Two weeks ago today, my husband and I were sitting in a waiting room as surgeons operated on our son's brain and skull. We envisioned an immediate future of bandages, wounds, and lots of bedside TLC.
One week later, I left my son at his grandma's house with the following stern instructions:
Don't be rowdy.
Don't be loud.
Just sit and watch T.V. and play video games.
Don't pick things up.
Don't climb all over the couch.
Do you understand?"
In other words... all of the energy I stored up for being a bedside nurse has been used to calm down my very active, very-much-recovered five year old boy.
It's hard to believe that only 2 weeks after surgery, he can feel so good. He is off of virtually all his pain medicine. I don't know if he's even supposed to be off it, but he is. He's been working on school work and helping with chores around the house.
The past couple of weeks have been momentous for Drew in a lot of ways, but it's also been huge for this mama, too. When I have brief moments of quiet, I feel a bit overwhelmed by what we've been through. Not the surgery so much, but the response from all of you.
This year, we have already learned about just how gracious, caring and prayerful our friends are through my dad's illness. But bringing it even closer to home with Drew's ordeal, we have been absolutely humbled.
I feel the need for a new outlook on my response to others' sufferings. So, here's my list of "What To Do":
Prayer is powerful and effective. I could write a book about how I feel about prayer after this experience, but others have gone before me and penned more eloquent & theologically sound words than I ever could. I do know this... God hears our prayers and answers them. Whether or not it's the answer we're begging for, only He decides. For me, the power of the prayers was more about the relationship and conversation it gave me with God than the outcome that followed. I had no idea that kind of peace was possible as I said goodbye to my child in the halls of a surgical ward. But it was all-encompassing and undeniable.
So, from now on... I've resolved to earnestly pray when I tell someone I will. It's the greatest thing I can do for a friend.
When it's appropriate, I will make myself physically available to GO to others when they're going through a trial. We had several visitors at the hospital (including pastors from my church and my parents church). What a shot in the arm (the good kind, not the "owwee" kind!) for our boy to see our friends and his. It made the hospital more normal, less threatening. It did us all a world of good. We also had friends who came to our house after we got home. We were so grateful for everyone who set aside their schedules and errands and "to-do's" to just spend time visiting with us.
So, from now on... when it's appropriate to do so, I will go. (I realize that sometimes, visitors can be too stressful in certain situations. I pray for the sensitivity to ask before going and respond accordingly.)
And finally, I resolved to SEND something to those who are suffering. This is probably the easiest one to do. Because I'm not really talking about gifts (although we have generous friends who gave Drew some awesome treats!!). During Drew's hospitalization, we also received cards, letters, emails, Facebook comments, blog comments and texts. I realized how easy and meaningful a word of encouragement truly is. I was also astounded by how many people still send cards. With all the modern avenues of communication available, I was blown away to get Get-Well cards in the mail. WOW!
So, I'm going to stock up on cards and stamps. And make sure I keep my "unlimiting texting" plan!
I pray that God will continue to use this experience to teach our family about love, compassion and generosity. We have a lot to learn, and a great example has been set for us to follow.