Friday, May 23, 2008

TALITHA CUMI!

Friday morning

It’s a little weird to wake up in my own bed. The world is forever changed, but the bedroom’s the same. Leaning Tower-of-Pisa book-stacks everywhere, ominous bags of papers to be dealt with, clothes to be mended...everything sleep experts warn against having in your haven of peaceful dreams. Oh well, that’s life with ADD.

I was lying on this bed when I got the news that life as I’d known it was over. Of course, I didn’t realize the full implications at the time. That Monday, April 21, had been a fairly busy day for me. After a 5-year downward spiral of illness, loss, and family crises, I was finally beginning to make some progress in getting a life back. That day I’d run some errands, met my mother and her college roommate for lunch, and gone for a long hike with a friend . At the end of the trail, we sat down on a bench to finish talking and pray. I shared an experience I’d had a little over a year ago. I told her that I’d been asking God when our “Time of Troubles” was going to be over. I was telling Him that I couldn’t take much more, and that He needed to put an end to the trials and tribulations. Enough was enough. But the answer I’d heard in my spirit was, “There will be one more loss.” I made vague references to something that had happened this year and told my friend, “I think that was it. Now we’re headed to a new place. Little by little I’m getting back up on my feet again. I’m ready for God to give me a new job.” But the strange thing is that even as I was speaking those words, a little voice whispered in my head, “That wasn’t really it...you know the last loss has to do with one of your children.” I shook it off, even though recurrent images of Abraham heading up the hill with Isaac have flashed through my mind for several years now.

The phone was ringing as I walked in the door, but I didn’t catch it. I dragged myself upstairs and plopped down on the bed, totally worn out. In a few minutes, the phone rang again. I thought about not answering it, but something made me pick it up. It was Katherine’s father-in-law, Jay. He spoke very calmly. We exchanged courtesies and then he said, “Kim, I have some news about Katherine.” Slight pause. I’m thinking, oh, did she get a part or something? But my heart starts racing before he even says, “It’s disturbing news.” I go into full-gallop tachycardia as he gently tells me that she’s been taken to the hospital with some bleeding at the base of her brain. Before I can get many details, Jay has to click over to Brooks, who’s calling him back. I am blank at that point, but not unduly alarmed because of the many health crises our extended family has experienced in the past few years. I call my surgeon friend Howard and ask him if a brain bleed is something serious. He tells me that anything concerning a daughter is serious. (Bless him, he also has three of them.) I remember standing up then and starting to walk towards my closet. Before I got past the foot of the bed, a phrase popped into my mind: “Talitha cumi.” I tried to remember where I’ve heard that and what it means. The story of Jairus’ daughter came back. How weird that that phrase should come to me....I had a flashbacky feeling from childhood about it. I dismissed it from my mind, and methodically began to pack in an efficient way that I haven’t been able to manage in years. It was as if someone else took over.

Brooks arrived home and asked what I was doing. I told him I was going to California. He said, “Just wait a minute, calm down. We don’t even really know what’s going on yet. If you still feel like you need to, I’ll take you to the airport in the morning.” I told him I needed to go then. He got on the computer and said, “Okay, if you can be ready in 5 minutes,” assuming that, based upon my previous track-record, it would be a certain impossibility. I beat him to the car.

I don’t remember all the details of that long night turning into day. I remember the cab driver getting lost, walking into a lobby packed with people, going into the Chapel with Jay to talk and pray. At one point, Amie and I were lying on a blanket on the floor of the chapel while Jay sat in a chair looking at some cards. One caught my eye. “What’s that?” I asked. A friend had written out some scriptures, songs, and words of encouragement for Jay when she heard that Katherine had been taken to the hospital. Jay handed me the top one. I got chills when I saw what was written on it: TALITHA KOUM!

When Jay, Sr. arrived the next morning, he asked that a group of us gather around for prayer. I don’t remember his exact words, but a bolt of lightning went through me when he said something like, “Lord, we ask that you will lay your hand upon Katherine and say to her, “Little girl, arise.”

What I had heard in my head at the foot of my bed was the King James translation (from my early childhood) of an Aramaic command spoken by Jesus to a little girl who had died. That girl obeyed him. She did, indeed, arise.

Kat and Jay’s friend JT made necklaces for us with the words “Talitha koum” (a more modern translation) engraved on them. I wear mine as a reminder that although the doctors thought there was very little chance that Katherine would live through that first night, she miraculously survived. I hold onto it as a memorial stone full of promise that she, too, will arise to a new life even fuller and more complete than her former one.

Many of us who are witnessing these things are rising up into newly transformed lives as well.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (II Corinthians 3:17-18)

3 comments:

Ginny Evans said...

Kim, I stand amazed once again at the depth with which you speak and the awesome God that we serve. He is doing as He did in the days of old when He raised people from the dead, allowed someone to touch His garment and be healed instantly....on and n. We tend to think these were only for Bibical days and yet, we know better. He is allowing the world to witness a miracle in your Katherine and will continue to perfect that which He has begun until she rises up and gets out of the bed!!! And she will! Thank YOU Jesus! What He is teaching all of us through your family is amazing. Faith endures!! Believing in he Word of God satisfys! HE is all we need!! HE cares! HE lives in us today! He is standing ready to answer when we ask!! He knows our weaknesses! He loves us with an unfailing love! Katherine will one day shout all of this from a podium to thousands at a time. Of this, I am confident. God's timing.........Thank you for being "Whose You Are" and for sharing the depth of your heart with us! Praying daily for Katherine and all of you. Ginny Evans

suzirockett said...

Our God He is mighty to save, He is mighty to save, our God He can move the mountains...is the song the Lord has given me along with prayingfor you all. I have written you about it before, but to repreat is to acknowlege our Lord is working in all of us waiting, watching,praying and believing for the complete healing of Kat.
You are giving us the gift of bible lessions of faith building and growing in the faith that joins us together.
Thank you for being a woman of God and honesty. You bless me so much.

sam said...

Kim,

Your words are so real, so moving and bring me right to where you are ...though I could never ever know what you going through. I want you to know that we are here with you. I think of you daily and I pray for Katherine constantly. Though the days have passed and some friends have gone on a little bit, I am still here, praying with ever growing intensity and unending faith. Like you, though sometimes saddened, my Faith compels me and even commands me to see Katherine arising with a life more full and powerful than before (which will be an amazing gift from God to witness... I thought He made her so perfect already!) I stand in faith with you mom! I stand in faith with you hand in hand though miles are between us. And I will stand with you and smile knowingly that day when Katherine arises in fullness and holds James more head over heels in love than ever!

Talitha Cumi!

My heart and prayers are with you always!

Samia Doumit Contreras