Let Me Be Broken With You

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My eyes were stinging from crying. My body was shaking as I tried to contain the sobs that were jumping out of my throat. Desperate and sad, I longed for someone to tell me it was going to be okay. But the sheet wrapped around my head was muffling the cries. Someone please hear me. 

Stop crying, it won’t help. Take a deep breath, Brenda.
You can’t go anywhere.
You have to wait.
Just wait.
Wait.

I don’t remember ever feeling so helpless. So powerless over my body. Over my circumstances. I felt so invisible. 

The infection raging in my body spiked my fever, sweat soaking my light blue cotton gown, dripping down my back, my legs, soaking the back of my hair. Next came the icy chills; my hands shaking so violently I could not even hold my phone. 

The damn phone anyway whose white glowing bars were slowly depleting, 5…4…3 . 

No charger. 

I had no idea that I would be in a hospital bed for four days. 

Intellectually, when my head was lucid, I knew I was going to be okay. After all, I am in the middle of the city, 15 minutes from home, in a modern hospital attended to by nurses doing a phenomenal job (except for the night nurse on day 2) and doctors doing the best they can in the midst of a global pandemic.  

But those diminishing bars on my phone taunted me. I was going to be all alone in bed #302 and no one could or would rescue me. Not tonight. Not tomorrow. Not the day after that.

***

Sorry, no food, you may have to go to surgery soon.
Sorry, no water, we can’t risk it in case you’re next on the list.
No, I don’t know when you will be called.
No, you can’t leave.
Sorry, no one can visit.
The doctor may be here later this morning, or early afternoon, maybe after dinner (sorry you don’t get any food…you may be next).

I laid on my back and stared up at the chipped, white ceiling tiles with a thin blanket crumpled across my confused body. Was I hot and sweaty, or chilled and shaking? Was the infection coursing through the kidneys allowing the antibiotics to crush its hold on me and relieve the excruciating pain currently masked by the morphine drip (thank you morphine)? Why were there so few answers from the people taking my temperature and changing my IV bags?  

In the early hours of my fourth day there, I felt something break inside of me. I can’t remember ever feeling so despondent, so utterly invisible, so powerless. 

I wish I could tell you that I saw Jesus and my tears dried up and I was singing It is Well with My Soul. That would be nice. But that never happened. 

The tears kept coming. My body kept fighting. My exhaustion and anxiety took turns lulling me to sleep and then jolting me awake, unable to catch my breath, blood pressure machine beeping. 

***

And I was still alone. 

Maybe.

Not quite.

In the quasi-darkness of my shared hospital room, beige curtain drawn around my bed,  I heard the whispers of the Spirit tenderly say, Oh yes, you are broken right now. Let me, in your brokenness, lay down beside you. Let me be broken with you.”  

I did not know if I was imagining it. Was this the drugs, or wishful thinking because this was not the rescue I was hoping for.

I had felt like my Creator had betrayed me and left me with these ugly pieces of flesh and blood that were tainted and deteriorating, unlovely and useless.

But this whisper, it moved from my pounding head to somewhere deep inside me. It brought me comfort I had not experienced for weeks, months. And it brought more tears.  

I let the sense of being held together by something outside of my chaotic body, carry me off to sleep. 

***

Now, over a month later, my body is physically at home, but it has visited the hospital again and again. I have had IVs in my arm and pills for all kinds of things they aren’t sure I have. I have appointments in labs and clinics and with doctors. There are tests, more tests, discomfort, more pills.

And the brokenness and I are still together. 

It’s not like I want to hold onto her, it’s just that she is not done with me yet. I am paying attention to the Spirit and she, too, is broken with me. And that is how I get through each day. Each moment when I take three deep breaths, when I sigh at my current lack of stamina and continue to open my hand and let the disappointments drip through. 

Let me be broken with you.

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Brenda-Lee Sasaki
I am an unapologetic extrovert who can’t help but invite all I encounter to jump into my abundant, venti life, usually around a table with sweets or savories and often accompanied by a full-bodied merlot or quad americano. I preach (sometimes), teach (most of the time), read, write and research (all of the time), coach and strategize (when invited), and make mischief (as often as possible.) I am a fierce ally and advocate for brothers and sisters on the fringes of mainstream western evangelicalism. I am wife to 1, mom to 3 and Auntie B to many.
Brenda-Lee Sasaki
Brenda-Lee Sasaki

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