“We are inclined to think that everything that happens is to be turned into useful teaching. In actual fact, it is to be turned into something even better than teaching, namely, character.” ~ Oswald Chambers
Despite the tremendous pain I feel and the veritable time warp, brain fog associated with being virtually bedridden, my thoughts and prayers are clear and unceasing during this time. They practically haunt me every moment of the day as I lie here in this hospital bed in my parent’s living room. All the thoughts of what the coming months will bring are tough to wrap my mind around. I’m already crying now as I type this.
This is a tough situation for many, many reasons. I’ve decided I won’t go into all the sadnesses of the broken leg (primarily because it would make me quite blue), but I will share one sadness with you (a prayer need, actually).
Since we bought our home several years ago, I had dreamed that I would one day walk James to school. There is an elementary school just down the road from our house, and I had deeply desired to build up to walking him the short distance by the time he was old enough to go there. I worked so hard in physical therapy both then and now and that has always been one of the motivating pictures in my mind. James has been accepted into a “Transitional Kindergarten” program at that school which he will start in just over a month. Sadly, it looks like the only way I will be able to get James there is by Jay pushing me in a wheelchair as James holds my hand. Not exactly how I had hoped it would work out.
On one of our mini-road trips a few months ago, Jay was checking in at the hotel while James and I waited nearby in the lobby. James immediately gravitated toward two twin boys, probably about 7 or 8 years old, sitting alone, playing a video game. I rolled over to them in my wheelchair, propelling myself with my feet. James matter-of-factly but so sweetly announced, “that’s my Mom”. Without a pause, the twins began to immediately ask why I was in a wheelchair, why I talked funny and what was wrong with my face, in a tone more reminiscent of the playground bully than a quizzical child. I began to answer but my words stuttered. I felt my breath quicken and the blood run to my cheeks as I caught James’ stare. He quickly averted his eyes to the ground, but then without a word came to my side and looked back up at the boys in silence. Jay had overheard the exchange and whisked us away, loudly encouraging the boys, “to have a good day and BE COOL!” He wisely commented that kids left alone in hotel lobbies with video game babysitters are going to need far more help than our little guy.
As my dream of not being the wheelchair-bound Mommy has been sort of dashed for the time being, I can’t help but remember the exchange with those twins. As much as I understand how great it is for James to appreciate the differences in people and to stand up for the weak, the playground taunts ring painfully loudly in my head. And yet, I am where I am, and he will be where he will be, all in the mercifully loving, bittersweet will of the Lord. That being said, if I have to get carried on a stretcher to see my child start this new chapter of life, I will! Put in those terms, a ride in my wheelchair to the first day of school doesn’t seem that bad, right?
I’ve given this burden, this prayer, to the Lord, mainly in the form of deep sighs which I can’t fully articulate into words. It’s been made very clear to me that this newest hardship is just part of the squeezing and shaping process, developing a truer character not only in me but also in Jay and James. God be with us on this journey. He is and always has been.