I had the opportunity to visit our educator son’s classroom this week. The experience was surreal.
Where there was once a little boy, now stood a man. A survivor. The teacher. Our son.
Because of spring break, the school where he teaches wasn’t in session so halls were silent and desks were empty. Still… I envisioned young minds as they pored over spelling lists and labored over math.
As I entered our son’s classroom, he paused and smiled.
“Ahhh. Do you smell it?”
I knew what he meant. It was more than the wax-scented floors or the hint of disinfectant. More than the nostalgia of days gone by or the promise of a future yet to be.
The smell was that delightful mingling of tile, wood, and concrete. Notebook paper, Crayons, and pencil lead. SMART boards, gadgets, and big, plastic tubs. The mingling of old versus new and a heady combination.
I leisurely perused the bright, cheery posters and the delightful shelves of books– books that were our son’s saving grace so many long, dark years before.
My mind wandered to a different time…
Days, weeks, years spent in transition– a wearisome journey without reprieve.
“Mama, I don’t want to do this anymore…”
“I know, honey. I don’t want to do it either.”
How many treatments did this make? I couldn’t hazard a guess. It was enough to know our child’s frail arms were black and blue from earlier needle pokes, and still one more did nothing to make me want to remember.
My mama-heart ached and I tried not to cry.
“I’m so sorry,” Nurse Grace empathized, trying her best to find a good vein. “I think I’ve got it this time. Just bear with me…”
I steeled myself for our son and prayed the third time would be the charm.
Thank you, Jesus!
I watched Nurse Grace adjust the I.V. drip. She smiled and patted our son’s other untethered arm.
I knew the rest of the drill, so I waited.
Re-check of vitals.
This process would be repeated intermittently over the next couple hours.
Kiddo gave me a thumbs up and settled into the comfy recliner with his latest read– a thick, dog-eared volume of British history. It was one of his favorites. (At fourteen, our son was very well-read and somewhat of a scholar.)
“I’ll be right back. I’m going to get us some juice.” I forced my lips upward.
Of course, it was an excuse. A delay tactic to avoid facing the inevitable.
I was at the lowest point I’d been at since our son initially became ill, and my normally upbeat persona was headed south fast.
I.V. infusion therapy was no longer working.
The trial medication wasn’t touching the disease that robbed our teen of carefree years and innocence of youth.
I pressed my face to the cool, beige-colored wall, determined not to wilt.
In those few, fleeting moments I thought of life before sickness. Ordinary, beautiful life.
Life before lengthy hospital stays and endless E.R. runs.
Life before side-effect inducing meds of every size, shape, and color.
Life before blood transfusions, I.V. infusion therapy, countless tests, and talk of surgeries.
For the thousandth time, I begged God to take this elephant off our backs and kill it. To render it completely, thoroughly, undeniably dead.
Please, please, please… If you won’t take our child’s disease, Lord, give it to me! Give. It. To. Me.
Our new home didn’t matter.
New cars? Meant nothing.
A writing career? Over and done with.
You can have it all, Father… if you just make our son well…
I’ve found in life, that while easy is fun, it’s the hard things that channel success.
It’s the scraps and shreds of our tattered, torn, and resurrected lives that challenge and inspire us to rise to the occasion and move beyond the bar. Hardly easy and certainly not fun, but life-changing with a glimmer of promise and the seed of hope.
*Please join me again on Monday for Part 2 of my story. Find out how
God transformed our wasteland into victory*
Think you can’t do it? I didn’t think I could either… (Click to Tweet)
Always difficult to talk about, but here’s a story of hope: (Click to Tweet)
“Easy” is fun, but it’s the hard things that deliver: (Click to Tweet)