04 May 2008

Hospital gowns shouldn't come in 2T

Last week was quite a week. Before it was all over (assuming that it is over!) Pookie Baby (the two-year-old, whose full-throttle toddlerhood nicknames don’t apply to the pitiful little heap Dad hauled into the ER in the wee hours the other day) spent some time in the hospital with pneumonia.

He’s home now, earlier than expected, with what seems to be the entire pharmaceutical department and a nifty Nebulizer thingie, and he’s back to all his usual tricks. Meanwhile, Dad’s voice barely lasted through church today, any semblance of a schedule for New Guy is out the window, and Biggest Brother is sporting an apparently random but very impressive case of hives. We’re tired, we’re strung out, and we have an adrenaline hangover—but above all, we are just so very thankful, for so many things. And that in itself testifies to the amazing grace of God.

This little adventure got me to thinking: When you put a limp toddler in a little bitty hospital gown and hook him up to oxygen and an IV, the brokenness of our world, and the unnaturalness of Death, the ever-lurking intruder, is suddenly glaringly apparent. There is something terribly wrong, terribly heartbreaking about those tiny hospital gowns.

But we should not be more complacent about the death of the elderly than we are of the young—death is no more natural for a 99 year old than it is for a 9 day old. Even those of us who know better can find ourselves murmuring the usual platitudes at the funerals of octogenarians: “It was his time to go…At least she had a good, full life…Just look at all that he accomplished…” When our elderly loved ones become our dearly departed ones, we miss them, often quite painfully. Yet we sometimes get sucked into the whole “life cycle” thing—death is just a natural part of life; she’s gone to a better place, etc., etc.

No, we groan with all creation, longing for Victorious King Jesus to banish our foe forever in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, with the blast of a trumpet. Meanwhile, let us have no more of the well-intentioned platitudes. Let us not grieve like those who have no hope, let us speak boldly of the hope that we have, but let us grieve honestly: Death is no friend; death is not natural. Pretending that it is mocks the goodness of God’s design, misses an opportunity for proclamation, and robs mourners of their right and their need to grieve.

We groan, and we hope.

Even so, Lord Jesus, quickly come.


Pr. H. R. said...

What is it with two-year boys and pneumonia? We had the same a winter ago with Boy 1 (at the time, Boy Only). It's no fun at all. I remember how happy I was to see him smile and laugh again. . .

But there was some good to come of it. For a long time, I could get him to take medicine, drink his water when he was sick, etc. by saying, "Look, Buddy, do you want to go to the arm-poking-doctor again?" Those IV's made quite an impression. . .


Rebekah said...

Poor Pook (not to mention you). It's awful when the babies are sick. Everybody had a cold last week and it made me so sad to hear the little coughs up and down the hall all night long.

And great point about robbing mourners of their grief. I hate, hate, hate "celebrations of life." Let me cry.

Gauntlets said...

Ack, sick babies are the worst. We had to haul our first into the emergency room once, and it was terrible.

I'm with you. Sin is sin, always hungry and always terrible. Come quickly Lord Jesus, Amen.

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

We had a similar pneumonia experience with one of our children about 10 years ago. He had to be transfered to another hospital as his condition became critical, and my wife went with him in the ambulance. I didn't think he'd be alive when I met my wife there.

Great post. Thanks.