Life is always, all ways, good.


It was June 6th, 2012.

He was working as a teacher and we were in love.

But boy, was he annoying.  I mean.

Every.

Single.

Day.

Turned the living room into a raging sweat-box during workouts to the aptly named “Insanity” video.  Cursing and screaming at the television and quoting scripture. (Huh?!?!)

I swear this seemed to go on for hours.

That morning he woke up with a crick in his side.  It was nowhere near as bad as the time I woke up feeling like my second toe was broken.  Who does that? In their sleep? Like, did a night-elf wrestle with my foot… And win?  34 year-old bodies do things like that.  Especially when you’re working out like he was.  And it got worse.  Which is to be expected after walking around all day teaching.

That night I woke up late and wandered groggily toward the bathroom, noticing the golden sliver on the dark wood floor that meant the light was on in the dining room.  I opened the hallway door to see him sitting at the table, huddled in a quilt, a grimace on his face as he tried to sleep sitting up.  It had gotten much worse.

My spidey-senses sounded the alarm and adrenaline kicked in: He agreed to go to the hospital and get it checked out.  I dressed in moments and drove to the same ER I’ve used for years in the South Bay.

We filled out the paperwork and waited:

pain20scale201

Eight.

😦

Hours later he was admitted but they had no idea what was wrong and wanted to run tests.  He rested in a hospital gown on the ER bed while the nurse injected morphine.  Concerned but unafraid I happily filled the role of spirit-lifter, confident in the assurance of medicine and the promise of health experts nearby.  He was definitely exhausted from pain and insomnia but still in high spirits.  The nurse left and he lay there, eyes closed.  I sat in a nearby chair observing him calmly, knowing his pain had subsided.

Then machines started beeping.

Numbers started plummeting.

66…55…48…

The beeping quickened.

No one came.

32…24…20…

I cried out.

No one came.

Zero is flatline.

Beeping faster…

I ran to the hallway to get help.

In a flurry of light, fanning hands and yelling, three nurses and I struggled to revive him.

The beeping continued.

“Look at me!” I cried, over and over.

His eyes, rolled back in his head settled forward under hooded lids and battled for focus on mine.

With massive effort, he saw me and life flooded back into him, his arms and body no longer limp, his mind clearing, numbers rising.

The beeping stopped.

“That was close,”  said the nurse, laughing nervously.

I was afraid.  Helpless.  Untethered.  Holding his hand, the warmth of his skin promised life.  Love.  Our future.  Our children.  I prayed.

He smiled and cracked jokes while I tried not to let him see the tears that kept welling up.  The same nurse who administered the morphine returned with contrast fluid for a test.

“Don’t worry, this won’t kill you,” she joked.  He laughed.  I snapped.   Forty minutes later I stood next to him, alone in a long, quiet white hallway.  Nothing beeped anymore because there were no machines hooked up to him.  I wanted the warning.  Silence was insidious, withholding, secretive.

5 minutes passed.

10.

15.

20.

30.

Terrified, I wrote a desperate journal entry on my phone:

And they just left him in the hallway, no monitor on, no nurse.  I don’t know what’s going on and they’re not telling me anything.  I love him so much. 

So much.

I’m trying hard to be calm and am praying but now he’s asleep and it’s so quiet. 

When the supervisor saw my distress he asked the lab tech what was taking so long.  I listened silently as she lied to the supervisor.
“It’s only been five minutes, maybe ten.”
Still, he laid there in silence.  I prayed he slept peacefully.
He returned to his cubicle in the ER and slept longer while we waited for news.  Helpless and alone, I touched his arm, his face, buoyed by the warmth of his skin.  I prayed because there was nothing else I could do.  It was Wednesday morning now.  I let folks at our respective jobs know we wouldn’t be coming to work that day.  Let my church know I wouldn’t be at rehearsal for the worship team and asked them to pray for us.
Still high on adrenaline and anxious to know what had happened, I wasn’t hungry and no one offered me food.
He remained asleep and I wanted his strength, his joy, his peace.
All I had was God.
I prayed.
Finally a cheerful doctor with an Eastern European accent came and sat on a stool at the foot of his bed, looking at his chart.
“Wow,” he remarked and asked the nurse if he had the right chart.  He asked a lot of questions about his lifestyle, whether he runs and exercises, had traveled recently, was on any medication.
“So we found out what’s going on.  You have pulmonary embolism.  Which, people usually just drop dead.  And you’re still here so that’s good.  We don’t know why, but that’s good.”
(Laughter).
“Those are blood clots in your lungs, both lungs and it looks like you have quite a few.  Usually what can happen is the clot form in the thigh, or other part of the body and it breaks loose and travels like a bullet, upwards.  If it goes to your heart, brain or lungs, boom.  Sudden death.”
(Smiles).
“But you don’t have them in the thighs it doesn’t look like, so we just don’t know.  But we are going to transfer you to your hospital.  The ambulance will be here shortly.  So good news!”
The doctor left the room.
He looked at me, a look of amused shock on his face.  I sat next to him again and we held hands in silence.  Eventually we talked, he slept again and I went to buy lunch as we hadn’t eaten in nearly 24 hours.
Hours later the ambulance came and they took him away, with my agreement to follow them to the hospital.
The car radio was being repaired and as I drove in silence, waves of tears flowed.  Crying out in prayer I began to sing, softly at first, then in a lioness roar.
“You hold my every moment.
You calm my raging seas.
You walk with me through fire, and heal all my disease.
I trust in you.
I trust in you…
I believe, you’re my healer.
I believe, you are all I need…”
We got to the hospital.  His room had a view.
IMG_20120607_101024
After the new doctor and nurses had checked in night had fallen.
I drove home to pack an overnight bag, snacks and shower.  The rushing water washed every last sob from me and I cried out for the truth: That we have peace, health, sound body and mind, victory, strength, love, joy, provision and power.
Damnit.
I drove back to the hospital and setup all our sleepover goodies.  It was hard to sleep that night.  Someone in the hospital was howling in agony.  As screams filled the darkness we prayed together.
Peace settled again.
We rested.
In the days that followed doctors expressed confusion and surprise at his diagnosis and lifestyle.  He was readmitted once and released the same day.  Other than a little facial scruff and an unflattering, asexual hospital gown, he looked no different.
For a while I had to give him shots in his decidedly limited stomach fat to thin his blood.
Then he took pills, getting blood work done regularly.
In December of 2012, they said he was fine and would never need to take more blood thinners.
And he has been ever since.
In December of 2013 he proposed.
In October we’ll be married.
It took me a long time to realize this wasn’t only his testimony.  With everything stripped away, I found power,  Overcame attachment and fear, released the need to control.
More than anything, I learned to forgive.
Completely.
In the midst of all of it, mundane annoyances, offenses promises didn’t matter.  Nothing mattered, except that there was breath in his body.
In the looming shadow of death, the indomitable light of life shone, priceless.  It washed out everything that wasn’t love and left only joy, peace and God in its wake.
So if nothing else, when we’re married and I’m pissed off about stinky socks and pushing out babies…
Maybe I’ll always remember how valuable the warmth of his skin is, full of life.
And I won’t fuss quite as much.
He’s a writer.
Every day he sends devotionals to an ever-growing group of family, friends and strangers.
This is what he wrote after the ambulance ride 6/6/2012:
On Wednesday, June 62012, Ebenezer Quaye wrote:

