When we realized that no surgery, no med, no therapy was going to fix Mary Addison – that this was our new normal – I felt like we’d been given a sentence of life in prison. To accommodate her daily seizures and her mental and physical challenges, everything about our lifestyle would have to change and all our plans were scrapped. It was back to the drawing board to design a new life within our prison walls.

The monotony, the lack of progress, the daily routine and the isolation nearly drove me insane. Those images of chained prisoners shuffling around in the prison yard kept coming to mind. When I looked ahead, everything looked hopeless. So, I stopped looking ahead. I learned to take each day as it came. There were so many things I was powerless to change, so I learned to allow and accept things as they are.

I admitted my weakness, sat down, took a deep breath and looked around. I noticed there were others in this prison with me. Even though there was not much to say, it felt so good to huddle up close to someone who just understood. Upon looking up from my daily routine, I now see the familiar faces of my co-laborers and offer a wink or receive a smile.

Because our world is so small, I look for beauty, goodness, joy in the smallest things – the smell of rain, the audacity of weeds, the Alleluia! in birdsong, and the tangible, miraculous power of love.

As I look around this morning at the pile of dirty clothes, the therapy schedule, the text from the caregiver who will not be coming today, and the same four walls, I’m grateful for the good work God is doing in me as I lay down, let go and find peace. I’m grateful for the community of compassionate friends He has brought alongside. I realize He has not imprisoned us, but He has set us apart, in a small, secret garden, with good work to do. He placed us here to quiet us and to teach us that we might know the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God.

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!