Today marks 6 months since we went to our annual Christmas party, came back to my dad’s house to sleep and ended up in the ER with the trial of our lives. I was just reading some of my old posts about how I was sure that we were headed for greener pastures. How for years I have been looking for the light at the end of whichever tunnel I’m in- certain that I see its glimmer off in the distance. And yet here we are- tunneled again. And this one has been a doozy.
The best way to describe where we are lately is Wednesday. Brian keeps referring to how he’s doing as, “I’m on Wednesday.” We’re at the proverbial hill, trying to make it over the hump, not sure we’ll make it to the weekend. Stroke recovery can continue in small ways for years to come, but most say to give yourself a year. A year to try and get your life back. A year to wonder if you will. And this part feels a lot like Wednesday.
On the morning of the stroke I sat by myself in a freezing cold waiting room in my pajamas, while Brian was in surgery with a team of doctors trying to pull the blood clot out of his brain. Those hours alone felt like an eternity and by the time I started calling people and they started showing up, I realized that I had been alone too long. My mind had gone down some rough roads and no one (but God himself) was there to help me from falling off the cliff.
When I got my sister on the phone, I started thinking out loud. “What if he can never talk to us again? What if he never walks again? What if, what if, what if.” And she said, “You might have to face those things. But you don’t have to face them today, so don’t.” I walked over to the window and watched the sun come up and took a deep breath.
It’s easy to let our thoughts plummet us over the edge. The unknowns and what ifs can cause us to free fall into an abyss of fear unless we capture them and tell them the truth. The truths that we know and can count on. That Jesus will give us the strength to face each day, whatever it brings. That we will be shaken but not destroyed.
This road has been long and it’s nowhere near over. There are lots of things we expected to be hard (and they are), but there are far more unexpected hard things. We are putting incredible energy into keeping our family relationships healthy, our expectations realistic and our hope alive. We’ve had high highs and low lows and remind each other often that all we can do is face today (and maybe prep for tomorrow.) On the days that Brian is afraid that our 3 year old daughter will never know life without her dad crippled, we acknowledge that possibility. It is important for him (and all of us) to speak those fears and give them their moment to break into our reality, but we don’t have to live there. Hope is a better place to live. And as I’ve said before, I’m really good at hope.
So if you find yourself on Wednesday, when the end feels far away and yet you’ve already worked so hard, fight for hope. Wednesdays are fertile ground for fear and discouragement. Listen to God’s truth and tell it to yourself- hundreds of times. And then watch the sun come up, take a deep breath and just face today. And always look for glimmers.