Thursday, December 09, 2004
Me & Nat
"To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propoganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one's life would not make sense if God did not exist." --Emmanuel, Cardinal Suhard
My friend Natalie is a living mystery. She has a beautiful four-year-old daughter Anya who was born three months prematurely and is developmentally disabled. She breathed through a trach for a good part of three years and had her trach hole sewn up this past year. (Anya is really excited that this means she can swim more!) Natalie and her husband Jeremy still feed her through a feeding tube in her stomach. They have never heard their daughter speak to them. Within just a couple years of Anya's birth, Jeremy was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. A few months ago, Natalie and Jeremy had a miscarriage.
I have not told you these things to make you feel sorry for them. They wouldn't want you to. When we were deciding where to go for lunch yesterday, Natalie mentioned that the manager at the local Chipotle likes to give her free burritos. "Let's go there!" I said. "Nah. I don't like it when people give me stuff like that." But rarely have I met a friend with as much compassion as Natalie. (Except for yesterday when she didn't let me get a free burrito.) When I'm wrestling with pain, she feels it, too. She cries with me.
I like her. I like her alot. I like the jealousy with which she guards her regular dates with her "boyfriend" and the way her eyes light up when she talks about him. I like her perfect whip on a Strawberries and Creme Frappuccino Blended Beverage. I like the way she makes fun of me when I'm being anal. I like that she got out of bed at 10 pm thanksgiving weekend just to come play dominoes and meet my family (and that she plays a lousy game of dominoes). I like her fuzzy purple couch and her foil-covered dresser. I like that she draws me into her life. She lets me ask questions of her and get real answers. She's teaching me that pain doesn't make sense. But you can walk on.
I just like my friend Natalie. She is a living mystery, and I know of Christ's love a little bit better because of her.
(How 'bout that free burrito?)