Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I’ve had a friend from home visiting this week.

Whenever that happens (which is very rarely), I see this new life through their eyes.

And I see just how far from the shore of the old life I’ve drifted.

The most common comment: “I had no idea.”

Which is kind of weird.

Because I feel like I’ve been fairly honest in my description of what things are like out here.

But everyone, friend or family member, says the same thing: “I never could have imagined what this is like. It’s just not possible for people to understand unless they’ve been here.”

I don’t know why I need to share this. I guess it’s because I’m so tired and very achy and a little teary.

(Even post-menopausal women still get all hormonal sometimes.)

And because I have to stay so completely focused on what needs to happen in the next 15 minutes that I can’t allow myself the luxury/torment of projecting into the next day/week/month/year.  I am so intent on just surviving…doing the next “right thing”… that I can’t reflect upon how difficult…impossible…this all is sometimes.

Unbelievable, unbearable.  Unreal…yet very, very real.

So completely different from the way most of my friends are living that they don’t (can’t possibly) have a clue. If I try to explain, I might as well be speaking Russian. (Not complain…just explain. Like why I don’t always answer phone calls or emails:

… I don’t always have time to go to the bathroom. Can you wrap your mind around this???)

Everyone asks very realistic, reasonable questions about the future. And I always answer in the same naïve/cliché-kind of way. “One day at a time…let each day’s trouble be sufficient for the day…” yada yada yada.

The reality is that we are often terrified, and if we look down, we’ll drown. Fall off the tightrope into the bottomless chasm of despair and doubt.

So faith is not a virtue, it is a necessity. It is not something that has to be worked up; it is the air that we breathe in order to survive.

I am nothing, nothing, nothing at all without it.

I can do nothing without it.

I don’t know what fresh hell tomorrow holds.

But I do know that if I don’t fling myself into the arms of my compassionate Father and beg for mercy, I might as well just lay down and die.

Some days that would be a welcome relief from the pain of existence on this fatally flawed planet.

So I fix my eyes on what is unseen. I lie down for a minute when my sweet love/little tormentor takes his nap. And I ask for refreshing.

“Times of refreshing come from the Lord.”*

They really do.

I receive what I need in order to take the next step.

The pilgrimage is often hard and tiring. There are falls and bruises and hundreds of glasses of spilled milk and broken things along the way. Aching backs and heads. A deeper exhaustion than I’ve ever known.

But we can’t give up.

We crawl on, limping and bleeding, to the finish line.

Where there is true rest at last.


I debated whether or not to post this one. It just spilled out last night. I slept on it, and decided to go ahead and click this morning. Because I am trying to paint a realistic portrait of life after an earthquake. The portrait would be incomplete if I only included the happy/funny/”inspirational” moments.

I need to make it very, very clear that I do not in any way consider myself to be the primary victim here. The struggles I experience are not even worthy of comparing to what Katherine and Jay deal with each and every day. They are the heroes in this story. They are continuously bombarded with fresh and daunting challenges. 

But, by its nature, an earthquake continues to send out tremors that affect whole families. When a tragedy occurs to one family member, the life of everyone in the family is changed. None of us have had an easy time. For instance, my husband supports a unique burden in that he has to be alone so much. It is easier to be here in the midst of the fray than to worry about everyone from a distance.

I reflect back on the stories that have been so graciously shared with me over the past few weeks. They have given me hope and a sense of solidarity. When my day is long and hard, I think of Cheri and what she’s living through. Or Peggy, who's living in circumstances similar to mine, helping with grandchildren apart from her husband. (Who is home caring for her elderly mother.) Everyone stretched thin. The friend who was visiting is living through her own earthquake. Hers was caused by human choice rather than by illness or accident. That is a special kind of hell.

It helps to know that there are others who truly understand what's it's like to have your world turned upside down.

Thank you for that great gift.


