Hardships and problems in life are as ordinary as faults in a soccer game.
However, there are those seasons in life when simultaneous events and co-incidences seem to come in such a big bulk that unless you are very steady you will ask, “Why is everything happening like this, all at once?”
In fact, I have never asked that question. Not even from 1998 to 2001, when everything seemed to have happened all at once. I had no questions. I knew the cause. I was the cause.
On other occasions I experienced the simultaneousness of many distresses too. But I never wondered at them.
In fact, my questions about this were over in April 1975. I had just married, and I was in my small room in my parents’ home, down with two hepatitis attacks in a row, and asking questions…
Until a certain dawn. The dawn of dawns, when I gave all my questions over to God.
Interestingly, when I was no longer interested in any mysteries, dates or times, everything began to be increasingly clearer, to such a point that even the absurd gets to me with a latent voiceless explanation that says it all in a non-logical though all-pacifying plan.
Today I am here, in Manaus, going to the ICU twice a day and monitoring Dad through my doctor friend Marcel and the angel-nurses Hilton, Gerilson, Daniel, Miquéias and Batalha.
Dad has been stable for five days, but this stability is like that of a tray with many cracked crystal cups on it.
Every slight change requires full attention.
But his stability is increasing daily: A miracle.
However, even if they called me right now and told me he had just gone, everything would still have been an absolute miracle.
At the ICU I have heard people say they have never seen anything like it. I heard it again four times today.
In fact, what God is doing here amazes everyone, even the most skeptic.
Well, this is happening here…
Tomorrow, however, Adriana [my wife] will be operated on in Rio de Janeiro. It is not serious, but it is an invasive procedure anyway.
Well, the irony is twofold, threefold…
First, she does not allow me to leave here. She was here from last Friday to Wednesday morning, and forbade me to do what I almost did a while ago: Take a flight and be at the health center door tomorrow morning. So I am forbidden to go for her peace’s sake, because she would not want me to be there while the situation here is so critical. This includes Mom too. Although she is as strong as a rock, she is run down. Therefore, I follow orders…
Second, I am not used to following instructions if they are not according to my common sense or a realistic evaluation of the possibilities. And this time I had to yield to reason without discussing alternatives like going tonight and coming back tomorrow night. Common sense tells me to stay. But it is hard for common sense to subdue the soul’s impulse. So I recite Psalm 42 to my soul in order to soothe it.
Third, seven years ago today, I was taken by Adriana to a clinic, on suspicion of intestinal cancer. As I was sleeping there, she stood by me. When the doctor told her the examinations showed I did not have it, she bowed down and worshiped the Lord in front of the doctor. Cecé, a friend, was with her and saw it all. When I woke up, he said, “Wow, brother! That’s a mighty woman! She fell face down to the ground, raised up her hands and gave thanks powerfully!”
But it’s not for us to set up the dates in life!
Then, when things happen simultaneously like this, I think:
“God is exercising me in trust and tranquility. Therefore I’m going to look at all this and trust that my absence doesn’t lessen the Presence that is essentially important: His.”
However, I wish I were with her all the time—before, during and after everything. I wish she would open her eyes and meet mine, just like it was with me, on the two occasions I had to be sedated since we first met: Her eyes welcomed me back, and what a smile!
Meanwhile, I am having another meal in Dad’s dish. *
In Him, who cares and is never careless,
From the original “E QUANDO TUDO VEM DE UMA VEZ SÓ?”
Translated by F. R. Castelo Branco | September 2007
* “Dad’s dish”: Caio Fábio’s father used to have his morning cereal in a dish that has the following inscription on the bottom: “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him” (Psalm 62:5). (Translator’s Note)