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About the Writer:
Joanne Sampl

With grown step-children, college age sons and a self-employed husband, Joanne offers her time to God and to others. Her interest in writing and communications brought her back to college as an adult and through several reinventions of her own business and ministries. With time on her hands, she writes about God and life.



Lessons from a Squeeze

By Joanne Sampl

It was a long five weeks, but he finally made it. He’d battled pain and sickness, daughters and nurses, and even his own weakened condition, but he was finally home. I had the privilege today of driving my 81 year old father home from a skilled nursing facility after his long hospital stay.

There are moments that mean the world to me as a mother, as a wife, as a friend and as a daughter. Today was the daughter moment I will play over and over in my head for the rest of my life. It was the moment he settled himself in his big, plush recliner just minutes after he arrived home. His eyes welled up with tears and his face settled with the first real sense of peace in over six weeks. He made it home.

Just a few weeks ago, I had another daughter moment that haunted me every day. My dad lapsed into respiratory distress following his “no other way” surgery to repair adhesions in his bowel. Ugh. I hate that word. I’ve used it too much in recent weeks. But, it’s a necessary organ and a frequent area of distress for my father, especially since his 1991 resection.  His respiratory distress called for the painful conversation that all children fear.

“Can you hear me, Dad? Can you squeeze my hand? That’s it. Good. Now, we need to know your wishes. Do you want them to put you on a vent? Do you want any extraordinary measures if you stop breathing or your heart stops? Squeeze my hand twice if you do, Dad?”

There was only one squeeze.

The vocabulary at times like those is incredibly confusing. What is the difference between a full code and a DNR? What will they do if he stops breathing? Will the forced air oxygen mask, a bi-pap machine, be enough to help him? Does he know what’s going on? If they intubate him, will he come off the vent? Is this reversible? Is this his time?

But now, there’s this new expression in his eyes. He’s resting now. He’s done his usual routines of winding the grandfather clock and flipping the channels on the TV remote in his hand.  He’s chitchatted on the phone with one of the daughters. He’s told me where to put his things, and reassured me he’d get to his stack of mail tomorrow. He jus t needs to relax. His fight for life is over.

Now, he gets to live.

I needed to ask a dear friend to help me find the biblical principles from this recent life lesson. I’m honestly still looking for answers to the “Why not?” and “How come?” and “Why us?” questions. Her fresh perspective and extraordinary example to me of devotion to God through the study of His Word instantly gave me focus.  

She pointed me to the story in the Bible about the Israelites reactions to hearing what fight was still ahead of them to get into the Promise land in Numbers 14. The people grumbled and wept, trembled and complained at what they heard and feared the most. There was “no other way” for the Israelites to experience ultimate peace in the Promise land until they trusted God. They had a long way to go, but God was going to do the fighting for them. It’s like God was saying:

“Can you hear me, child? Can you squeeze my hand? Good. Now, do you know my wishes? Do you know my Will for your life? I want you to breathe into you all my promises of life. I’ll do all the extraordinary measures necessary to take care of you and give you eternal life with me. Do you trust me? Squeeze my hand twice if you do.”

Do we only squeeze once?

Do we never squeeze at all?


Copyright © March 2008 – Joanne Sampl. All rights reserved.


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