When the sun has gone down and his nightlight is the only light in the room, everything glows in a warm, yellow hue.
I’m sitting on the edge of his bed after a hard evening of breathing. His asthma has flared up and his breathing has been labored. He is up again after earlier falling into a restless sleep. I hear his calls and I walk down the hallway to his room, waiting until he can find some kind of rest.
I sit as he rests next to me on his side. My arm is wrapped around his and my hand cradles his head. His eyes are closed and his cheek falls into my palm. The pain of the day is held right there. I feel it in my heart and it always likes to make itself known when we find ourselves up in the late hours. We are here together. We are trying to figure out how to get better.
This is how the night will go. He will fall asleep again. And again, he will wake with an aching chest that he will tell you feels like stone. He will shake while we do the inhaler, breathing in the medicine with a squeak of the spacer. Wait some time for the lungs to open up and then, take another puff. He will finally find rest on the bathroom floor, letting the steam from the shower give him some sense of relief. He will lay there all night on that bed made of towels and sheets. Somehow on the cold hard tiles, he will get sleep he desperately needs.
I will check on him again and again. But eventually I too will fall into a deeper sleep. And in the morning I will wake to a seven year old at the side of my bed, wondering why his brother is on their bathroom floor.
It seems that life teaches us the same things, again and again.
There is pain.
There is struggle.
There is sickness.
There are anxiety filled, sleepless nights.
We are human, so it’s unavoidable.
But like a mother at the side of her child who struggles to take deep breathes, we wrap our arms around each other and turn our cheek into the palm of Love. We look for hope in each other as we do our best to point in the direction of the Creator of all.
This is not a nightly scene at our house. So many nights I go to sleep without a thought of my children’s health, taking for granted this gift of open lungs, strong legs, eyes that see, a heart that beats and arms that circle mine. But it’s these nights that I remember to say thanks. Thank you God for the gift of each other. Thank you God for the gift of arms that hold us. That you God for the medicine that makes broken lungs breathe. Thank you for the bed that we fall into at the end of the day. Thank you for a sun that rises and the chance to live into it all over again.