Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Can you brighten the lights please?

Holding ice on my Little Red's ankle in the middle of the night, I was commanding the pain to leave this sweet baby's joint. Oh I knew it wouldn't obey. But sometimes, I think I can just will my children to NOT get sick; will myself to fight off a cold; and will all of our stomachs to resist mutant viruses.

Alas, my Mama authority had zero power over the pain that was keeping my baby girl awake and crying the night before her first day of school.

I had already tried bossing her around. You know, pleading with her about whether or not she was completely certain her ankle even hurt. Frantic for her not to limp to school on this her first day EVER to attend school that wasn't in our little home school room.

When I could tell it was swelling even under the ice bag, I began to beg God to take the pain away. Because in the moments between midnight and two in the morning, the worst thing I could fathom was baby girl limping into school, tired and exhausted.

Unfortunately at two, I began to fret that this was something else entirely. And by six in the morning, we knew she was sick.

At eight, I was still just heart-broken that she wouldn't go to the first day of school. I kept envisioning all the things she was missing out on.

And then, I pushed her around the hospital in a wheelchair for test after test before finally having to help her onto a surgical bed that was wheeled away from me for an emergency surgery to rid her body of an infection that has taken up residence in her ankle. She grew weaker as the day wore on and by the time she got onto the hospital bed there was no denying that she was hurting and very sick.

Suddenly missing the first day of school wasn't the worse thing. Suddenly, my perceptive changed completely.

And tonight, as I sit beside her hospital bed, I know that the infection was not just in her ankle joint but rather, she has an infection in her blood. I know that the IV antibiotics are going in and having some side affects but are prayerfully doing their job.

And I know what it means if they don't. And my perspective is all different and crazy and upside down from when my worst fear was missing the first day of fourth grade.

I still hate she is missing school. My heart is eager for her to join her class -- sweet young 4th graders who have sent her handmade cards, and had their mamas text me to send their wishes. But I am so thankful that the pain did not subside Sunday night and mask the only symptom of something horrible and harmful that was welling up inside her. I am thankful the pain stayed and prompted us to act rather than ignore. I am thankful that we acted fast, that we trusted our gut and our sweet Little Red.

And as I sit here, overtired and overwrought with to-do lists for the kids starting classes and moving into colleges this week (Benjamin starts classes tomorrow; Mason moves in Friday; Claire moves in Saturday!),  I can not help but wonder how many times I have willed something to go the way I wanted it to go with no clue of the bigger more important picture. How many times have I begged for an outcome that makes sense in my limited perspective, as God shook His head because He alone knows the big picture.

There is a scenic parkway that will be the fastest connection for Claire to get from my house to her school. We have test driven it and during the day it is breathtaking.  And at night...well, at night it is darker than dark. The first time I drove it since our move, I was alone and it was late. I can not remember driving in the dark in Phoenix. Ever. The sky is large and the city lights cover a wide wide expanse. Even if the strip I drove didn't have streetlights, the lights from the city would offer a night light. So you might imagine the momentary confusion of the utter pitch black darkness that is night on the Natchez Trace Parkway. I rubbed my eyes several times at first thinking I must be going blind right there. I could not for the life of me see beyond my car lights. Nothing. It was darker than I ever remember darkness.

I wanted my lights on bright but kept having to flick them down because a car would approach. I was barely halfway home before my head was aching, my temples were throbbing and my eyes were feeling so strained that I thought surely I must be doing permanent damage to my vision.

See I couldn't bear that all I could see was what my light beams illuminated. I didn't need to see more than that for driving and yet, I could not rest in relying on that alone. I struggled that night. I simply could not relinquish my NEED, my absolute NEED to see beyond the beam of light. I wanted more. What was happening two feet beyond the light for instance? What was happening in the woods to the side of the road? I needed more light. I needed more of the path visible. I NEEDED to see what was further ahead down the road.

Or so I thought.

I'm being honest here. I hate not seeing God's big plan in all of this. I lay awake last night trying to make it make sense. God, why am I not able to be home with my college-bound kids this their last week under my roof full-time? What in the world is the good of Cate missing the first week of school. Why why why am I not home to make sure Benjamin is ready for college classes tomorrow?

I am strong-willed and highly-opinionated. I like for things to go according to plan -- and more often than not it is MY plan I want things to adhere to. Tonight I have no control. My plan is a bust. I might as well be on the Natchez Trace with lights stuck on low beam.

Oh how thankful I am to know the ONE who can see all; the ONE who IS the light and promises to illuminate the path of my feet.

I can not promise not to fret again. And I can not promise not to want things to go according to my plan. But tonight I choose to be grateful that God's plan got us promptly to this hospital and got treatment for my baby. And because I am thankful for that, I must trust and be thankful in knowing that He also has a plan for the timing, for the taking care of all of us. He lights my path.

Even when I am traveling down the darker-than-dark Trace.

Carol - The Blessings Counter