Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Compassion...not done yet...

We just got back from the neurosurgeon. All at this point looks good. Jake just yesterday finished his 70 days of antibiotics. Now we need to wait a few more weeks to makes sure no infections develop because if they are there when they put the plate in it will take on the infection. The next step is in the next couple of weeks there will be a specialized CT scan which designs the synthetic composite plate which will cap his brain. Then within 6 weeks we will have surgery to open up the muscle flap which currently covers his brain and they will secure the plate and put the muscle flap back over the plate. Then down the road will talk about how we can get hair back on the left side of his head. Friends are suggesting he stick to a mohawk but Jake is not biting.

Tuesday we confer with the surgeons for Jake's thumb. Indications right now seem to lead to separate surgeries for a number of factors but we will see. As I continue to tell Jacob..."we are not done yet."

This morning as we were helping Jake get dressed for the doctor - he was pretty low. He got a little dizzy when he got up earlier and had fallen - pretty scary for all. Limitations can be so frustrating. He teared up a bit and said what we have all said many times "I just don't understand why." A lot of answers come to mind - but I am not going to try to convince him and shut him down by telling him what I think. I want him and God to wrestle a bit together as Jacob later named Israel wrestled with God and had his own limp afterward. I just stuck my head in his chest and cried with him. I hurt so badly for him - I want to do something - act in a way to help - that is compassion. Yet the actions that often come from watching another's pain is not always the actions that should be taken. What I deem as compassionate acts may actually be selfish in nature.

There is a difference between relating to someone else's suffering and reacting with compassion. The Greek word actually is a word that describes a churning in the bowels. We have all had that - many of you in Jacob's story - perhaps even last week thinking the little boy was flying away in a balloon. But compassion does not stop at the churning - it moves us to action.

Ever been in a conversation (maybe this is a guy thing) where people are sharing stories and trying to top the other? I have done it and felt it - trying to fit in - trying to relate - trying to top the other person. You know look at my scar that I got when I cut my finger. Oh yea? Look at mine when I got caught in a bear trap. Oh well look at mine from electricity and skin grafts and muscles being removed. (Jake's scars will trump most.)

We can get so caught up in our story that we miss the story in front of us. I had pangs of regret today as I thought of this for myself. A couple of weeks ago I was walking into Taco Bell and there was a guy in front asking for money. I usually say no because I do not want to give money for drugs or alcohol - my justification for being cheap. In this case I offered to buy him something. So I bought him burrito of his choice at Taco Bell - big spender. I gave it to him and asked his name and where he was going. He had just graduated and was bumming up and down the coast. Okay see you later. Today I am really wishing that I would have taken the time to invite him to eat with me - to really find out his story. I also really wanted to tell him Jacob's story. Not because I wanted to trump his story but because I wanted - pure and simple to find a way for our stories to intersect.

That is what Jesus did; he asked people questions; he talked to them; he stopped what his life for a moment to find out their story. Then he shared a portion of his story, and we get to see the power of the Spirit of God working from that encounter. One of my favorite examples is Jesus on his way to heal the child of a high powered official. Ministry highlight for most us. Can you imagine being called to the White House to pray for healing over the daughter of the President? But in the midst of this mission a women with serious health issues - could not stop bleeding - touched the edge of his cloak.

Jesus was in the midst of a crowd when it happened and he stopped and asked who had touched him. His disciples looked at him and said, "are you kidding me? Who did not touch you, would be an easier question." Jesus stopped turned around and sought out this woman who had been healed by a simple touch of the edge of his clothing. He stopped and looked into her eyes... and the stories collide. This woman is forever changed - many who watched were forever changed.

See Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56; Math 9:18-26

There is a lot in this story as I start remembering it now and realize how much it applies to Jacob's Journey - our journey. Jesus stopped as we touched the edge of his cloak with our prayers and turned his attention on this story of Jacob who he has been healing - who he saved.

I can get so caught up in what I think God has for me.
I get so focused on what I think I should be doing for God.
I seem to create a plan for God instead of the other way around.

On his way to heal a little girl- a father's precious daughter - he stopped. This woman was bleeding for years a few more days would not hurt - he could have come back. She already got healed he did not need to stop. Healing this little girl was the big time. The father was a spiritual leader in the community, and he seemed to understand the power of Jesus and willingly submitted to his authority. Jesus stopped may have stopped but he was still in control. He still had power to heal and knew full well what he was doing.

In the midst of my plan, keep me in God's plan. He cares deeply about those that are marginalized, ostracized, persecuted, broken. He stops and takes the time to touch them - to care for them - to bring a little healing to their wounded day. A cup of cold water goes a long way.

Acts of compassion are not easy, are not convenient, and are more creative than you can imagine. I wonder if it is not just about acting on what God is laying on our heart. I got an email from a dental office who wants to give Jacob a portion of what they make off of teeth whitening. They have been trying to figure out a creative way to help. Amazing. I met a new friend at Bay Federal Credit Union - she did a garage sale and gave the money away. Compassion moves to action. I think that is why we wanted to have people give blood - it is a selfless act that benefits others.

We are not yet done - there are plenty of opportunities to act on what God is placing on our heart - let us not mind the interruption but let compassion lead.

Tom (JK Daddy)

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