“Faith means living with uncertainty - feeling your way through life, letting your heart guide you like a lantern in the dark”
We never know what is ahead in life no matter how meticulous our plans are. And there are so many variables we can’t control. We can’t even control our own future, rather just have a goal and do our best to achieve it.
This was underlined, underscored and highlighted again and again as we moved through this latest health crisis with our grandson, G. Three weeks ago he became ill with flu like symptoms. Before two days passed he was in the emergency room. Within a few hours he had been transferred by ambulance to Comer Children’s Hospital at the U of Chicago hospital system. A few hours after that he had emergency surgery.
Whew….we all breathed a sigh of relief, crisis handled and over.
But no, wait. Fate had more in store. G. made some valiant efforts at getting better. They had removed all the tubes and he was beginning to eat again. But he had no appetite, and his color was not improving. In fact he was turning a horrid shade of gray.
A long, scary weekend passed as we waited for the surgeon to return from a conference. Oh there were docs looking in on him but no one seemed in charge and assured us that this was normal, that this kind of bowel surgery required time to heal.
However, once the surgeon returned he took one look at G. and rushed him back into surgery. This second surgery resulted in an ileostomy which will ultimately require a third surgery to reverse it and “put all the pieces together again”. This tiny body, 6 years old, now reduced to bones with flesh over them.
Oh I know, kids are so resilient and they heal so much faster than we adults do. But this little one is still struggling. He is, 3 weeks later, still hospitalized, fighting off yet another infection, this one from his pic line. We hope anyway. That would be the best scenario.
So back to best laid plans. After the first surgery my daughter in law was calling babysitters so she could attend some yoga classes that next week. We grandmothers were planning our return flights. G’s father was planning his workweek. G’s brother was planning an outing with his brother and some friends.
And then came the initial turn around. And the canceling of all those plans. G. is teaching us that plans can be made but they must be flexible. We don’t always get what we want and plan for. It is an emotional roller coaster to ride but it is life. It happens in smaller ways every day: we plan a route to work only to find the road is torn up and we must take a detour. We plan to have friends over for dinner and it snows too hard for them to come. We plan to run a marathon and then we get injured during training and it doesn’t happen. It is all just life.
The challenge is, then, how do we handle these challenges? What stuff are we made of? How flexible can we be in the face of what life throws at us?
I am older than most of you and have had my share of challenges. What each of them have taught me is a new tool, a new way of learning how to negotiate these detours in life. I feel fortunate to have the tools I do have. I used color extensively in the form of color breathing, my color sprays, and visualization. I used flower essences and healing creams. I used faith and prayer. I used love and encouragement. I used acceptance and patience. I used all the tools I could think of to get through this myself so that I could be totally present for this family. Most of all, I used my network of wonderful friends to help us through with their prayer and support. Thank you, all of you, for those prayers. They have made all the difference and I could feel your loving hearts reaching out to me in the darkest moments. Thank you so much for being there. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
We do not know the end of this story yet. G. remains in the hospital still, and will be there about a month, best scenario. This is a challenge to the whole family in more ways than one. But one thing I know for sure: prayer helps. You help. And I know that however this unfolds, it is for the highest and best good of all.