The Gift of Time



I am not sure if December has come at a snail’s pace or in a hurry for you, but I pray that is a blessing to your family.

I want to share with you a lesson the Lord taught me during my last Christmas Season with my daughter Claire. We were scheduled for an intense inpatient chemo mid December, and the hospital stay would last through January. Our family had already spent a majority of our time at Duke since July upon her diagnosis.  Birthdays, Thanksgiving, now Christmas and the New Year would be celebrated in a sterile room the size of a generous closet. As you can tell by my tone, it was too much, I was broken and in need of restoration.

On December 17th 2013, we had been checked in to the clinic, admitted to the hospital, and placed in a room. Claire was sitting on her bed, eating yogurt, and receiving her usual monthly preventative IV antibiotic Pentamadine. After the medicine had been administered our nurse was simply flushing the line with saline to insure Claire received all of the antibiotic. All of a sudden her face became red, she was clearly in distress, and crying out in pain. As I held her, the nurse ran from the room to go get a doctor to evaluate this unusual situation. Moments after leaving, my daughter’s body tensed up one last time, there was one last cry, and then she threw herself back in my arms. Her body went limp, her eyes rolled back, and she was non responsive. The only thing I could do was call out my husband’s name “JORDAN!” He sprang into action, pulling the code alarm our my room. I couldn’t help but think, “What is happening?” “ Is this it?”

Within seconds, our room was flooded with nurses, emergency medical teams, PICU doctors, specialists, and more. Claire was taken from my arms, placed on the bed, and they began to work. Her heart rate was very high, blood pressure very low, no one could arouse her. Doctors were discussing causes, interventions, tests to run, and follow up treatments. Quickly we were rushed to the PICU, doctors still unsure of a cause.Bacterial emboli? No. Pulmonary embolism? No. Stroke? No. More tests, more negative results, more theories scratched off the list.

As soon as the chaos settled, I crawled into bed with my daughter, and held her tight. The bed I snuggled her in did not matter, the room we spent time in together did not matter, the day on the calendar did not matter, the only thing that mattered was that we were together. All of a sudden, the hospital was a beautiful place to be. The small space was not confining. The day on the calendar was unimportant. And I was over flowing with joy when my daughter sat up in bed the next morning and smiled.

The Lord saw the struggle in my heart, and lead me through it while doing a great work in my soul. He replaced my irritation, impatience, and anger with pure unbridled joy and gratitude. He realigned my priorities, and gave me the gift of time. Not more time, not time free from struggle, but he gave me an appreciation for the time I have and the people I spend it with. It is a lesson I hold dear to my heart and try to lean on even today. Our children, our families, and our loved ones are what make life a blessing.

Life is but a mist in the wind, short and fleeting.  I do not want to miss it's goodness distracted by my fleshly response the struggles we face in this world. I want to let my spirit lead me to love each moment and the people in it despite the circumstance.

May God bless your family this Christmas Season where you are, and whatever you may be facing. God has gone before you and prepared you. Let his joy and peace fill your hearts this Christmas season and the year to come.

In Christian Love, Connie Parker