On August 28, Katherine's younger sister, Amie Arnold, survived a catastrophic car crash in Los Angeles. Thank you for your prayers and support. Updates on her recovery can be found at www.caringbridge.org/visit/amiearnold
"I've been holding my sister's hand for over 30 years now. And she held my hand in an ICU bed after my stroke. Now, I am holding hers as she lay in an ICU bed after surviving a horrific car crash this weekend. She is in critical but stable condition at UCLA hospital, unbelievably, with some of the same nurses who cared for me 8 years ago.
By all accounts she should be dead, paralyzed, or brain injured, and she is none of those. God has made a way, so many ways, for her, and I know He will continue to as she begins to awaken to a new reality. As a little reminder, her accident and hospital admittance was on 8/28...as in Romans 8:28. We are sad but hopeful, leaning into this merciful second chance for Amie. Thank you for your concerns and prayers--they are so treasured because we know how much they matter."
"What a gift for those of us who are usually being carried to get to help carry others. (photo of me pushing my youngest sister, GRACE, in my wheelchair--NOT AMIE, the one in the car accident--after she badly twisted her ankle last night; sadly ironic when the disabled stroke survivor is currently the sister in best shape here!) Wow, these past few days of waiting rooms and hospital bedsides and wheelchair pushing have deepened my sense of empathy and gratitude for all who have entered those same places for me. Thank you, thank you.
Now, it's my turn and my honor to take ALL THAT COMFORT AND HOPE WE HAVE RECEIVED and give it back to my family (and whoever else might cross my wheelchair pushing path)."
(From our family's favorite devotional #ThoughtsToMakeYoutHeartSing by the brilliant @SallyLloydJones -- James just happened to flip open to this entry the morning after Amie's accident...)
"These are some of the most beautiful promises ever made, but they are also some of the most heart-wrecking especially when encountered in the midst of suffering. They become a kind of last ditch hope on which we might fearfully hang ourselves by a thread and wonder, "but what if they AREN'T true?" This is THE question for us all--could new life really come from death?
Through tears and time, we have seen that question dissolve revealing another deeper question..."but what if they ARE true?"
And if they are, then our suffering hearts, hearts that have been wrecked in the waiting and trusting, might be galvanized, even alchemized, by a HOPE that transcends our wishes and dreams, by a God who works out His love through our redemption, across all places and time, throughout big universes and small bodies. May it be so..."
"We are all human ebenezer stones for each other--both reminders of just how far God has brought us and living, breathing assurances that He will continue to bring us onward.
Stephanie is one of many nurses who cared for Katherine 8 years ago and is now caring for Amie, and when we connected those dots, her sheer amazement at the miracle standing before her moved us all to tears. Like fireworks illuminating the darkest places of our memories, Stephanie was reminded why she does what she does, and we were reminded why we do what we do, and we all remembered that God does what He does...and maybe we won't quite as soon forget it."
"It seems I have precious little to offer my sister besides my prayers and my presence, and in this acute phase, both seem woefully inadequate. I want her healing on every level so badly I could scream, but 8 years after I nearly died, with 11 surgeries under my belt, I know all too well that the way in which she might be healed is not up to me.
But perhaps I do have other things to offer, like some hard-won wisdom and some practical advice found while staring at the ceilings of my own hospital rooms.
For instance, eating comfort food seems good when everything hurts, but it usually just makes everything thing hurt more in the end. Oh and make sure you're EXTRA sweet to your nurses--they make it all happen. Also, broken bone pain pales in comparison to narcotic-induced constipation stomach pain--plan accordingly!
So I take all my love and strange wisdom and ransack the farmer's market and have Jay blend it all up for her, literally filling the air with chlorophyll and fiber and ginger. She will likely try and punch me in the face after that first sip, but it's a chance I'm willing to take, because I know it's the thing she needs, even if it's not the thing she wants.
And maybe we do have something vital to offer each other in this messy process of healing...our LOVE MADE VISIBLE (or tangible or edible or drinkable or green) because it helps us really see how love starts patching up all the broken parts."
"The seasons where beautiful things are hardest to come by are the very ones in which we need beauty the most. Though it sometimes falls right in our laps, more often, beauty must be pursued and planned for, sacrifices must be made to even catch a quick glimpse.
We live approximately 4.5 miles from the ocean, and we go to the ocean approximately 4.5 times a year. Sadly, sand and wheelchairs don't mix well. But in this season of life with some very unlovely things surrounding us, we're drawn past obstacles and excuses to put our toes in cold sand with hot coffee in hand. Even if we only stay as long as it took to drive there in the first place, the reminder of how small we are and yet how loved we are matters, and it's beautiful."