Saturday, August 22, 2009

katherine's eyes

“But it is her eyes that make me want to wail like those women whose “weeping was heard in Ramah.” Those big beautiful aqua eyes, clear as a pristine sea, are out of Katherine’s control. Eyes that could pierce straight through you, eyes that focused in on you as if you’re the only one that matters, now roll around the sockets like big blue-green glass marbles. The right one is infected, red, and suppurating. The pupil hides in the inner corner for the most part, like it’s afraid of what it will see if it comes out. The left is constantly jumping around, but I know she can see out of it. A tear rolled down her cheek when I showed her a picture of James. (But, tough chick that she is, she let me know she wanted to see more.) Most of the time a black patch covers one eye (alternating sides), so she looks like a battered little pirate.” (“A Bruised Reed,” April 29, 2008)

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I snuck out to the living room for some early-morning quiet time. We have a full house in the aftermath of Katherine’s most recent surgery, so time alone is a gift.

With a click and a scroll, I time-traveled back to where we were 16 months ago.

Perspective is everything, we keep telling ourselves. I needed some perspective after yesterday.


Several months back, my mother said something like, “Well, I’m just glad I didn’t know how my family was going to turn out. We used to be so happy!” Of course, I took it the wrong way at the time. But now I understand what she meant.

I am so very, very grateful that the future is hidden from us. People that consult mediums and psychics must be masochists. (Among other things.)

I am filled with gratitude that I couldn’t comprehend how severe and utterly life-changing Katherine’s brain rupture was at the time. The revelation came slowly, an onion unpeeling layer by layer. The mind possesses an amazing resiliency in protecting itself. I simply could not have wrapped mine around the devastating reality all at once. Each day’s trouble WAS enough. Dear Lord, please let Katherine live through the night. Dear Lord, please heal the pneumonia. Dear Lord, please don’t let the brain swell anymore... bleed anymore... Please help her to stop shaking... hurting... freezing... burning. Please let her move... speak... walk... eat...


As I said in April, 2008, it was her eyes that got to me the most.

Katherine’s eyes were the very first thing I noticed about her. She gave me a good, long stare just as soon as she popped out, as my mother says I did to her the first time we saw each other. (Babies aren’t supposed to be able to see at that point, but we don’t believe it.)

Katherine’s eyes took up half her face.

They were always her defining feature.

Katherine’s eyes were the most expressive eyes I’ve ever seen.

Katherine’s eyes...

...sparkled with the joy of life

...flashed with anger at injustice

...narrowed at hypocrisy

...moistened with compassion

...crinkled with laughter

...widened with wonder

...saw deep beneath the surface into the very heart.

We blithely escorted Katherine to surgery on Thursday, naively expecting a presto-chango quick-fix restoration of her eyes. I was more excited than nervous about the surgery. I imagined that the surgeon would remove her bandages the next day, and her eyes would be miraculously back to normal, both aesthetically and functionally.

But that was not the case.

"What fresh hell is this?” Dorothy Parker once wondered sardonically.

Katherine’s ‘fresh hell’ is that, for now, the double vision is worse, not better.

Her world is grayer, not rosier.

It is hard for all of us to bear.

But I know that many times, things have to get worse before they get better.

And most times, prayers are answered in stages, so that faith has an opportunity to stretch and grow.

I thought of this story:

“They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"

He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around."
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly."
(Mark 8:22-25)

I’m praying for some Celestial Spit.


“I will not drive them (enemies) out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.” (Exodus 23:29-30)

“It is here promised that they should be guided and kept in their way through the wilderness to the land of promise... How rich are the particulars of this promise! The comfort of their food, the continuance of their health, the increase of their wealth, the prolonging their lives to old age. Thus hath godliness the promise of the life that now is. It is promised that they should subdue their enemies....Enemies are subdued by little and little; thus we are kept on our guard, and in continual dependence on God. Corruptions are driven out of the hearts of God's people, not all at once, but by little and little. (from Matthew Henry’s Commentary)

“I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” (Psalm 116:1-2) Text Color


*This was written early Saturday morning, after a rough day on Friday. This morning (Monday) Katherine goes back to see her wonderful surgeon, where the next step will be discussed. This is just the beginning. We have great hope that “little by little” the healing will continue. Jay will post the details on caringbridge when time permits. Thank you for continuing to pray!


Capital Chef said...

Your post has brought me to tears. I have stopped everything as I sit in my harshly lit cubicle and prayed for your family and for Katherine's vision and spirit. Please keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

If I have learned anything at all from witnessing this ordeal from a distance, it is that time heals. Especially someone that is a fighter like Katherine. She'll see clear as a bell, so to speak, very soon. I'm sure of it.

Hang in there.

Much love,


Linda said...

How many times I've felt I needed that celestial spit on my soul. Even though I thought I'd "gotten it" I kept seeing my spiritual needs as through a glass darkly. We are truly sad about the results but, as I said to Katherine earlier today by email, God is doing such a work. We won't know until eternity all He's been doing but I am especially praying I'll live to see(or see from heaven) how He's planning to use James.
You are all so loved,