(* Acts 3:19)


  1. Oh I love you for all that you know and all that you share. I just can't say that loud enough or "meaningfully" enough. So so so so glad you (and yours!) are on this planet with me---and the rest of us. Marianne

  2. I appreciate your "realness" more than you know. Seriously. Thank you.

  3. Thank you for your raw honesty, for we are all human. Don't think I have missed one of your posts and look forward to each one. There is always some little jewel hidden inside to keep the mind and spirit open and willing to serve. I pray for your family and know He is good.

  4. Kim,
    Thank you. Even in journal entries that no one else will ever see, I still find myself trying to end on a high note, looking for the silver lining. But the bottom line is that this life can be very hard. Especially in situations like Katherine's and Virginia's when there is no end in sight. Not for them and not for those of us who love them so much.
    There really aren't any words to describe the constancy of what you are dealing with, no way to paint a picture so that others could truly visualize.
    I pray for Katherine and I pray for her mother.

  5. Kim:

    I stand in awe of Katherine. Turning misfortune outward to touch others is a remarkable display of faith that many never quite experience. Clearly God has a plan and he knew Katherine would step up.

    My best to you and Brooks.

    T Hodge

  6. You described it to a "t". My earthquake is NOTHING compared to what y'all & others have experienced but I am suffering an earthquake that is difficult to deal with right now. I know God is so good & so with me but I do feel like I am walking through mud. I feel more sane after reading this post! You, unknowingly, were able to describe my feelings of despair into words! I read your blog & Katherine's all the time. You two do not realize what a huge blessing you are to others. I would never wish or desire someone to suffer pain to better my life. The realness that you all share, the fears, the heartaches, disapponitments, the ups & downs is so refreshing & real! Never be ashamed to share it. It reaffirms our humaness & our need for dependence on our Lord & Saviour. Thank you & nonstop blessings to you & all involved in y'alls earthquakes & tremors.

  7. I understand every thought, word and phrase in this blog. I get it. I live it.Just last week my son had a massive seizure in the bathtub and went under. No one else was home..I was "it." It was horrible.He's 24, blind, intellectually and developmentally disabled so we've had 24 years of situations like this. I never talk about it to anyone because they can't process or understand it.The 10th paragraph is so true! And yes, faith is a necessity! Your blog today helps to validate my own feelings. Thanks!

  8. Daddy says when the shi* hits the fan it splatters all over everyone, and it's not evenly distributed, either. So we pray remembering, His strength is made perfect in ....

  9. Two months one of my very good friends was in the hospital with a staph infection. She developed this while under-going her 4th round of chemo, after her second relapse of breast cancer. It was 16 months of pure Hell for her and her family. The youngest of 8, she was only 41.
    On that Tuesday night in the hosp. the dr. asked if she wanted to do another round. She did. Because she had Hope.
    Hope is a powerful thing. Hope for today, Hope for the future.
    But, that Thurs. she told her family how tired she was. She said she still had Hope. Only now her Hope was that she would pass soon. Into the arms of her Heavenly Father.
    She peacefully died in her sleep on Friday morning.
    Life is very hard at times. Hope gives us all another tomorrow. Another next year.
    xo, misha

  10. Kim, there have been so many times when I have wanted to drop the smile and leave the stiff- upper- lip at home. To not answer the pat questions with a pat answer. To be honest. Those times when I have been desperate for someone. . . anyone . . . to see our reality. There have been times when I've wanted to tell the mailman, the lady at the Post Office or the cashier at Publix, anyone that shares this planet with me! Thank God those desperate moments come less frequently and that He has provided me with "safe" people with whom to share the truth when it has to "come-out." I have thought over and over again where this need comes from, especially since the Only One who really knows is the Only One who can do something about it. And, today at my weekly Bible study that thought was confirmed. I can't remember the exact quote by Priscilla Shirer, but this is the jest of it. . . "Jesus, in His HUMANITY knows our feelings and what makes us fearful and in His DEITY can actually do something about it." I believe so much of that desperate need for others to know shows up more frequently when I am physically and emotionally weary and when I don't pour it all out on Him. Sometimes the not pouring is the result of the weariness and at other times, it is the result of my will. I know it must please God to see His children providing safety and refuge for each other while living in a world that can't possibly understand. We can share each other's burdens and tell each other's stories, knowing that He is carrying us all. I have seen God's hand in insurance matters and I am praying to see it again. With continued prayer and blessings, Cheri

