I want to write about some circumstances that we have found ourselves in in the past 4 1/2 weeks, but my goal is NOT to elicit sympathy or praise.....my goal is only to share exactly what I said - circumstances - and what has been happening in my heart through it all.
Chris has a pressure sore/wound that he developed from sitting in his wheelchair. A little over a month ago I helped Chris get up in the morning before work and took care of a wound he had developed. It looked small, clean, and on the right track. When I looked at it that night it had tripled in size and looked completely different and, to spare the details, it looked awful......something had drastically changed and we both instantly knew it had to be taken seriously. It was only a few days later that the wound doctor made the declaration that Chris' wound was infected and was now down to the muscle and he must stay in bed all but 2 hours per day to allow it to heal.
What does it look like to be in bed for Chris? Because of his paralysis he is unable to move in bed: he can't roll, move pillows, move sheets, hold books, feed himself, etc. He is able to access his computer however and is able to hold a cup to drink water if it's propped up with a pillow in one particular spot.
It has now been 4 1/2 weeks since he's been in bed and the doctor is estimating another 4-6 weeks of staying in bed before it will be healed.
Oh how the fears that lie deep within my heart and my soul come soaring to the surface when situations like this present themselves. INFECTED WOUND: Instantly before I can stop it the fear of losing Chris consumes my mind.....'MY Chris......What if it happens quickly?......What if THIS is the time the Lord wants to bring him to heaven......it happens to quads all the time.....I'm not ready.....I'm not ready to say good-bye......I'm not ready to lose my best friend......I'm not ready to lose the only person who knows every depth of my being......PANIC.....No, don't panic, it will be fine......but what if it's NOT?......the infection can go to his bloodstream so easily and then that's it....he's gone from me.....he'd be with the Lord......Is THAT enough for me?......Is it possible for me to stay so focused on the Lord and the Spirit that I'll really be able to have peace even as I miss him?......Is God's comfort REALLY enough?......deep in my soul I believe it is....but....is it?....."I DO believe, help my unbelief!"
And so it goes until Chris stops me. He interrupts my thoughts with a joke or a funny dance or a random comment and I'm brought out of my head and into the present moment - he IS with me right now, so let me live today......"tomorrow has enough worries of it's own".......
As the days have blended into weeks Chris has amazed me. He has been positive, funny, and filled with life most of the time. He has been extremely focused on getting his schoolwork done and for the most part has succeeded. I think he's been maybe 1 or 2 days behind in some assignments, but otherwise he's right on track. He is in pain and it's increasing with each passing day as his muscles grow weak and sore from the bed, but the strength in his spirit has grown stronger......"in our weakness He is strong".......
I began this journey with my game face on - ready to be compassionate, organized, efficient, and fun but my determination has not been enough. My perseverance and drive grows weary as I depend on MY OWN strength to carry me.....MY OWN independence....MY OWN sense of responsibility.....MY OWN knowledge.....MY OWN problem-solving....MY OWN energy.......notice a pattern??
As my focus and determination fade with fatigue, selfishness rises to the surface and before I know it my thoughts are much more focused on what I deserve, what rights I think I have, what I need, what I should be able to do, how I am spending MY time and MY energy. Now, before you jump to my defense and say, "Suzie, of coure you get tired. You have needs to. You shouldn't neglect yourself, etc" remember my game face. Remember my compassion. Remember my organization. Remember my efficiency. Remember my plan to be fun.....that was my "plan". That was the desire of my heart. I wanted to be able to be all of those things for Chris. I love him. But relying on my own ability fails. And dividing out the tasks to friends fails as well. What needs to change and be transformed is my heart. The selfishness that seems inevitable needs to be replaced with the love of Christ. Not once during his life did Jesus' plan to be compassionate fail. Not once did his fatigue and weariness allow his selfish desires and attitudes to creep to the surface. Why is that? Jesus relied on the Father. He ONLY did the will of the Father. He continued to be selfless in hunger, in thirst, in fatigue, in pain. And this is my desire as well. To consistently be filled with the Holy Spirit so that I too exude love, joy, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control. And I have decided that until I reach this point I will do what God asks of me: I will confess my faults, confess my selfishness, confess that I need a friend to hold my hand and cry with me and then turn my tears to laughter and encourage me on my way.
I am not independent. I do not have the answers. I do not have self-control. I forget things. I am unorganized. I think about myself and what I want and act on it. But....
But I love the Lord. I love my husband. I love my life - in sickness and in health.
This is all I have to give......I give the Lord my life and ask for him to strengthen me in whatever way that I need so that I may be a shining light of all the goodness of Christ.
If I need a friend, I will ask for one.
If I need energy, I will ask for it.
If I need to cry, I will let it out.
If I need to laugh, I will call a friend.
If I need understanding, I will seek His face.
And I will choose to believe that He is true.....that He is good.....that His will for my life is perfect.....and that He loves me completely......."I DO believe, help my unbelief!"
And in the midst of it all, I will enjoy the family that He has given me today.
Who says that staying in bed has to be miserable???