, you could not see my right eye at all. Even the left eye was barely open. It was a very unpleasant sight, that scared even the adults. If that was not enough, my body started bulging and I started to look like a huge water barrel.Within 10 days, my size went from M/L to XXL and my hands were so huge and heavy, it was difficult for a young man to lift one of my hands. Even the fingers were so large, I could not even type anything on the laptop. I looked really horrible.
Yet, Irene would come every morning and evening; instead of being scared of me, she would give kiss my cheeks, compel me to open my closed eye, then massage my legs, kiss my feet, mumble a prayer and then reminding me that once I am healed, I must carry on my shoulders. Every day. Twice. She did that, without showing any fear or disgust in her face. Of course, recently when she saw one of the photos taken during that time, she freaked out. But during those difficult times, she was the only comfort we all had. When we asked her if she was not scared, she would smile and say, “This is my uncle. I love him. He is sick today, but soon will be healed. Then he will carry me on his shoulders. And, of course, I am not afraid of my uncle.”
Even on July 8th, the day I was taken to the emergency ward, where physicians and nurses working there got scared by how I looked, Irene came in the morning and gave me the kisses, massage, prayer and the reminder that I should carry her once I am healed.
Now, I wrote in the previous blog, how many people who love me so much, were unable to look into my eyes, and were crying. While they did that because they love me, what I received from them was pity. But with Irene, it was unadulterated love. When I thought about those tears, it always put me down. However, when I thought about what Irene did, it always brought a smile unto my face, warmth into my soul and a sliver of hope to my broken spirit. And it also reminded me of the Bible verse: Love bears all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7) I thank the Lord for giving us this little blessing and may the LORD bless her for all the love and joy she brought into our lives during this difficult time.
Now when I meditate on the love of God, shown to a sinner like me, I remember this unadulterated love shown to me during the toughest time of my life. Our sins against the Most Holy God are so repulsive; and the effects of those sins on our soul and spirit are so hideous. And even when we repent, when we feel bad for our sins, others look at our pathetic state and feel pity for us; they avert their eyes, because they realize how vile our sins have been; and they are unable to stomach the stench that arises from the effects of our sins. While this pity looks good, it does not help me much. For it may give me comfort at that time, but it does not give hope to my heart.
Then there is God. HE does not show pity to me; instead He showers His love on me. No matter how hideous I am, how disgusting my countenance is, He embraces me, He kisses me and He tells the world, “This is My son; he was dead, but now he is alive; he was sick, but My Son and his Brother Jesus Christ has healed him; now he will carry this Gospel around the world.” God does not get tired of saying this again and again. And this love gives me hope. This amazing love gives me comfort. This unfathomable love makes me smile.
Considering how holy our God is, it becomes all the more confounding that He loves a vile sinner like me. And to show the love by hugging me, kissing me, when I am so appalling in my soul, in my spirit and in my body… yes, love bears all things. And thank You, Father, for Your wonderful love; thank You Jesus, for Your grace; thank You Holy Spirit, for Your guidance. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.