Anyone with children would probably agree, having a seriously ill child is one of the hardest things we have to deal with as parents. I cannot even begin to understand how the loss of a child would tear you up inside.
Experiencing a medical crisis of your own is hard enough. The thoughts of what would happen to your family if you were suddenly gone from the picture, the idea of your children not having both parents to help raise them, it is very sobering stuff. When it’s your child who is sick, the feeling of helplessness seems to overwhelm all others.
A while back I wrote about lines in the sands of time, and how there will always be another one of those days lurking out there, waiting. My advice was to live for today, let those around you know how much they mean to you. I think that advice is still sound. One thing I would add is to be thankful for the ordinary days. Those ordinary days are so easy to overlook. It's just Thursday, it's not my birthday, there is nothing important on my day planner, I am going to work, the kids are going to school, it's just Thursday.
Our son has been feeling pretty bad for two weeks now and we have been back and forth to the doctor a few times trying to find out what is making him so tired. Last Thursday my wife and I were told about a one centimeter "shadow" on our son's CT scan. It ceased to be just another Thursday right then. A million questions went through our minds; a thousand scenarios went through our minds as well, not many of them pleasant. It would have been easy to give in to those fears and allow them to take over the next few days, and I admit that they were always in the back of my mind, but I tried to stay in the moment. As we scheduled a follow up MRI for Monday, the uncertainty of our son's situation was the hardest part to deal with.
I can't imagine going through times like these without my faith. These are the battles that are better fought on your knees.
In the past I had used God like a 911 call. Hello Jesus, come quick, I'm in trouble. Then I would start to play “Let's make a deal” with God.
God, if you get me out of this, I will do whatever you ask. At that particular point in time, I meant it. If God would have faxed down a contract, I would have signed it. However, when the situation improved a bit, I would start to renegotiate the contract. Lord, I know that I said I would go to Borneo to do mission work, but my kids are in school, and I just got raise at work. I'll do what you want me to do later, okay?
While I still might make this plea today, having a deeper, stronger relationship with God helped me in ways I didn't understand, until now.
The one thing that kept going through my mind during those long days was a passage from the book of Psalms. "Be still and know that I am God." The knowledge that whatever happens, good or bad, God would still be there and He would still love me and my son was a great comfort. I don't know how I would have made it though without it.
One of the goals I had for this year was to take the family to Yosemite and for my son and I to go see a baseball game. We are now two for two. This past Saturday a large group of friends from the valley went to the last home stand of the Oakland A's. My son, who was still feeling very tired, said he was up to it and we spent a wonderful day tailgating and then sitting in the warm sunshine of the left field bleachers. The shadow on his CT scan was far from my mind most of the day.
Be still and know that I am God.
Some of my friends knew about our situation and we spent the better part of Monday emailing and taking calls from friends and family waiting for the results of the MRI. I did not tell many people because we didn't know anything, and I didn't want to have everyone worrying all weekend, sorry mom. We received the news late Monday that the MRI was negative. The relief we experienced was palpable. It was as if a large weight was taken of our chests ad we could take a deep breath again.
We are still awaiting more tests and so our relief is tempered, but as before, we will pull together and get through this. I know one thing, if we ever get back to that place where I start to think the days are ordinary; I hope someone will remind me that every day is a gift from God. It is up to each one of us to make it something special.