Jay and Katherine Wolf are living a miracle and telling their story of ‘Hope Heals’. In mid-February I signed up to read their book as part of a launch team and help share their story. Just days later, we were living it. In fact, I emailed them from our ICU room before Jason woke up, asking for the book to be delivered STAT.
It arrived the day after we got home from the hospital. Complete with a personal note from Jay and Katherine.
Written from the proximity of loss, reading this book felt like kneeling beside Katherine and Jay inside the holy of holies, daring to voice both lament and praise. We’ve practiced this voice before. In fact, just before picking up this book, my J said: “I’m thankful; but damn, this hurts.” We know we’re ‘allowed’ to think that way, but it’s still a hard line of truth for a miracle to speak. And then it was echoed when we read this from Katherine’s pen: “I can give God the glory, and it can still hurt.” (p.16) It was like meeting friends who spoke the same language to the same God: the God who can take it. And the God who meets us in it.
And true to Katherine’s words, this book brought both glory and hurt. Glory in hearing another story redeemed by our amazing God in the midst of loss; hurt in facing the exquisite ways that Jay Wolf describes his time in the ER, the hospital room, and their amen to the long road. There were many days that my Jason would ask me to stop reading, sometimes even just a paragraph or two in for the day, because it was just too painful to hear what “the awake spouse” experienced.
I would pause, close the book, and silently agree that Jay and I had walked a parallel heart-path as we said goodbye to our spouses and hello to our fears, wondering if we would “no longer be a casual observer of the pain but the recipient.” He speaks of the sound of silence being broken by the sound of his own wailing (p. 26), and I too remembered how hearing my own wail was at once foreign and familiar. Something that was coming from inside me, yet as if from a distance too.
Jay speaks of his rush to the ER desk and the nurse there using a tone reminding him that it was his crisis, not everyone else’s. And I could see in my minds’ eye the nurses that wouldn’t make eye contact with me when I arrived to the ER and was ushered into a private waiting room. They didn’t need my break-down to interrupt everyone else’s waiting.
But slowly, day by day, we would read a little more. And then close the pages of their story and discuss the pages of our own. This book was like an elbow-to-the-side from a friend, saying “hey, talk about this part … yes, that part too. Don’t skip it.”
There were moments in Katherine’s pages when I would see Jason nod, or sigh, or close his eyes in recognition of a moment of ICU despair. Of walking a sacred road that included being asleep for the most dramatic moments. (Confession: we did scan over some of the details of the physical healing, as that section got long, but this story is powerful enough that even scanning over it is impactful.)
Jay speaks of the day “I released Katherine from my feeble grip and into God’s. I knew that, though Katherine may well lose her life, she would never lose the indomitable goodness and inexplicable love of God. And neither would I.” THIS is the healing of which they speak. The healing this book offers goes far beyond the physical, and dares us all to think of how “we all walk through this life on the edge of a blade, and yet we rarely allow ourselves to feel the weight of our potential losses or the grace of our potential gains.” (p. 66)
*Released TODAY; go grab a copy and dare to meet Jay and Katherine in the pages of this book. Dare to go even further and feel the elbow-nudge as their story unlocks your own …