Big brother. Little brother
Josh has 3 younger brothers (and a younger sister), but only one little brother. Noah is 12 and he and Josh have shared a room for years. They have a love-hate relationship, but their time-tested love is fierce and abiding.
Noah’s heart is breaking. Over the last 2 ½ weeks I’ve had the privilege of catching some of these broken pieces as they fall. I’m saving those pieces in a very safe place.
Noah received “the news” of Josh’s prognosis, his dying, as we all did, around the dining room table. We listened. Cried. Held hands. Tim prayed at the end through tears. Our eyes searched each others eyes, peering deep into places where words can not go.
Then he ran.
Outside. Fast. Far.
Noah has always been a runner. He’s had a life-time of heartache and anguish to run from. He’s well-practiced and comes back when he’s ready. When he did that day, he hid in the corners of our house under blankets, tables and bean bag chairs.
He wasn’t ready to cry. I couldn’t blame him. It’s hard to catch a bursting dam.
I hid in the opposite corner. “I want to run away, too. I want to hide, Noah. Can I hide here?”
He shook his head yes.
It took almost 9 hours for him to give into his tears and anguish. My arms could not hold him tight enough when they final did give in.
Tonight was the 4th “broken heart catching” time for Noah and me. Each time has been priceless.
It began tonight as I was tucking him into bed.
“Dear Jesus, please be with our Joshie. Help him to feel better. Don’t let him leave me too soon. We need to have more fun together. Amen.”
His little body shook.
“I miss Joshie. Why can’t he come back to his own bed?” (Josh is now in a hospital bed in our dining room.) “I can’t talk to him any more when I’m falling asleep. I miss him talking about airplanes with me at night.”
Somewhere along the line I’ve learned to not brush children’s pain away. I don’t minimize it. I don’t marginalize it. I enter into it and let my tears mingle with theirs.
“Bible story time,” Noah quickly announced. He lined his stuffed animal up around him.
“I’m going to tell you the story about Jonah. Jonah ran away. Do you know why? His brother was dying and he couldn’t make it better, so he ran away.”
We cuddled and cried some more. In time, our wet cheeks dried to damp and our bodies stopped their trembling.
Tears gone, he had one more thing to share.
“I don’t like going to sleep, mom. It means another day is done. That means Josh is one day closer to dying.”
“You are right. I know what you mean, but it can also be a new day to have some fun with Josh.”
Before I left Noah’s side, we had a plan for the new day.
Target practice after school. Straws and Q-tips — here we come!
This is a ministry dedicated to work and rest and the time we spend doing both. Field-tested material (Promise Land: Rest Redefined~Rest Rediscovered) was to be released this Labor Day to all who subscribe. It is still in the works, not far from being done, but now no longer a priority. God recently hit the pause button, however, when our 19 year old son, Joshua, was diagnosed with Hepatopulmonary Syndrome. It’s a rare complication of liver disease that destroys the lungs. A liver transplant is the only treatment. Josh is not a candidate because he was born with Sickle Cell Anemia. We were told in May, Josh had 24 months to live. Through a series of complications and a fire where we live, Josh began a rapid descent on August 2. It hit high gear on August 20 when Josh was placed into Hospice Care. The ministry, the material, the timing is in God’s hands. It always has been. If you sign up for the blog, I’d love to send it your way when it’s done. Here’s how it begins.
Rest is not a reward.
You can’t earn it.
You don’t deserve it.
It’s a given. Part of a plan. Free of charge and full of grace, poured out from the heart of God.
Rest comes to us signed, sealed, delivered. But it is rejected. Neglected. Again and again.
Are you numbered in those ranks?
We all are—if we’re honest.
We are made for more, yet settle for less.
This website launched in March 2013. If rest is a topic that grabs your heart, we’d like to encourage you to subscribe to this weekly blog. The information to do so is located on the right hand side of this page. Along the way, we’ve encouraged folks to read the first 12-weeks of posts found in the archives. (But no rush. Go slow.) Start with Week 1 (from March). Each post is numbered and lays an important foundational insight into the life-giving rhythm Run hard. Rest well.
Brenda Jank is a thought leader in the arena of Restorative Wellness. Find additional resources and support for yourself and those you love, lead and serve at www.RunHardRestWell.org