I died about 10 years ago. Not for long, but dead enough.
One night, about 3 days after sinus surgery, I began to hemorrhage. About midnight I let go of my efforts to control the bleeding and left my immediate location. As I lay my head down on the floor of my beautiful-brand-new-white-carpeted-bathroom (if this was a movie, angels would sing about the bathroom here) I was relieved to close my eyes and arrive in the presence of God. It’s so quiet there. There’s no pressure. He merely said: Come with me. Or stay. You can choose.
Clearly, I choose to stay and here’s why: My daughters. They were sleeping in the next room and seemed, almost unbearingly, like they might still need me. They were toddlers. This was a clear and easy choice.
Except that it wasn’t. (It’s peaceful with God. It’s not peaceful with toddlers.)
At this point, my husband sensing something wasn’t right, angrily yelled “Karen! Don’t close your eyes!” Eye closing scared him for some reason. Perhaps, because he’d just opened his eyes from passing out. In his defense, it was now a blood bath.
When I opened my eyes, a tiny yellow rubber duck virtually floated by on the “life” that was gushing out of me. Okay, so, that was clear. God can use a rubber duck to help a girl get some perspective.
I. Am. Staying.
The thing is, the whole year prior to this moment – I hadn’t been all that interested in living. I didn’t want to die exactly – I was just done with living. But seeing that duck made everything clear. My children play with that duck and with me. My husband needs his wife. This is my glimpse into what I would miss. “Please let me stay.” To which my husband replied “You’re not going to die.” As I wasn’t able to speak out loud then, this seemed absolutely divine. I was here for awhile.
In the time that follows such tumultuous events, life is profound. Every single moment of it. Every breath you take, every smile from a stranger, every dust bunny in your home, reveals God by your side. The certainty that you are alive for a definite purpose is clear every single second. Unfortunately, this does not last. The profound life fades to a distant memory no matter how hard to try to hang on.
To keep my faith in present tense is a flippin’ struggle. I know I’m alive for a reason – I just think maybe I did the reason already and now…what? My girls are teen-agers and if there is a demographic that does not need mothers – it’s teen-age girls. I know, I know. I’m being sarcastic. I know they need me. They just don’t know it. There’s probably something important looming on the horizon – a stranger to be smiled at, a child to be taught and dust bunnies don’t just go away on their own.
I’m glad I stayed though. It was the right choice. Very grateful for the glimpse.
God, I hope I get another rubber duck, – maybe a less dramatic one though. Life is simpler with a clear sign in front of you.