After Christmas I sent out a Winter Greetings newsletter; I sent it out to all sorts of people and the wife of our pastor while we were in Yellowknife emailed back with a report of her own. She was diagnosed with MS a few years back; 3 years ago she walked 5km a day and within 4 months was in a wheelchair and that is where she has spent the last 2½ years of her life. In September 2006 she underwent open heart surgery for a valve repair. It was unsuccessful and her health status is not much improve and as a result of the surgery, her cholesterol is up which limits her diet.
I tried to draft a response back to her; but found myself unable to say anything. I wanted to say “just the right thing”; I wanted to encourage her......but that email just sat in draft.
At Easter, I sent an ecard and a picture of our family and again, she emailed back. The valve leakage was severe now and another heart surgery was required, however just prior to Easter she had to undergo an emergency hysterectomy, and the removal of her fallopian tube. The heart surgery would be delayed until June or August.
I felt much the same as I had when I'd read her first email. I wanted to encourage her but I didn't know what to say.....anything that came to mind sounded trite and shallow. As I thought about her, I realized that though I've not struggled with health issues (thank you Lord), I have struggled. I have felt hopeless and helpless and I could so relate to something she'd said: "Things aren’t always as we anticipate or expect and I have come to learn that life can change rather quickly."
Rabbit trial. One of my greatest desires growing up was to marry and have a family. When I met and got to know Brad, I discovered that we shared this desire for family......a large family. Before we got married we discussed the options and whether we should wait before we started having babies. Ultimately we decided not to. Little did we know that when we returned home from beautiful BC I was carrying a 'lil something extra!
Four weeks later, my new husband, father and sister were involved in a head-on car accident on highway 17 just east of Sault Ste. Marie. It was a miracle that they survived, along with the young man who was driving the other vehicle. It was during the days following the emergency surgeries that I learned we were expecting. I remember dad being in ICU, unable to speak and watching his eyes as I told him he was going to be a grampa. That was lesson number 1 in learning that we are not in control of what happens and things aren’t always as we anticipate or expect and can change rather quickly.
Back to that email. I looked to a couple people for their insight and wisdom; I'm so thankful for the counsel of others in my life! One of those individuals shared with me that his response to situations like these is often face-to-face time with the individual. Given this sort of situation, a personal visit is often called for and would greatly appreciated. Knowing that I was planning a get away, he he asked me if I would spend time out west if Brad couldn’t go with me?
Me? Go out there....alone? I didn't say anything out loud, but I sure was coming up with lots of excuses as to why I couldn't, shouldn't, wouldn't be able to do that. As the day wore on I couldn't NOT think about it, quite a bit, actually, and I became more and more enchanted I guess you could say, with the idea.
I can go;
I can be a friend;
I can listen;
I can cry;
I can share from my own experiences;
I can pray with her.....
and not only can I go, but I realized that I needed to go and I needed to go alone; as much for me as for her. She was what God used to get me to think beyond myself and the limitations I place on myself. Once I made that realization, I was so excited and I still am! Plans have continued to come together and the timing of it all couldn't be better. Almost like it was taken completely out of my hands and somebody else had planned it all!
Once this was settled, I was able to find the words to share with my friend. The only real omfort that I’ve found during those difficult times comes from knowing deep down that He loves me and that He is ultimately in control and no matter how I feel or what is going on, I can trust Him. As hard as the circumstances of this life might be and as much as I may not understand the whys of it all, it has been in and through those difficult times that I’ve learned more about God and who He is, and wants to be, for me.