She was right. My worry did not add a single day to her life; it only sabatoged the time I had with her in that moment.
"Mom, just be with me."
She understood that worry put me in the past of If Only or the future of What If. If only I made her take her vitamins. What if this third antibiotic still doesn't work? If only she didn't have the stress of moving and going to a new school. What if she can't walk again? If only we hadn't gone to the public pool, she might not have picked up such a terrible infection. What if she dies?
When she quoted from Christ's Sermon on the Mount, it snapped me back. I always wanted my kids to memorize Scripture so that when tough times came, they could remember God's Word as a source of comfort or guidance. But here she was using Scripture to comfort me, and make me turn from the temptation of worry.
I laughed, remembering the time we worked for several months memorizing the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) when she and her sister were six and seven years old. Their favorite part (and you might cringe like I did) was quoting and dramatizing, "And when you pray, go into your room and 'slam' the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (Matt. 6:6)
I shared this memory with my daughter who giggled, despite her pain. She continued to reflect on the Sermon on the Mount, "You know, Mom, being in the hospital makes me really understand what it means not to worry about what to eat or what to wear. It makes more sense to me now: 'Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day.' (Matt. 6:34) When you're in the hospital, food just comes, and you just wear a hospital gown. There are so many blood tests and poking and prodding and doctors and nurses coming in and out that there's really no time to even think about tomorrow, much less what to do in an hour. It's a hard way to learn that lesson, but I'm glad I'm learning it."
She finally left the hospital and made a full recovery. Even today when she's in Liturgy and she recognizes the Gospel or Psalm readings as Scripture she's memorized, she mouths along with the words. I can't say the work of memorizing Scripture has made her a better person--only God is the Judge--but I hope that God may write His Word upon her heart so it may comfort and guide her, and at least be a life-giving word of judgment to my ear when she speaks God's Word back to me.