My husband got sick last week and passed out in the bathtub. It wasn’t normal passing out though, he started to convulse like he was having a seizure and for two handfuls of seconds I thought maybe he was dying. He’s got no history of seizures. Well, he came to and we found out later that some people seize when they faint, that we shouldn’t be worried. I have been though. I wake up at night and check if he’s breathing, and two nights ago I dreamed he passed out and tinked his head on the concrete floor. I say “tinked” because that’s how I heard the impact in my dream, sickeningly. He was out cold and bleeding from two gashes on his skull, an apparition of a voice described to me the specific names of the hematomas he was experiencing. I screamed for someone to call 911 and when I got a human on the phone he said they wouldn’t send an ambulance, but I should bring him to the “Acid Ward of the new hospital.” He woke up in the dream too.
It’s hard to stop thinking about it. I mean, he just passed out. People pass out for all kinds of non-threatening reasons. But I was standing right there at the edge of the tub when it happened and it didn’t look like someone passing out. It looked like the last gasp of life before someone dies in a movie. When he regained consciousness I started sobbing. Great big lung-racking sobs. And I’ve never loved him more.
The episode gave me pause to reflect on his preciousness. It was like cleaning out the closet of my heart, shoving aside all the old crap and useless junk and at the bottom of the pile finding the most valuable thing I’ve ever owned. It was there all along, the love, you know? And I knew it, but petty stuff sometimes clouded it out. The act we call taking for granted.
I didn’t know I was doing it. Andrew and I have a terribly sweet relationship, daily filled with grace, affection and forgiveness. We get really mad sometimes and then almost immediately relent with hugs and kisses. We don’t like being away from one another and most nights we touch backs while sleeping. And yet, the sight of him naked and contorting in the bathtub purged me of even the slightest ill feeling, stripping my pride and judgement and selfish desire. Showing me plainly how much I need God. Truly, how helpless I am.
Not helpless in a self-defeating way, but in a real and honest way: There was nothing I could do to save him, had he been dying, had he really needed help. It’s strangely freeing, as I think Jesus is meant to be. At the intersection of surrendering my own inability and choosing faith, is freedom–freedom from self-reliance and independence and needing to do it all on my own. We weren’t created relationally to be an island, we are meant for a multidimensional network of love that extends out in all directions, toward others and toward God. And only there, in Divine relationship, does the saving happen–saving from sickness and death and mourning by transcendent love.
It was terrifying to watch Andrew pass out in such an unusual way, and it would be tragic if something fatal happened to him so early in life. I would be wrecked. But this episode reminded me how precious our life together is and how desperate we are for a Savior. I can see now, choosing to see, how my prayers for healing were answered, because sometimes our sickness isn’t only in the body, but in the heart and spirit. One day Andrew will pass on, his body will succumb, and yet I will not be alone.
Carrot Pumpkin Soup
3 tbsp butter
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 small orange bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 large carrots, coined small
1/2 tsp dried ginger
1/4 tsp paprika
6 cups vegetable broth
1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large stock pot. Once the fat is melted, add the chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic and sauté until onions turn translucent. Add the carrots and sauté five more minutes, then stir in the ginger and paprika and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
Next, stir in the six cups of broth, pumpkin, and salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
When the carrots can be easily punctured with a fork, remove the pot from the stove. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, a traditional blender will work fine, you may just need to process it in batches. When the desired consistency is reached, return the pot to the stove, add the coconut milk, and cook five more minutes or until hot. Serve piping.
Makes four-five large servings and six-seven smaller. Takes about an hour, all chopping considered.
In the spirit of wellness, make this soup for someone you cherish.