  11. Wow, Kim, just when I have had one of those days I read your blog and "BAM", right between the eyes. Every single word in your post today describes what our family is going through while our little grandson Ian battles Leukemia. No, I am not the victim either and my son and daughter-in-law are the heroes, but our whole family suffers along with every needle stick, every chemo treatment, every biopsy, test, poke prod, and tears of relief when the nausea passes. And it is at that time, we fall to our knees, again, and turn to our Father to comfort us. Only He can give us the reassurance and can refresh our souls so that we can get through another day. Thank you for being so real and honest as you blog and yes, we are all fighters together! We are here for each other.

  12. "So faith is not a virtue, it is a necessity. It is not something that has to be worked up; it is the air that we breathe in order to survive."

    This really resonates. So many times I wish I could have more faith, comparing myself to others that I think are "better at it" than I am. Thanks for the reminder that it's not something we have to "work up." It's a gift we receive.

  13. You miss the old Katherine and I hear loud and clear that you miss your own 'old life' as well. Even though some earthquakes don't register up there on the Richter scale with yours, none the less, we all thought life was going to get easier once the last child graduated from college---once this happened--or that..or the house was finally paid off...blah,blah...And just as the children passed from stage to stage....the problems didn't go away--they they just changed. I suppose that is the rhythm of life...We are all bobbing in this boat together...desperately hoping and praying that we keep floating. Yes, it is so inspiring for the rest of us when we hear, read and see that all of you are living your faith in the face of overwhleming obstacles. But I know that reality is just plain hard and this is not a 10 day course of antibiotics and all will be well. The light shines through transparency at many angles and I'm glad you recognize and share the broken moon beams as well. This human condition is all of us.

  14. Thank you for continuing to share, we are continuing to pray...

  15. None of us has a clue what any of us go through in life. It's not possible.

    But thank you for trying to give us a glimpse of what you're going through so we'll know how to pray.

    Because some of us will.

  16. Great post and great comments.

    Thank you for speaking your truth. It's an encouragement for us all to be more honest in our struggles.

  17. so so grateful for all of these wonderful comments.

    I am blessed by each and every one.

    (Like that analogy, VA! "It's not evenly distributed..." A topic for another day!

  18. As I was reading this I remembered that feeling of pain and complete exhaustion. I am so sorry that this has happened to your family.This life can be so hard but we will rest in Him.

  19. Dear One,
    No words to express the sadness of the losses you've experienced. We miss you and are thankful we can touch a bit through the computer. Glad Howard and Brooks can connect.
    I agree completely that faith is a necessity. I don't understand those who reject. So sad. Wish they knew the peace it brings.
    Love you, Linda

  20. Dear Kim, I always think about you. I can imagine that this is NOT what you'd planned to be doing with your time now that you'd raised your daughters and had them in college and generally on their own. I can imagine that you had plans to do what "you wanted to do now". I think every mother who makes raising their kids their primary job feels that way. You have made a tremendous sacrifice to be there for Katherine, Jay and James. No one could do what you have done. You are MY HERO. You are AWSOME. I thought about you all day on mother's day.

    I have 4 kids. I'm the one who has a boy who is 8 (Mark), a daughter who is 6 (Madeline) and 6 month old twin girls. One of them is named Rachel Katherine after Katherine, I've been calling her Rachel Kate. The other baby is named Charlotte Hope.

    Praise God for your life and example. You make me a better mother everyday.
    Love always,



Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

It helps to know we're not alone.