7 Days of Heaven: a curse word

photo credit here

there is a  boundary line drawn across the heart of my friend, one that I dare not cross.

when we are together, face to face, there are moments of silly … and then there are moments when I try, with words that she trusts come from a soul-friend, to “poke” her a bit. 

Sort of like when the pediatrician gives my little one a check up, poking a single finger into his dough-boy tummy and asking:
“Does this hurt?”  “How about this?”

I’m trying to make sure that she’s okay – really okay.  that there isn’t something she’s keeping hidden, some lie hidden in darkness that has the opportunity to fester, unchecked.

I’ll be honest, in the moment, it feels a bit like those guys who
try to dismantle IEDs in the streets of Baghdad, or a surgeon probing a scalpel into an embattled heart.   

One false move  might trip a live wire, might cause more harm than good.  I try to steep, like a tea bag, in prayer before ever uttering a word.  And I study her – so that I’ll know where her vulnerabilities lie.

From experience, I know that one of those exposed wires is a single word – one that she cannot say without the corners of her mouth tipping downward, one that I cannot type without tears blurring my laptop screen.


A curse word.  One that never seriously existed in my vocabulary six months ago, when it was a phantom illness, a headline I may have read somewhere and quickly forgotten. 

It is real to me now.

It is this:
a disease caused by the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges. The inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.  
[courtesy of  the CDC]

But it is more than this, too.

It is a  smile stealer.   

home wrecker.    

A silent killer.

I wanted to write this post to say, triumphantly, that heaven is a place where meningitis has been defeated.  Not prevented partially by vaccine, not minimized by antibiotic, nor lessened by any human and flawed means, but wholly absent from our experience.  I wanted to write this post and celebrate a home in heaven that will be free from meningitis.

And cancer.

And car accidents.

And any and every form of  sickness, pain, and death.

But as I started to type, I felt a heavy burden to say more.  To write a warning, more stern and more serious than even the surgeon general’s. 

I feel burdened to say, though I wish, in no way, to minimize the pain of those who suffer now from chronic illness or grief over the death of a loved one – that there is a sickness greater than these.

A meningitis of the soul.

It is characterized by an inflammation of self-interest, of pride, of earthly pleasure-seeking.  Those who carry it are often fooled into thinking that they are immune, or that they can protect themselves  by simply “trying to be good.”   
The disease is also elusive, going through periods of perceived dormancy before flaming up again in symptomatic behavior.  What’s worse, many who suffer from it don’t really want to be cured – just  made comfortable. 

This disease – for the term “sin” doesn’t seem to hold enough power in our modern vernacular – is chronic, meaning that even those who pursue its cure will battle with it for the rest of their earthly lives. 

And those who choose to ignore it?  To numb its pain with  pills or power trips or other earthly pleasures?  They will, if left uncured, experience true death in an eternity apart from our Creator, the one who mapped each inch of our DNA.  The one who can cure with only a word from His mouth. 

Lest these words read like a giant finger pointing, let me say it plain:  
I am no picture of perfect health.   

Each and every day, I battle the sickness of self-first, and though I work to build up immunity by attending worship, by reading  His healing words, there are still days when I am sick of soul, when I wallow, when I reach for a band-aid instead of submitting to surgery – when I want a temporary “feel good” instead of eternal sanctification.

And so, to my sick and weary heart, one of the most soul-sought   
joys of Heaven is the hope of  true rest.

To be perfectly whole in body and in soul will mean, for the very first time, that I be able to exist without anxiety, without striving to keep all things in my control.

When I think of Bane, when I consider where he is, I have to work to  
free my mind from the tethers of earthly existence.  Only then comes a Hallelujah that is felt as keenly as the pain of loss – 
for Bane’s soul  was and is and will forever be meningitis free. 

Can I poke you a bit, dear reader, though you may not consider me your soul-friend?

Can I ask – just this:  are you soul-sick, too?

Can I say, that as I typed this, I prayed – though I don’t know who you are or what the specifics of your pain might be?  I prayed that you would  examine your own heart, as we all must, and that you might present the infirmity that you find there 
to the only One who can eradicate it fully, 
the One whose power has defeated death itself. 

I prayed that you – and I – might invite the Spirit to dwell within, to be an ever-present shield from the slings and arrows of death that we encounter daily.

because meningitis may be a curse word, 
sin is the real silent killer.

Where is Bane?  He is enjoying a brand new body, perfect and whole.  His skin, so soft and butter brown, is even more beautiful than it was when his Daddy brushed against it, cheek to stubbly cheek, because  it actually radiates the joy of God’s love. 

And though my soul-friend must fight daily to experience the joy that her son experiences so effortlessly, I know this to be true:  that if anything in today’s post stirred you, that if any words here moved you to think or to question, she would be blessed to hear you share your heart.  Care to send her an email?  The address is  banebow (at) gmail.com.

Though I know we’d promised a giveaway with each “Heaven” post, we’re all feeling a bit distracted today, as the sickness that I mentioned yesterday continued with Livi keeping a low-grade fever through the night – one that, quite understandably, has been difficult for Sonya and Drason to go through.   

Because of this, instead of giving, we’re asking to receive – your prayers and encouraging comments would be so appreciated as the Beasleys deal with making visits back to places that are loaded with difficult memories.  May God be praised, even as our hands quiver in pain and fear.


  1. Ashley

    praying…praying…and praying…
    love you all so…

  2. Ashley Sanders

    Praying for you guys. Much love.

  3. Emily Lavenue-Roberts & Chad Roberts

    i have been praying for livi to feel better and for sonya and drason to find strength and comfort since seeing the previous post. continuing to pray and will start spreading the word to others here in west tennessee to keep praying especially hard now for the beasley family. much love and warm wishes to you all.

  4. Courtney

    May God lift you up in His comforting arms & grant His healing touch to little Livi. May He be glorified as you trust Him to bring you all safely through this trial. Blessings upon your family—God is so good…..ALL the time.

  5. Anonymous

    Praying for the Beasleys. Feel better soon Livi!


  6. caryn

    love to sweet livi…hope your feeling better. thanks again keli for giftedly managing to put thoughts into words. thanks to my friends for being an inspiration and an ever-constant reminder of how to be gracious and giving…i need to be constantly influenced by my godly friends..
    love you and praying

  7. Kaci

    this post was just what i needed to hear tonight..came home from work feeling quite selfish and prideful…bad night…but as i was reminded my a guest i served tonight about a line from a book i love, he just said it right to me when i asked him "how are you doing today?" he responded "better than we deserve" "you?" and i could only humbly say…"and I as well sir…thank you" it was a good reminder for me and so was this post. so yes..my soul was sick tonight very self sick..but now i have asked the Lord to heal it and help me to look to Him and not self tonight…thank you. always a good reminder to "become less and Him to become more"

    "May we bless the wind that blows us against the Rock of Ages"

  8. jennynobleanderson

    praying my heart out for sonya, drason, and little livi drae. i carry them in my pocket always;-).

  9. Nancy

    When my brother called to tell me that my father had died, his words were these, "Dad no longer has a brain tumor." These were words that pointed me to true hope, true comfort, because they were what I wanted most for my father. Breathing prayer for your dear friends, to the One whose perfect love casts out fear.