But God compels

1 Corinthians 9:16-17, 26 Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News! I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust…I run with purpose in every step.

Paul was compelled to preach. I feel compelled to write. What sacred trust has God given you?

“This one’s a fighter.” The veteran nurse smiled back as Karis gurgled and grinned, enjoying her bath. “That’s why she’s still alive, not all this paraphernalia. I’ve not known another baby so passionate to live. Don’t lose sight of HER in the middle of all this medical stuff.”

The nurse showed me how to navigate with soap and water between and around the ileostomy on her Karis’s tiny tummy, the Broviac catheter coiled on her chest, the naso-gastric tube emerging from her nose and taped to her cheek.

Hiding most of this under a frilly dress, and taping a matching bow to her bald head, the nurse said, “Go home to your little son. He needs you too.” She settled Karis into a stroller, grasping her IV pole with one practiced hand. “I’ll take Karis around with me to cheer up the other patients.”

At PACA, her school in Brazil, her shirt covering the central line through which she was fed every night.

LIFE in capital letters compelled Karis. On her birthday yesterday, I reflected on how apparent this was even at a few weeks old. And how her bright smile continued cheering others for the next thirty years, years the doctors told us she would never live. “Unplug everything and let her die now,” they told us. “That’s the merciful thing to do for her.”

No. God knew we needed her smile, even through the tough times and the pain. Her zest for life invigorated us. Again and again after that first time, God’s restoring touch reached down to meet her heart’s thirst for more, more of this life, more time with her Beloved, as she called those she loved (virtually everyone who crossed her path). Until finally, she said, “Father, take me Home.”

And now she is truly living LIFE. I imagine her joy and enthusiasm infecting everyone in Heaven as she welcomes more of the Beloved into her Father’s home through these Covid months. Crooning cradle songs in Portuguese over more than two thousand babies dead from Covid in Brazil, but growing up now well and strong. I see her delighting in Jane Pool’s stories and finding just the right shade to paint our dear Alicia Helmick’s nails, wearing one of a collection of brightly-colored shirts saying “Been there. Got the T-shirt.”

Comforting the hundreds of pastors from across Latin America taken as they steadfastly cared for their people: the Good Shepherd will raise up others to love their congregations and their families. Listening intently as those who found life too hard on Earth pour out their stories and find healing in the presence of the Lord . . .

She’s busy. She’s well and strong. Happy. Thrilled with LIFE.

And I miss her.

2 thoughts on “But God compels

  1. Beautiful photo and beautiful memories of Karis! I’d shared a copy of Todo lo que veo es Gracia with Susi, whom you’ve met. She said she’s reading slowly, due to her “mar de lágrimas”, but is treasuring it and thanks you for the courage to share Karis’s inspiring story.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s