Monday, January 16, 2017

Painful Rememberances

Yesterday we ran errands most of the afternoon before stopping by an old friends house. He'd had hernia surgery recently and I needed to drop off a Christmas present for his wife. He was doing well, in fact, much better than I expected considering he'd been limping around in great pain for at least three months before the surgery. I tried to get him and his wife to take the idea of the hernia surgery seriously months before because of the bad outcomes I'd seen in my years at the clinic with those that put off the surgery for months and ended up with necrotic bowel and multiple surgeries. One of the patients died.

They also had another guest yesterday evening. A lady named Lisa from their new church stopped by with homemade soup for the couple. They're all going to a megachurch plant nearby after having cycled through another small church after leaving the toxic mess that was Possum Creek Fellowship.

I didn't get a chance to talk much with Lisa before she left, but immediately afterward my friend started telling me about Lisa's recent struggles with her son's health. Her college aged son had developed ITP. She knew my daughter had suffered a long bout with that. In fact we almost lost her at 4 years old, from the ITP and later from the spinal meningitis she contracted from the blood products used to treat the ITP. Her health was impacted for many years because this illness tends to just wipe out your immune system.

Oh I found myself enmeshed in the old painful feelings and memories from that terrible time and found myself thinking about the most painful things in life, the biggest struggles, the things that are just so awful that they take your breath away. Not the annoying and nagging, like fender benders or broken refrigerators or even falling out with conservative relatives over the election. The heartbreakers are so much more than that.

That time when my daughter was so sick, in and out of the hospital, when we were told they didn't know if she'd make it, was literally the worst six months of my life. I'll never forget it. It's the very thing that ended up pushing me straight into the arms of our toxic old church during my frantic attempts to bargain with God to spare my beloved child's life.

Yeah, the old church exploited me in the worst moment of my life in order to pad their membership. That's what abusers do.

I've heard enough of Lisa's story to know what she faces, including hearing that her son's initial hospital bill had to be forgiven by the hospital after their health insurance denied paying penny one on his 60K bill. I don't know what type of insurance they have, but I would not be at all surprised to hear it was something extremely bare-bones or Christian Fundamentalist ponzi-scheme like.

 Her son is experiencing the wrecked immune system that goes along with this illness and the family is left wondering how they are going to pay for the experimental treatment that seems to be the last option they haven't tried to cope with the ups and downs of his platelet levels. It's not a great place to be.

I cannot undo what happened, I cannot change the fact that this terrible time I experienced led to spiritual abuse. I cannot pretend it wasn't the most painful worst thing to happen to me in a lifetime that has held some valleys along with the incredible highs. But I can do one thing, I can reach out to Lisa in this time and be a friend, an older friend who has walked this same unfair crummy path.

This type of helping, reaching out, advice, just simply listening, is what I believe the scripture that tells older women to help younger women genuinely means.  Not the shaming, blaming, telling others toxic instructions in the most derogatory terms used by Lori Alexander does on her blog. She does not have a clue about love or mercy, truly helping others, compassion, and I suspect, the horribly painfully moments that we all must walk through.

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