Psalm 37:24 NKJV

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.

The phrase “It’s in God’s hands” is, at times, mistakenly used to denote helplessness. There is nothing helpless about being in the hand of God, in fact it is the position of greatest strength. It takes strength and faith to rest in His hand and resist the temptation to move in our own strength. Let’s allow God’s hand to be our true strength at all times. It is better to fall and find the hand of God than to never fall and only know standing on our own two feet. It’s all about faith…

Peace and Blessings,

This is what he wrote the third day of his hospital stay:
Friday June 8, 2012
Psalm 39:4, 5 NLT
“LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”
God works in order, there is no chaos in who He is. The fact that there is a number to our days is not by accident. Along with that number there is a purpose He has placed in us we are specifically designed to fulfill. Being aware that our days are numbered is not designed to frighten or depress us, only to impress upon us the significance of searching out and fulfilling His purpose for us. The danger in procrastination is that it perverts what little we know and comprehend of God’s divine timing. It falsely convinces us we can get around to whatever God has put in our hearts to do in our own time. Let’s do whatever we need to do to fulfill His purpose for us in its due time. The fulfillment of His purpose for us is one of the most amazing feelings we will ever know. It’s all about faith…

Peace and Blessings,

Ebenezer
This is what he wrote 6/5/2014 before we went to our tasting for the wedding:

Matthew 26:7-16  NLT

While he was eating,[b] a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head. The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. “It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”

10 But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? 11 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. 12 She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. 13 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”

14 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests 15 and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.

We never actually find out the woman’s name or the exact worth of the perfume. All we know is how right Jesus was when he said “I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”

When the woman was finished what the disciples called “a waste” Jesus saw differently. He and the woman knew the value of the anointing that took place. When Judas did what he thought brought value (30 pieces of silver) the regret of his deed ended up killing him.

Jesus’ assessment of value brought fulfillment, while Judas’ assessment of value led to to him, in effect, wasting his life.

When it was time to do her great deed there was no price that could keep her from accomplishing her feat. She knew that the greatest thing she could do in that moment was to anoint Jesus with the oil. The woman didn’t allow the worldly value of what she had to blind her to the spiritual value of honoring Jesus with her life.

Her deed far outweighed her name, position or the cost of the oil in her alabaster jar.

The contrast between the woman with the alabaster jar and Judas could not be any greater.

One deed served God, the other served man.

Judas’ deed is remembered and discussed as well. He took 30 silver pieces and committed a betrayal so great to this day his name has become synonymous with betrayal. His greed blinded him to believe that currency was worth his allegiance to his Lord and Savior.

Our names, our position, what we looked like and/or the price we pay all become irrelevant when the time comes to honor God with our deeds. We must always remain aware of the value of the moment(s) God calls us to sacrifice to honor Him, so much so that there is nothing we could be offered to let that moment pass.

 

When faced with choosing what deeds to accomplish in our lives let’s choose the deed that serves God and know that whatever the cost it is worth it. The great moments when we are given the opportunity to honor God in our lives are priceless. Our deeds will far outweigh our name. In fact our deeds are the foundation for the value of our name when we are gone. Living a life where we consistently honor God with what we do gives the greatest, most established and lasting value our name and story can ever have.

 

It’s all about faith…

 

 

Peace and Blessings,

 

Ebenezer


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Ebenezer

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6 Replies to “Life is always, all ways, good.”

  1. Thank your for sharing such a vulnerable moment with honesty. Thank your for illusrrating what it means to act upon the faith we claim we have. Many will be encouraged by your words; myself included.

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