After a hangout, a long semester of work, and graduate school, I returned to being myself. I decided to do this hip-hop class with a friend and had another plan with a friend to go hiking the next day. The class was great, and it felt like I was returning to myself. I had a fun time. When I lay my head down at night, I remember smiling and having anxiety that something terrible would happen. The next day something wrong did happen; I got a phone call to take my mom to the hospital. We went to the hospital, and things went well, and it looked like it would be a quick visit, and she would receive the help she needed, and then we would go home. I was wrong, and things suddenly started to decline. I remember talking to my mom and watching TV. When the channel I turned, there was a prayer that has always spoken to me on a spiritual level. It was the serenity prayer. I shook my head and didn't think much of it as I updated my family and stepped out of the room for a second.
The doctor comes in, and I start asking him what's next, when we will go home, and if I need to plan for my next traveling days. He tells me to take one day at a time, my brotha. I took a deep breath and said OK. Then the doctor started to ask why my mom wasn't responding, and I said I don't know and that she was sleeping, and they put an oxygen mask on her to rest and breathe properly. The doctor screamed her name twice! And he immediately leaves the room and says I'll be right back and get someone to help. Then a team of nurses came rushing to see if my mom would respond. They asked me to step out and gave me a bad of my mom's stuff. Confused, trying to hold back my tears and compose myself. The nurses speak to me about what's happening next. I study the nurse's face to see any sign of remorse or comfort or detect any lie she may be telling. There was nothing I could detect. She must have rehearsed this a thousand times. When the nurse stops talking to me, I leave her and go to the bathroom. I immediately started crying uncontrollably. I was scared of the unknown, helpless, and, most of all, not understanding the why behind this.
My mom was OK and was in ICU for a while. Hospital visit with my mom was regular because of her sickness, but this time was different and completely shook my faith in God. My mind began to go dark, and I started not comprehending what God was teaching me during this time. God was teaching me a lot of things. Here are some of the things I've learned through this time:
The first thing I got from this is a miracle. For so long, I've dreamed of a time when God would heal my mom. I prayed for her on a daily, and still, I didn't see the miracle happen that I wanted to happen. I was reminded of this song by Laura Story called Blessings. And in the songs, she talks about how we pray for things like healing, wisdom, peace, blessings, and whatever it may be, and then she says what if your blessing comes through raindrops, and what if your healing comes through healing? In the song, she ends with What if our mercies are disguised? I interpreted this to my life by praying for a miracle of healing for my mom, but what if the miracle is her getting out of the hospital? I must remember that God knows what He is doing and trust His plan.
The next thing I learned is there is a purpose in suffering. A question has been in my head since childhood: why a reasonable person must suffer so much? I remember going to church during this time and looking for God to comfort and meet me in my suffering. The church was doing a series of questions: Why do bad things happen to good people? The pastor's answer responded that pain and suffering are inescapable for everybody. Everybody will experience some pain in this world, and we suffer in this world because of sin. God never intended this for us to have. He sent his only son down to die on the cross for our sins so that we could access him. Also, when we die, we will return to him and live eternally with Him. The pastor distinguished between people who believe and those who don't believe in God. People who don't believe will experience suffering; for the believers, we suffer with a purpose.
In church, we read the bible verse Psalm 73:22-28
When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
The whole chapter of Psalm 73 was impactful. David begins the psalm with envy and how he envies others who seem to have happy lives, but towards the end, he realizes there is a difference between those who don't believe and those who do. He realizes that there is suffering with purpose. When he dies, he will eventually meet God, and all will be made right. No longer will I look at suffering as the final verdict, but there's more to this suffering, which gives it purpose.