Emily Maurits’ story, Confessions of a Realist, won first prize in the Tabor Open Stories of Life category. Her story is published in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology, Papa’s Shoes.Emily shares with us the background to this true story of faith.
When my sister Jasmine was diagnosed with a brain tumour just in time for my 21st birthday, I was distraught. Struggles with health were common in my family – but my little sister had always been the healthy one.
That diagnosis began a three month hospital stay, eleven operations, and countless hours spent in the Children’s hospital. It also began a journey. A journey which pushed us closer together, which uncovered the deep love of our church community, and ultimately, a journey which brought us hope.
Hope for healing, yes, but also hope in the kindness of others, in faith that can outlast tragedy, and in miracles after the eleventh hour.
After she was released from hospital I began a blog about loving people with chronic illnesses because, as we soon discovered, sometimes healing comes with complications and aftereffects. I named it Called to Watch (www.calledtowatch.com), because if there’s one thing I learnt over those long months and the years that followed, it’s this: I can’t save anyone. I am not the Saviour, Jesus is. Sometimes you can’t bear someone else’s burden; all you can do is watch – but you can watch in faith, in love, and in hope. You can watch because God has called you to this moment, even as he calls the sun up each morning and the cicadas each evening.
My entry into Stories of Life captures a moment of hope reawakened. It’s a glorious moment, a true gift from God. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that these moments can exist. In the long, hard slog of caring and being cared for, healthy pragmatism can become life-killing cynicism very quickly. I wanted to share my sister’s healing because there’s comfort in second-hand miracles. They are a reminder that our God holds each moment of each day in his hands. When He brought my sister home on the exact date I prayed for, against the expectations of everyone involved, he actually did two miracles: one of physical healing, and one of hope restored.
My prayer is that He would bless each of you with this second miracle through my sister’s story. Not all miracles are ground shaking or impressive looking, but each are a gift from our Father, and a reminder of a better future.
This is a photo of me and my sister three years after her first surgery. It makes me so happy, because there were many hospital days when I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see her again.
In life writing, it is the generosity of the writer to open a window into their reality, and it is the privilege of the reader to enter into that reality.
Papa’s Shoes, our 2019 Stories of Life anthology, is filled with stories of people encountering God somehow, somewhere. Some of these encounters take place, as you might expect, in places such as hospital wards and graveyards. Today we introduce you to four of the stories in Papa’s Shoes along the themes of healing and suffering, death and life.
In No place like Home by Gaynor Faulkner, her seven-year-old-self is hospitalised at a time when parents weren’t allowed to stay with their children. Snoring old ladies and stern matrons populate Faulkner’s story. Her hospital experience is a far cry from the Neurology Ward where Emily Maurits’ young sister was an inpatient. In Confessions of a Realist, Maurits prays a daring prayer after ’86 days, 10 operations and plenty of easily manageable prayers’.
Craig Chapman takes the title of his story – One of the Six – from the statistic that ‘Every day, eight Australians take their own lives. Six of those are men.’, while Claire-Louise Watson’s title Arise is taken from the story of Jesus raising a little girl in the bible. Watson’s story, however, centres on what happens after doctors tell her that there is nothing else they can do for her own little girl.
These stories are short, but they are not little. We commend them to you. You can read these stories and many others in our 2019 Stories of Life anthology, Papa’s Shoes, available at our 7 November book launch and online thereafter.
Could your story be published in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology? We have writing resources to help you get started. Sign up for our Editing Workshop on 13 June or check out our categories and send us your story. We’d love to hear from you.
Tracey’s story Wanna swap? was published in the 2018 Stories of Life anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy. She also visited the LifeFM studios in Adelaide and recorded her story for broadcast over the 2018/2019 summer. This is her story.