“I sat on the ground with my back propped up against the brick wall of an old building where the Dumpster was at and looked up into the dark sky and talked to God about her.”
As I read the early stages of Deborah’s struggle with cancer, the response from her friends made sense. In times of trial we find ways to gather around those in need and lift them up in prayer. Whether it is in their home or in the hospital, we come together and offer our support. But when I began chapter 33, I was moved. Denver seperated himself from others to hold a “vigil” for her. Yet he didn’t choose a place of comfort; he chose a dumpster. The damp ground and the cold hard wall served as his chair as the air around him reeked of rotting food and moldy trash. It was here, in one of the lowest places, that Denver approached God on Deborah’s behalf.
As I read on, I kept thinking of Job. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. (Job 2:8) In this place of brokenness (literally and figuratively) Denver cried out to God searching for answers and hoping for a resolution. And it as here, sitting by the dumpster, that Denver received a message similar to the one Job received – that God’s engagement with the world happens for reasons that we don’t often understand. So Denver’s shooting stars and Deborah’s cancer are things that may not be understood but that is okay. It wasn’t Denver’s role to have the answers, it was Denver’s role keep “vigil” and support Deborah. It was a role so important that he soon understood it as “the most important job I ever had”.
All the support Deborah received from others was important, but Denver’s was different. And as I read this I understood that the best support comes from those who are willing to sit in the muck with you. As we encounter those who are struggling with life, we aren’t expected to have the answers. But we can be a source of support and sit by the dumpsters and pray.
How did you respond to the support Deborah received during her diagnosis? As you enter this week, in what ways can you ‘sit by the dumpster’ for someone in need?