Me? I’m attempting to go through our journey and countdown 31 things I used to have to do for Danny, that I don’t have to anymore. This exercise has already taken me down roads I haven’t traveled in my mind in quite some time. It has, and will allow me to be reminded just how far we really have come since August 16, 2005.
It’s the last day! (Really, it’s the day after the last day, but I’m finishing anyway.)
I’ve struggled with the #1. What should it be? To be honest, I should have made my list ahead of time; it would have made each day easier. However, since I decided to jump into this project last minute, each day I’ve had to go back in time in my head. It’s not been pretty.
But, I wanted the last thing I told you to be big, to be important, to be the biggest, most #1 worthy thing. And, yet, even as I’m typing this now, one day late, I still have no idea where my fingers will take me. Stream of consciousness, at it’s best.
This 31-Day Writing Challenge has been full of many care-giving related activities. You’ve learned or had it confirmed that we had to do everything for Danny, as he would have done it for himself-literally, ev-er-y-thing.
It’s been a transparent exercise; perhaps more transparent than I’ve been before. Perhaps it seemed a little list-y some days, but I hope you’ve gotten a better understanding of the early days and how heavy they were-physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
I could tell you about having to give Danny oxygen to breathe, or how we had to work to keep germs away from him, or even how we carried him up the stairs to see Corbin’s room.
But, what is the #1? What is the big thing? The big finale? One last piece to the countdown?
It’s a simple lesson, but difficult to apply sometimes.
1. I Choose Faith over Fear
I used to be so afraid-afraid Danny would stop progressing, afraid he’d die, afraid that he’d get sick again or fall down and hurt himself. Would he walk again? Would he work again? Would his memories come back and would he be able to make new ones? I was afraid for our marriage, ourselves as parents. I was scared for Corbin and how he would grow in our abnormal environment. Fear gripped me and would pull me under the waves of the storm. I fought it some days, but other times allowed it to swallow me. I was fearful that Danny would be incapable of so many things.
And, maybe that’s the #1-the countdown culminates with a revelation that while he once was incapable, he is now able.
It’s not that I don’t worry about Danny’s recovery, how we can fund therapy or care givers, how we can get back to a semblance of husband and wife, or what our future holds years down the road. Will we still be dealing with this? Will Danny be more prone to Alzheimer’s because of his brain injury? Will I still have to get up with him at night?
I could worry myself sick. I could think about such things, roll them over my mind and drive myself and everyone around me crazy.
Or I could…
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)
It’s exercise-faith. It moves and grows, but can, only through trials in life.
I love the way my friend Monica writes about it here.
“And sometimes, when disaster strikes, it’s not to show God how strong our faith is, but to show ourselves. For we never know how sure our own foundation is until it’s broken in two. And then when we stand, each foot on a separate piece of uneven ground, we know that we know that we know that despite it all, yet will I praise Him.”
It’s true. You never know what you’re capable of until you’re put to the test, until you’re thrown in the pit or tossed about on the waves.
“And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” Mark 4:37-41 (NASB)
“Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Don’t we feel like that sometimes? That God doesn’t seem to care? That He doesn’t see us? See our suffering? Know our hurt? Doesn’t He want to help? Why isn’t he helping? Why hasn’t he restored Danny? Why? Where? What if? Will this?
“Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Why am I afraid? The promises of God apply to me and Danny just like they apply to everyone else. The reality is that He is Sovereign. I need not worry or be afraid. I have faith because I have seen the continued hand of God working on us, His children.
Corbin got a blister on his big toe and the skin began to peel away from his toe. It bothered him. It hurt him. He complained about the pain. I heard him and went to help him, to cut away the dying skin. But, he was very afraid. He was crying big tears and pulling his foot away from me. He didn’t trust the process and was unsure of what I was going to do. I had to talk to him, convince him to trust me, to trust the process. And, when it was over, he hadn’t even felt the cutting, the pruning. Yet, he fell into me, crying and holding onto me in relief from his fear.
He learned a valuable lesson. We may not always understand the pruning, but we can always have faith in the Gardener.
I leave you with this quote from St. Francis de Sales that was written on poster board and hung in my Grandmother’s bedroom as she lay dying from cancer.
“The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering or give you the unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.”