Do you ever have those days where things are just going so well? I just want to freeze those days and look at them. Then smile. Just to let the sunshine of good humor rest on me and I rest in it.
Standing in my office, talking to two interns. Laughing, planning, excitement. In three days my sister, Ayanna, would be induced and give birth to twin girls. Children number 4 & 5. I tried to convince her to name one of them after me. Michael isn’t always a guy’s name. Okay, so that’s a stretch. How about my middle name: Ayer, the Spanish word for “Yesterday”. It’s artistic. My parents were hippies and my dad knew Spanish. Pretty much explains it.
I successfully annoyed my sister by suggesting various alterations of my names. In the end she decided against my name, but opted for my birthday.
In three days I would have my birthday.
The cell phone rings, as cell phones are prone to do at the worst time. It’s my brother-in-law. Aaron and I aren’t really phone talkers. To illustrate: recently I called him up and while most conversations ask the polite question, “How are you?” Aaron and I ask, “What do you want?”
“Hey Mike, you have to pray.” Panic filled his voice and flowed into my heart. “Ayanna is in labor in Seattle. Your mom was watching the kids and on her way to the park she was in a car accident. Your mom and Nicki (his nine year old daughter) were injured and flown to Harbor View hospital.”
“We don’t know if they will make it.”
In three seconds my sunshine was eclipsed.
I dropped to my knees and prayed. But it wasn’t prayer, it was confusion. It was terror. Because Aaron’s voice was full of terror.
I was on the ground pleading inaudibly. My interns were shocked. They came to the ground with me. The room was full of dread. What would happen? “Jesus I need you.”
Arising from the ground I headed to my Pastor’s office. “Tony, I have to go … I have to go to the hospital. There’s been an accident. There’s been an accident. I have to go. I have to go the hospital. My mom, my mom, my mom. Accident. They were driving and now I have to drive there.” Words kept bouncing off of each other; they didn’t seem to make sense. I couldn’t get my brain to express my heart. Or maybe I could and that’s why I couldn’t talk. It terrified me too much.
Tony came over to me. He’s six feet two. He’s a big man. Broad shoulder, big gut, large arms. He came over and I just kept mumbling. “My mom had an accident. Nicki is bleeding. Harbor View, I have to go. I have to go.”
The cell phone rang. Terror and hope calling to me. What side of the coin will it land on?
“Mike, it’s Grandma.” Her voice feeble, shaking even as my body shook. “There was an accident.”
The bad news was bad the first time, I didn’t want to hear it again. “I know Grandma, I know. They’ve been flown to Harbor View. Aaron told me.” I was rational again. It made sense. They were in the Hospital, it would be okay. Thank you Jesus. Everything would be okay.
“Mike, your mom is dead.”
The phone went off, she was talking. The clouds filled the office. Tears came from somewhere. The chair was below me. I was falling. Grandma’s voice was still talking from somewhere. “Nicki hemorrhaging in the brain.” My body shook. My Jesus. Where was he? The earth shook. What was happening? I was on the water, the water was on me. I leaked out love.
My body couldn’t hold me. My emotions couldn’t hold it in. My spirit couldn’t hold any hope. There was nothing that could hold me. I collapsed.
I was being embraced. Some big man was holding me. I was a baby with my mom, she was with me. No, she was dead.
She was dead. Dead.
Those words never seemed so fatal until then.
Tony was on my left hugging me. I was sitting next to him. He’s a big man. I was sitting next to him. Sometimes you just need someone big to hold you. Where was Jesus?
Then it happened.
Something big, something real was there on my right. I was being held. I was being hugged. Jesus came and hugged me.
And he was big.
Tony was on my left hugging me. Jesus was on my right holding me. Sometimes you just need someone big to hold you.
And Jesus was actually big.
Sometimes we just need to know JESUS is big.