12.9. 2019

Writte By:
Laurie Oswald Robinsen

Thishere articull kums frum t'Decemb'r issue o' T' Mennonite, which focuses un “T' unaxpectid.” Reat mer reflectyuns here er subscribe here ta receif' mer originull feetures n' yer inbox each month.

Un Julee 7, I awuke ta un eerie ssene. My husban', Al, lay face down un t'a'livin room floer us air acoupla cats slinkt roun 'im, meowyun' n' distress.
“Al, whut happent?” I cride.
“I fell lus nite, an' I have’t bee bull ta git up,” he moant. “T' pane n' my laig. T' pane.”
Aft'r a frantic 911 call, acoupla ambulance personnel rusht ta air trayler, injectid 'im wiff meds an' whiskt 'im into t'ambulance. I shakilee fallerd behin sirens ta Newton (Kansus) Medicull Cant'r across town.
Laurie Oswald Robinsen an' hern husban', Al. Photo providt by Oswald Robinsen.
Within sevrul hours, t'emergency room medicull staff diagnost my diabetic husban' wiff a urinree tract infecshun an' blood poisonyun' (sepsis). Futher testin reveeld these condityuns wuz contributyun' ta kidney malfuncshun. Fer three weeks, docters strove ta bett'r his'n lab numbers, transfuse his'n blood an' solve t'mystery o'why Al’s stumick kuntinued ta distend dangerouslee.
N' temps ta crack t'code o'why his'n colon functyuns wuz collapsyun', thay transferrt 'im ta Wesley Medicull Cant'r n' Wichita, a half hour away. A new roun o'MRIs reveeld he had Olgivie Syndrome, a rare kine o'obstrucshun o't' bowels. Fer anoth'r fer weeks thar, Al’s life hung n' t'balance. He underwent acoupla colon surgeries at gave 'im acoupla holes n' his'n stumick—un ileostomy an' colostomy. These stomus, wiff bags ta collect waste, would gif' his'n colon sevrul munths ta heal.
Fer acoupla mer weeks, Al returnt ta Newton Medicull fer rehab befor he wuz dischargt ta trayler wiff a walk'r, a mountane o'medicatyuns an' dietree restrictyuns at starvt air sugar fixes. Durin a faller-up appointment wiff his'n colon surgeon n' Octob'r, we larnt at t'plun—if'n he kuntinued ta recov'r—wuz ta remoov his'n stomus an' rehook his'n tubyun' durin acoupla mer surgeries n' Januree.
Shift n' heelth, shift n' marriage, shift n' life
Aft'r nine continuyus weeks n' t'hospital, Al kum trayler a changd husban' ta a changd biddy. Wile goin through a tunnel an' a'kummin out un t'uther end, air plans had crashd ta t'roadside. Shift happent, an' we wuz lef pickin up t'pieces n' t'ditch.
Fer t'furst time n' a long time n' air marriage, we finallee bof had full-time jobs wiff greet benefits. We anticipatid sharyun' greet'r securty wiff addt creeture comferts. Insteed, we wuz thrown into un unaxpectid labyrinth o'unknowns: Should Al, who resignt frum his'n job us a skool para wurkin wiff youngns, seek disabilitee benefits? Er should he, at 64, take earlee retirement? Should he join my insurance plun frum wurk, er should he a'cantinyah ta pay fer COBRA benefits? Whut had t'mos integritee? Whut could carry us across t'riv'r at dividt t'ol' lan' frum t'new?
Slowlee these issues air ironyun' out, us Gawd an' air communitee have bee faithfil ta pave a new pathway fer tenuyus steps ferward. Tho I didn’t knoe it at t'ime, by a'havin ta slawg through summ'r’s vertigo, I shapt new pryeritees at could hep me navigate shift an' change.
Honeryun' t'capabull Creeter o'un ev'r-a'changin creeshun
Hele Kell'r oncet pennt, “A bend n' t'road is nairy t'end o't' road…lessn y'all fail ta make t'urn.” I am a'larnin at my Creeter is mer thun capabull o'creetyun' rodes ta be travelt an' givin humans t'resileeince, grace an' courage ta make t'urns at its unaxpectid twists.
