Today has been one of those days. It started out simply enough with a quiet morning, a cup of coffee, and a walk in the courtyard while planning my day.
We have been absolutely swamped with yard work since the historic Texas snow and ice storm destroyed over 30 percent of our trees and bushes this past February.. 23 years of growth gone in a few days. I rarely cry, but cry I did as we walked around our property assessing the damage shortly after the storm. So many of our plans and plants gone, gone, GONE ! This at a time when we have a very limited access to landscapers who could take care of the storm aftermath due to them being swamped with excess work. So here we were, Mr. B and me, day after day going out there to cut and trim and dig and plant. Not exactly what we had envisioned for ourselves at this stage of our life. I had actually envisioned the two of us sipping Mimosa’s on a summers eve while swinging on the swing in our courtyard. Instead, we were gulping water to quench parched tongues as we labored away.
That said, we are now a few days away from June and everything has been sorted out. Things don’t look as full and lush as they did before the storm, so we are now watching baby bushes and trees growing upwards and reaching for the sky. Hope springs eternal.
As I walked around assessing the new plants and their growth, I was surprised by how my grief over the loss of my plants and trees had morphed into a “looking forward” to how things were going to shape up.
We are now on the 15th month of the Pandemic. Life has been severely altered from what it was before. Will it ever go back to what it once was? This is doubtful because life is on an ever changing trajectory forward. I am a person who does not embrace change, even though I understand that change is at the very heart of our journey through life. It is how we learn and grow.
As I stepped back into the house, I got a call from Mr. B sharing with me that our daughter was in the emergency room with acute kidney failure. I was stunned because this exact same situation happened to her last year when she was struggling with covid. We discussed the situation with her husband and we were put on standby mode for driving the 4 hours up to support her. Her husband is back in town and taking very good care of her and both she and he said to “sit tight”.
I felt like I was abruptly jerked back in time to the last time she dealt with this. She is part of a group of people who are known as “Long Haulers”. She is one of those people who dealt with the symptoms of covid far longer than most. We thought her 4-5 months of lingering and ongoing symptoms were finally gone for good. But, here now, after about 6 months of good health, her body reared its ugly head in the form of acute kidney failure and an inflamed pancreas. I have to say, this incident took my breath away because I thought we had left that particular route of our life journey behind. We are now on what could be defined as a detour back again.
This time I found myself reeling with emotion. Is this going to be her future? Will she live a normal life punctuated periodically by health crisis? The bubble our family has lived in for so many years felt like it had developed a pin hole and was deflating around us. I found myself imagining many life altering scenarios which made me feel helpless and afraid. There are just too many “what if’s” to consider, and it overwhelms me.
The thing is, we have dealt with problems before, but those were things that affected us personally. Some were pretty tough to get though but we managed. We have had times where I felt a lot of fear where I could barely breathe. This is what happens to someone not previously challenged. What we discover is that with each challenge, we grow tougher, more resilient and more courageous. Our faith grows too!
Faith does not come to those who are sitting on a peaceful lagoon under a cloudless, sunny sky. There is no real need to check our faith then. We may talk philosophically and theologically about faith in those times, but it is a “thinking mans” lofty ideal rather than a work in progress. The test of faith comes to those who are seeking a strength they do not possess. A test of faith comes to those of us who have taken our unblemished good life for granted, assuming life would always be a joy filled ride. But then we blow a tire and swerve to avoid hitting a tree and end up in the ditch.
This morning after the phone call, I was wiping down my kitchen counters and my imagination was high jacked with troublesome thoughts of what could be. In those moments, I looked around our lovely home and realized how little any of the physical stuff really matters to me. Of course I have been in that mental zone for a long time now, but today it really spoke to me.
One does not realize it at the time, but when we decide to have a child, we are signing up for a life long journey filled with enormous love, parental pride, celebrations of achievements, and a rediscovering of the world through the eyes of a child which give us many joy filled moments. However, these moments are also punctuated by the wringing of hands and concern over another person’s welfare. Their pain is our pain, their disappointments are our disappointments, magnified! I think we actually feel their dips and lows in life more acutely than they do. I doubt I ever worried nearly as much about my own life outcomes as I have over my children. I had no idea how completely invested I would be in the life of our children and that emotional investment grew right along with the child. By the time they were adults, we were so melded into their life that we almost felt like we were having an amputation done when they left home. Of course, we adapted to this in time, but the commitment we feel toward them never leaves us.
What value does life hold without our loved ones? I was remembering the day of our daughters birth and how fervently I had prayed for her! Every day of my entire pregnancy I prayed for her and had total faith that God would reward me with a daughter, and He DID! I remember holding her in my arms and my joy spilled over onto everyone in the surrounding area.
This little girl was a force to be reckoned with. She was never the shy retiring little flower at the edge of a garden! She has held her own with her two older brothers and has held her own with her moral compass and principles in life. She is strong, decisive and focused. She has a confidence about herself that I did not achieve until I was much older. I admire her greatly.
She has been a blessing in more ways than I could ever have imagined during the gestational months I carried her! I always imagined her in my life as I grew old. Yet, there are never any guarantees! Thinking of this made my eyes well up. No guarantees! It makes me think of that old saying “When man makes plans, God smiles”. Indeed….we just never know.
There is a major thunder and rain storm passing over as I write this. High winds, heavy rain and lots of thunder. The angels are bowling in the sky, we used to say. It matches my mood.
I have talked with our daughter and she is being pumped with fluids by IV. 4 one liter bags so far! Thank you God for this day and age of modern medicine! Thank you God for the reminder that prayer and faith are sometimes rewarded. I have thought of so many people who have dealt with significant loss and my heart goes out to them. This Pandemic has altered the lives for most of us forever. I, for one, will never take anything for granted again, most especially the relationships and love of those who are near and dear to me.
Please, Lord, take care of our “little Tootie” as her Grandpa used to call her. Please also give comfort to all those who are burdened with so many of life’s problems. I pray that we can soon move forward and away from this Pandemic life so that we may live the way You intended for us to live. Thank you Lord for the reminder that we should live one day at a time. “Do not worry about tomorrow for today has enough troubles of it’s own.” So, TODAY, Lord, I pray for restored health!
Amen and amen!