Sunday, February 8, 2009

Paths That Cross

Last summer when Mark was so sick, as he lay in his bed so weak and helpless, all we could think about was how to make him comfortable. As his father I would have traded places with him in a heartbeat, but I couldn't. He was alone in his struggle and he had no voice. All I could do is sit there and watch.

My work is like that too. Every morning I trade morning giggles with Marky, offer our prayers for a few special warrior friends, and then I head off to the shop. There I work with individuals who also experience great struggles, alone and with little or no voice. It seems that all I can do is be near.

I want to share their stories in all their sad detail, but I don't want to expose them in all their private pain. What's more, I don't know how to make sense of any of it. It's like sitting beside Marky's bed and watching him grimace and then trying to guess why.  But I must tell you some because all of the stories have leaned over the side of Mark's bed and shed a tear.

There was this guy who lived in the valley. One stormy summer evening, while he was out scoring some crack, a large tree fell on the exact spot where his sleeping bag was. When he was only eight years old his Mother took two of the kids and fled a drunk and abusive husband. In her flight she lost control, the car plunged off a bridge. All souls were lost. Crack won't heal that pain, but that pain has been to Marky's room. That pain has stood beside his bed and understood, without words, where Mark is. That pain prays for Marky.

Another friend took me to the house, where he was so abused by his father, that he begged me to pray the demons out. His father played cards with his friends and the winners got to have their way with the losers son. That is even more horrifying than it sounds, especially if you are one of the boys. Well, that wound has been fed enough booze and drugs to kill a man a few times over, and yet he lives.  That pain prays for Marky.

I've heard about a step father who tied a boy to a chair. He made that boy watch as he tied his sister to the kitchen table and had his way with her. That torture included threatening to chop her to pieces with a chain saw. Those two kids spent the rest of their lives trying to escape the pain of that moment. A few years later that girl ended her life and fifteen years after that her daughter did the same. The boy lives on in his pain. That pain, on some broken and screwy level is Marky's friend too. He pushed Marky's wheelchair out of the hospital.

So, what's the point? None of these people have experienced a father's love. Each has a pain so deep that its ripping them apart. Each has a very real and turbulent relationship with their Heavenly Father. Mark has been lifted by their prayers. 

The next time you encounter pain and struggle, sit down, shut up and spend a while.

Mark has been lifted by the prayers of these and other friends. He continues to be happy and well. Thank you friends.

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