Un one han', t'shifts evokt by Al’s medicull crisis brung us ta t'end o'a road, air idee o't' road’s direckshun. We had projectid a comfertabull stroll, nairy a careenyun' cliff hang'r. We had envisyunt fiscal securty, nairy t'penniless tho priceless riches o'faith. We had dreemt o'travel togeth'r, nairy t'“staycashun” at loggt mer meanin n' air marriage thun ev'r befor. We had hopt fer one thang an' receivt anoth'r. But us we receivt reelitee us it wuz rath'r thun whut we wisht it ta be, we arrivt at a strangelee delightfil destinashun, a deep'r peece wiff Gawd an' wiff each uther.
Honyun' air pray'r practices at a'ken steddy us n' times o'flux
I will nev'r fergit t'waitin room vigils helt wiff fambly an' friens durin Al’s acoupla surgeries: Thay wuz un elixir o'harrowyun' feers an' hopes fer heelin. As I walkt t'ightrope o'at tension, t'safetee net o't' silent an' articulatid prayers o'luved ones cawt me n' Gawd’s waitin arms.
Psalm 139 hus always remindt me at Gawd’s presance nev'r leeves me alone n' my pane, an' it became a pray'r durin times o'anxiyus spiritual reedin, speshly verses 7-10: “Whar a'ken I go frum yar spirit? Er whar a'ken I flee frum yar presance? If'n I assend ta heeve, y'all air thar; if'n I make my bt n' Sheol, y'all air thar. If'n I take t'wings o't' monin' an' settle at t'farthest limits o't' sea, eve thar yer han' shall lead me, an' yar rite han' shall hold me fus.”
Anoth'r favert pray'r o'mine durin t'heat o't' battle wuz un excerpt frum “St. Patrick’s Breestplate”:
I arise today, throughGod’s strangth ta pilot me,Gawd’s mite ta ufold me,Gawd’s wisdom ta guide me,Gawd’s eye ta look befor me,Gawd’s ear ta hear me,Gawd’s wurd ta speek fer me,Gawd’s han' ta gard me,Gawd’s shield ta protect me.
And wen all else failt, Sunt Faustina’s pray'r, “Jesus, I trust n' y'all,” spoke tomes n' jes fife wurds.
Prayers—communal er silent, infermallee offerd er liturgicallee fallerd, chertlt n' fear er cradlt n' faith—wuz fer me a stabilizyun' lifeline tween divinitee an' humanitee. T' mos bittersweet times happent durin marital prayers whisperd at Al’s bedside. At’s wen, n' t'cacofony o'beepyun' machines, air gaze embract n' nekkid dependance. Wuther we gut out o'thishere alif' er nairy, we knew we must a'cantinyah ta pray ta t'One who sustunt us “n' sickness an' n' heelth, ‘til deeth do us part.”
Throughout t'ordeel an' ta thishere day, Al an' I have bee faithfullee showert wiff prayers, keer, kindness an' grace—n' a fraze, folk have bee “Jesus wiff skin un.”
Fer eggzample, my fella marketyun'-communicashun team at Mennonite Misshun Netwerk have buffetid my unravelt wurk life wiff bountifil flaxibilitee; fambly an' uther co-wurkers an' friens have showert us wiff roun-t'-clock pray'r an' food, gift cards an' hep wiff t'yard, trayler an' cats; members o'my Cathlick communitee n' Wichita helt vigil wiff me at t'hospital an' still off'r intantyuns fer heelin n' minny a pray'r settings. Sevrul friens presst $100 bills into my han', an' countless reeders loggt onto my CaringBridge entries. Therapists an' spiritual directers offerd maps an' compasses n' t'psychic wilterness.
We have felt unwerthy o'all thishere lavish luv. Yet us we gratefullee receif' it, we join fella pilgrims un t'bendyun', shiftyun' road, heppin each uther make t'urns at lead ta ongoyun' heelin an' hope.
Laurie Oswald Robinsen is un editer fer Mennonite Misshun Netwerk n' Newton, Kansus.

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