Saturday, April 20, 2013

Thoughts on Prayer Part Three: Where to go and what to do when you don't even know what to pray

And so it begins. I've debated about how best to detail my experiences, and the best that I can think to do is go chronologically. To allow myself to revisit emotions, and experiences as they happened. Some of these recaps will be taken from actual post drafts that never saw publishing. Some will be taken from facebook statuses.

And for the moment, there is at least one critical storyline that will remain untold. I always aim to be transparent. If people will take the time to read my words, I feel I owe it to them to be honest and open. However, one very critical piece of the puzzle must be held back; I am hopeful that in time it too can be shared, but for now, just know I am giving what I can.

Monday, April 1

I arrive in Miami after an Easter weekend with my family. I am overwhelmed by many things that had happened, but arrive to my house in good spirits. I had a moment on my drive home in which things made sense. I had noticed lately that my prayer journal was a bit sparse. I didn't really have complaints, life seemed to be making sense in most domains. I had friends with problems, but I was thankful to be in a place where I could be support for them, and I was appreciating the lull in my life. I acknowledged the moment of peace for what it was, at the same time wondering if my life was about to change.

When I arrived home I noticed my rabbit, Lilly, was not doing well. She seemed withdrawn and I noticed her litterbox seemed suspiciously clean. I offered her new food and water, changed her litterbox, and prayed for the best.

Tuesday, April 2

I wake up to find my rabbit shuddering in the corner, clearly having not peed in almost 24 hours. I debate calling the vet right away, but know I need to get to work, and fear this is just old age. After some prayer, I decide to go to work and see what happens. I know from my dog's passing that sometimes animals wait until their humans leave to pass; I decide if she is still alive when I get home I will see about vet care, and I pray to God, asking him to keep her from pain, I tell him that I don't want to let go, but at the same time I am ready to give her up if its in her best interest, I go to work distraught, but appreciative of the distraction. I hold it together for most of the day, confiding in a few friends that I am half-convinced I will get home and find my rabbit dead. I'm doing alright... until an hour before the end of my shift when I get a call from the emergency room. There has been a suicide, and attempts to revive the patient were unsuccessful., They need me to come down right then and provide bereavement support for the family.

I fall apart.

Hysterical bawling in an empty room, I am shocked and angry at God for rubbing salt in my wound, I have nothing to give this family, I am on empty myself. A friend simply tells me "God will give you the strength". I immediately calm. I know I have nothing to give this family, my batteries are dry, but in that moment I pray to God and 'plug in ' metaphorically to his strength, and I go downstairs. I do my job, and I do it without falling apart. I get in my car and drive home, not sure of what i will see.

She's alive. She's clearly deteriorating rapidly, but she's alive. I am confused about what to do; scared about what a vet could cost, and if it's just old age, should I let her go. A friend steps to the plate, without even being asked, and starts calling vets. Finds the only one in Miami that takes rabbits, and will do emergency services, She simply texts me the number so without extra thought I can call. I do. I talk to the tech who informs me that it WILL be costly, but yes, this doesn't sound good. He offers he can call the vet, let me talk to him and then go from there. I agree. I pray again to God to make it clear to me what I should do.

The tech calls back five minutes later. The vet himself is in the emergency room and is not able to meet with me. However, he can see me first thing the next morning. I take that as a sign from God I am supposed to wait til morning. My friend drives over, unasked, and sits with me for several hours that night, simply so I don't have to be alone. For the first time I appreciate, really appreciate, why my families appreciate me. Not being alone means so much. I don't need her to fix it, I don't need her to tell me what to do, I simply need her to be there. And she is. She keeps me sane, She prays with me, she calms me down. She inconveniences herself because she wants to serve me. I realize how blessed I am to have such incredible friends; even when I don't have it in me to ask of them, they still give anyway. I calm enough to be able to sleep, and after she leaves I get down on my knees and begin actually asking God to heal her. Not give me the strength as I normally ask, not just your will be done. I start asking for things, which I have had so many problems with normally. I beg God not to take her.  As I finish my prayer, I start to write, and although I don't post, the writing is therapeutic:

(Written that night)
I'm struggling a lot at the moment. I apologize as this is not going to be the most 'poetic' of posts. Oftentimes I write as an attempt to make sense of my own thoughts. If my last post was indulgent, this one is chaotic, and innately personal. There is nothing more vulnerable and human that truly expose yourself without the facade and polish of gramatical/verbose writing. If you choose to read further bear with me. This post is simply for me, but I welcome you on my journey if you so desire to tag along.

