Wednesday, April 22, 2009
What A Difference A Day Makes
"What a difference a year makes." I know the power of this statement - at least three times over. Three times in my life I would have never dreamed that circumstances would turn out as they did.
The first is my marriage. What a surprise, so pleasant, never expected, and the best thing that has ever happened to me.
The second is my first son's arrival, Michael, into our lives.
The third is Michael's sickness. Maybe there are others too, but none as significant and earth moving as those three. I thank God I do not know His ultimate plan for my life - the smallness of my humanity could not endure the shock of Truth, nor would I then ever learn to walk by faith.
At the same time I am thankful there is a God that I believe is in control, because I believe that that nothing we endure or suffer is ever in vain. All adversity is part of "fighting the Good fight and running the race to completion". We cannot be the judge of what is "success and pleasure or failure and pain" - as what the world considers to be a failure or pain may ultimately be the best thing that ever happens to you.
I know that through all struggles and pain, good can come - like the phoenix from the ashes.
I am infinitely thankful today for my adversity. Today is Earth Day, but to me it is Michael's Surgery Day. I will always recall this date with a tightening in my heart that causes pain - but that pain can also be recognized as growing pains for wisdom and love.
On Michael's Surgery Day, forever ingrained in my soul is the memory of handing Michael over to the surgical team and watching one of the team carry him away, our tiny son draped over her shoulder in his hospital gown, the gown too big for his tiny body, Michael hugging her, a stranger, and clutching his Snoopy and little blanket. My heart ached to take his place. My heart's seams were being stretched in a way I did not know was possible.
On Michael's Surgery Day, my heart grew and expanded as I traveled to a place I had never been before. Through His suffering, my heart expanded and increased my ability to know compassion and to love greater - everyone who suffers, especially the little children.
On Michael's Surgery Day, my heart's memory will always recall the Waiting. As my husband and I stood on the pediatric floor (we could not possibly sit down in the waiting room during those 5 hours) I happened to gaze out the window at about the fifth hour. Michael's tiny hospital bed, surrounded by the surgical team, was there - being wheeled by as I by chance happened to look out that window, across a courtyard and through a bank of windows that opened onto a hallway. His bed and he were completely draped and connected to every line possible. When I happened to look out that window and caught that 1 second glimpse, those seams of my heart tore and broke open. My heart bled freely and my legs gave way, but in that moment I lifted my head and gave thanks. That glimpse meant Michael was coming back to us.
On Michael's Surgery Day, that 1 second glimpse was followed by the horrendous wait before we finally saw him. We were choking inside as we treaded down that pediatric ICU hallway, until we finally saw him in his bed, his Snoopy laying beside him as witness to his life saving surgery, while we stood in his ICU room - breath stolen from our lungs as we watched him laying there, a ventilator breathing for him, a chest tube draining blood and fluid from his heart and chest, and every arterial and vein line possible connected to his tiny 28 month old body.
On Michael's Surgery Day, Earth Day, I struggle to find the connection between the two - and the only words I can find to even speak say this: I am thankful for both of God's gifts to me.
Michael is my firstborn son, infinitely and immeasurably dear to me, while this planet Earth is God's firstborn child and gift to us. We should be treating this planet like we care for our own child. When my son hurts, when he was so sick - and when our planet hurts and now is so sick - our hearts should tighten and we should gasp for breath. We should move to act out of compassion and love to fix it, to nurture it, to help it grow. Like the pain of our children becomes our pain - the pain of this earth should be ours too. Our hearts should burst at the seams - and yearn to love greater. Our ability to love and feel love should grow when we collectively experience pain and suffering because our Earth is suffering. Earth is suffering just like the children on this Earth are suffering and will suffer needlessly if we do not act to embrace, love, and nurture this gift of planet Earth that God has granted us.
If we love our children we must love planet earth. If we do not protect planet Earth as our precious child, then we do not love our children. So when you recycle, you are loving your children, even if you have no biological children. When you reduce and reuse and repurpose, you are demonstrating love. Earth is our only home and if we destroy it, we are heartlessly destroying our childrens' future.
There is a Divine connection between Michael's Surgery Day and
Earth Day. This Day for me will always remind me to Love. Love my
children. Love the Earth. It should also do the same for you. Because 1 year, just 1 day - can make a world of difference.
*photo, april 23, 2008 Michael and Ginger awaiting transfer from pediatric ICU