Recently I was thinking about one of Eliza’s hospital stays. We had been in the PICU at CHKD for a week or so and because of the type of pneumonia Eliza had we couldn’t have visitors in her room so if someone came to visit I would meet them downstairs in the lobby. One evening a friend came to drop off some treats, it was late and the hospital was quiet. I took the elevator down to meet her from the 8th floor and halfway down it stopped to let people on. I was wearing sweats and slippers, I was tired and remember wishing the elevator hadn’t stopped. The doors opened and there were 5 or 6 people standing there, I could tell it was a family, grandparents, parents, maybe aunts and uncles. They were holding bags and blankets and pillows and all of them were crying. One of the younger women, probably in her 30’s was quietly sobbing and being held up by the others. I tried not to make eye contact because I was uncomfortable and I knew I had been forced into a private moment in this tiny elevator. I immediately realized that this young women’s child had died. I let them off the elevator first and I slowed my walk so I wasn’t too close. When I finally saw my friend I told her about the family and we cried. I kept saying I can’t imagine having to leave this hospital without my child. I remember feeling sick to my stomach being so close to such tragedy and I remember I laid in Eliza’s bed with her when I got back to her room and thanked God that my baby was here…
I haven’t thought about that night in a long time but recently while talking to my friend I remembered it in great detail. I had asked her to retell the story of the morning Eliza went heaven. The morning that she got the terrible call and rushed to pick up my mom so they could meet Aaron and Eliza at the hospital. She has told me the story 100 times but whenever I ask her to retell it she does, now matter how hard it is for her to remember. She reminded me how early it was and how she had woken up and noticed her phone battery was on 5% so she grabbed her phone to charge it and turned off the ringer since it was a holiday and as she was holding her phone she got the call… 30 seconds later and she would have been back asleep and the phone would have been on silent.
I still struggle with having been so far away that day but as I relive it Gods hand is continually revealed. At first I thought it was just the kind security guards in the hotel and the sweet man who prayed over me on the plane in Atlanta but now I realize it was so much more. I know now that God spared me one of the things that terrified me, leaving the hospital without my baby. I have suffered many other things but that one scenario that I had witnessed months before in that tiny elevator…I was spared.
God is good. Those words are said so often and I know they are true but it’s much harder to believe when you are in a season of suffering. Many days I have spent thinking “how can a GOOD God allow such an awful tragedy to happen to ME, why does he let me suffer like this” But this is life and no one has the answer. Jesus himself suffered so why would I be excluded…why would any of us be?
None of this makes it any easier me, none of it makes it any easier for that family in the elevator. But every now and then I see Gods grace for me and I remember my friends early morning phone call, that if it had been a split second later she may have missed it and that one moment could have changed that entire morning, that entire day. Or if my friend hadn’t come to visit me and I hadn’t taken the elevator that evening in the hospital I may have never known how grateful I would be to not have to experience what that family went through as they walked out of the hospital that night without their child.
And then it doesn’t take long for me to realize it was very simply Gods hand that orchestrated it all. That HE didn’t take Eliza from me but he would put me in the places I needed to be and with the people I needed to be with. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t suffered through this terrible nightmare, it means that I won’t suffer alone, that he will never leave me. And when the sorrow is too much to bear I look back at these moments and remember…
that God really is GOOD.
I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope~ Psalms 94:18-19