“You think it’s easy just sitting in this chair, all … day … long?” She gasped the last words out.
Kate took a deep breath. “Of course, I don’t think that, but—”
“There are no buts.”
Kate listened as Claire’s feet shuffled against the hardwood floor. The wheelchair’s squeak grew distant.
Kate gripped her purse and sweater, then took slow steps to her bedroom. Closing the door behind her, she sat on the edge of the bed and lifted her hand.
“Father, I don’t know how to help my girl. You see her anger.” Kate sighed and wiped her eyes on her shoulder. “You also see her pain. If witnessing her anger hurts my heart this much, I can only imagine what it does to Yours.” Silence drifted between Kate and God for several heartbeats before Kate whispered again. “Show her the way, and keep loving her especially where my love doesn’t seem to get through.”
She pushed herself from the bed, stepped into the bathroom, to the sink, splashed water on her face, then reached for a towel. Hmmm. Kate stretched to where the stack of towels normally sat. Nothing. Her heartbeat hitched up. But panic was not allowed. Thinking instead of panicking was always the better choice.
Steps sounded behind her. She smiled and lifted her hand over her shoulder.
“Sorry, hon. I didn’t realize I hadn’t left a towel. Here.”
Kate wrapped her fingers in the warmth Levi handed her and dabbed the hand towel to her face. A deep breath followed as the fresh scent drifted into her.
“Was Claire angry all day?” Kate placed the towel back on the bar. She turned and put her hand against her husband’s face. Whiskers tickled her hand bringing back shades of memory of his afternoon shadow. She kissed his chin, then tucked her hand in the crook of his arm. Though she didn’t need him to lead her around their home of twenty years, she still relished his closeness.
“She was doing pretty well until she got a phone call. After that, she seemed to go downhill.”
“I’ll go talk to her. I hope she’s had enough time that she won’t throw something at me again.”
Levi caressed the faint scar above Kate’s eyebrow. “Maybe we should attach sonar whistlers on everything in her room so you’d hear what was coming at you.”
Kate giggled. “The only house on the block with whistling shoes, books, cups, or …”
Their joined laughter carried the last word.
Humor had brought them through so much since Kate lost her sight. Would that their daughter could find a similar levity even in the middle of disappointment.
“Knock, knock,” Kate said as she pushed Claire’s door open slightly.
“It’s OK, I’m not armed.” The hint of lightness carried the words.
Could it be a crack had appeared in Claire’s armored heart?
Reaching out, a shaky hand greeted Kate’s gesture. She sat on the edge of her daughter’s bed.
“I’m sorry, Mom.” Claire leaned her head on Kate’s shoulder. “Sometimes, I get so frustrated.”
“I understand. Want to tell me about it?”
Claire took a deep breath before she continued. “There are some things I can do, and I’m getting better at certain ones, but then …”
“Frustration sets in at what you haven’t been able to do yet.”
“How do you keep going when there are so many roadblocks?” Claire sobbed.
“First, I focus on the things I can do. Second, I had to learn to rely on others for help when I couldn’t manage something. I still have to do that no matter how much I wish I didn’t. Third, and this is the biggest one.” Kate wrapped her arm around her daughter.
But before she could answer, Claire whispered, “God,”
“Claire, life isn’t fair for anyone.”
“You should know.” Claire leaned against Kate again.
“We can compare ourselves to what everyone else seems to have and what they can do, or we can purpose to stay connected to God.”
“Sounds so easy.”
Kate guffawed. “Hardly. It’s a daily decision. Some people have difficult things happen, and they let bitterness swallow them along with any hope they have for a happy life. While others …”
“And hopefully you, choose to see the challenges they face as what they are. Challenges. Challenges to use as tools to grow. You are stronger today than you were a month after the accident or even six months after.” Kate wrapped her arm around Claire. “Now tell me, what happened today? Dad said you got a phone call?”
“Pearl is going on the mission trip this summer. I’m not ready to go on something like that. I’m not strong enough to help.”
“You may not be strong enough yet, but if you want to go, why couldn’t it be your new goal? OK, so you won’t climb a ladder to work on the roof, but you are a great storyteller and could work with the children at the orphanage. You are incredibly good with organization. You are awesome with a broom and dustpan. Don’t let a presumed situation hinder you from doing what God might want for you. Besides, you are one of the best prayer partners anyone could ever want. And this trip will not happen without a lot of prayer.” Kate patted her daughter’s hand. “Besides, the trip isn’t for another three months, right?”
Claire pushed away from Kate. A moment later, the sound of shuffling feet and a creaking wheel met Kate’s ears.
“Thanks, Mom. I’m gonna call and see how many rehab appointments I have left. Maybe I do need to set different goals.”
“But first …”
Claire wheeled back and hugged Kate. “Thanks, Mom.”
Photo Credit: Unsplash, Cherry Laithang