|June, 2012 , 15 months after the stroke|
He has asked for a china marker (the kind used for marking laundry-----he loves drawing with them) and a pad.
I watch him take the marker in his right hand and begin to sketch out lines on the pad.
He looks up at my face and then swiftly back down to the pad----he is trying to capture my face.
"I can't make the lines the way I used to" he comments, matter-of-factly. He seems free of frustration or self-pity----a miracle, really. He is still working away at the lines, undaunted.
It's true, the sketch is disjointed and hard to interpret-----but I notice that the lines look vigorous and deft.
I become curious......"Have you been drawing more, Stu?"
"Yes", he smiles the new, lopsided smile that came with the stroke. He seems a little surprised at his own recent industry. "and writing, too"
"Can I see more?" I ask
"Yes, there on the yellow legal pad"
I am a little taken aback at what I find.......he is, apparently, more active in his writing and sketching than I had realized. Many pages are filled with random thoughts, more coherent than I would have thought possible. There are love letters to me and about me, an enthusiastic praise of one of the women who takes care of him at the nursing home, full of gratitude, and then, strikingly, this one:
It is hard to read, I know----but here is what it says:
How vain and self-absorbed I am to be anxious and ashamed to need so much help in so many small matters. I am still held prisoner by my body, and I cannot thank God for daily suffering, may He forgive me and bless me to be grateful for everything, please Father. It's hard to tell outwardly, (but) I am devoted to Him inwardly.
Wondrous secrets of God!!
Anyone who knows Stu, knows that doves have always been a favorite theme for him. When I found the little drawing at the top of this page (complete with catsup stain-----it's a nursing home, after all) I could not help but think "He is coming back to us. He is still Stu. What has always mattered in him is safe and vital. And why should I be surprised? Would God let that be harmed? Not His style, I'm finding. He knows what is of value, and he is quite careful with it. As I turned onto the quiet Sunday streets of Grants Pass, heading home, I reflected, with a catch in my throat, how many times God has taught me what matters through this unpredictable man. I hold his prayer close to my heart and realize that it is my prayer, too. And I agree with him, tears in my eyes, that these truly are wondrous secrets of God.