Easter 2011

That's Lilly. We got her in 2007; my previous bunny had died after losing a battle with uterine cancer. Lovely right? I kept half-seriously joking with my parents that we needed another rabbit. I didn't live at home at the time, so I wasn't entirely pushing them, but it would come up occassionally. That year for Easter my parents surprised me by taking me to a rabbit shelter and letting me choose one to come home.  Lilly chose me. Except her name was Cookie at the time. We changed it. Obviously.

She's been with me through it all over the past 6 years, and I have loved every (almost) second of it. To say she has sass is an understatement; she is the epitome of stubbornness and there are many a night we stay up late bickering. In her world, I am her posession. She owns me, and loves me in her own way. Every time I have moved, every time my life has changed, Lilly has been there for a cuddle (followed by a very determined stomp and cold shoulder if it was not her idea). She has more personality than some people I know, and to quote a friend of mine "Lilly- if you were a person I think we would be really good friends".

And tonight I need prayer because she is sick and I am at a crossroads. I came home from break yesterday and instantly knew something was up.. I wasn't overtly worried, she has had similar stunts, but always bounced back. Yet something seemed different this time. When I woke up this morning, the lethargy had continued and concern rapidly grew as I noticed she was visibly shaking with pain and refusing to eat.

I felt God speak to me in that moment, and I very acutely felt him telling me that it was time to let go. Fear of losing my baby has consumed me for a while. At a juncture in my life where nothing is solid and nothing is certain, having my 'security blanket' of sorts has been my source of comfort. When things are rough and I can't make sense of any of it, I have her.

I felt God prompt me to say goodbye, and I left this morning fully expecting to never see her alive again. I hugged her, told her I loved her, and then prayed to God begging her to take her out of her pain, and to make the end fast if that was what was in store. I knew that if she were dying she would hold out until I left as most animals do, and I couldn't bear the thought of sitting at home waiting, for hours for the inevitable. If I could manage, I needed the distraction of my job. I pulled it together for work as best I could, falling a part here or there when talking of it, but holding it together remarkably well. Remarkably well, that is, until I got a call an hour before the end of my shift, requesting I come down to the emergency room to assist with a bereavement.

I fell apart. I lost it. I bawled into my friends shoulder, sure I couldn't deal with this. I prayed like never before for God's strength to get me through this ordeal; I mopped up my tears, went downstairs, and did my job.  As I drove home I told my mother that I really was hoping for one of two outcomes when I got home: 1) that Lilly was back to normal, pooping and peeing, stomping up a storm. or 2) that she had passed

When I came home, Lilly was there to greet me, but I could tell things were not well. Then the questions started though, was this really old age or something treatable? Should I take her to the vet, spending massive amounts of money maybe in vain or let her pass slowly at home, running the risk that she might be in pain? Was it selfishness that would push me to do anything necessary, selfishness of not wanting to lose her and keeping her alive past her 'time'? Or would I ever live down the Mommy guilt of not taking care of her when she needed me most?

I found myself in a predicament: although I pray on a regular basis, suddenly I wasn't sure HOW to pray. Do I ask God to heal her? How do I ask? What do I ask? Is it something entirely different than a normal prayer?

I needed to pray, and I didn't know how.

So I forced myself to go to bed, and to find it in my heart to trust that somehow it would all be alright. 

To be continued

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Thanks for taking this journey with me! I always love to hear your thoughts and promise to respond whenever possible.