Seven minutes of chest compressions as they struggled to restart my heart.
Seven minutes between life and death.
I was receiving a dialysis treatment when I realized I was rapidly getting short of breath and struggling to breathe. In a matter of minutes I went into respiratory arrest.
Becky had left the hospital for just a bit to attend to the needs of our special needs son when the doctor frantically called her with the news that I had crashed.
I wish I could say she had never received a call like that before but I can’t. Flashbacks to 2009 riveted her mind and body.
Some people say your life flashes before your eyes in life and death moments like this. That’s not true. All you can think about is your family.
“I was supposed to live one day longer than Jon Alex. This can’t be it!”
“Oh Becky, I am so sorry. I’m so sorry.”
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. (James 4:14)
Almost a month ago now, we went to the Emergency Room at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. My chronic foot problem had taken a bad turn and become infected once again. We feared another surgery and another round of IV antibiotics at home.
Just a few hours later I was laying in the ER when the doctor came in to reveal I was also in renal failure with chronic kidney disease.
Over the past three weeks I have had to come to terms with living a “new normal” of life on dialysis, pursuit down the road of a new kidney, respiratory arrest, and my foot infection and surgery.
There is so much still to process. So much to distill and reflect upon.
It would be so easy to lash out and demand to know “Why God? Why now? Why in the world would you give us this burden on top of everything else we go through raising our son with special needs?”
What did I do? Why me? Why us? What purpose or plan could you possible have for this?
“How much more do you expect us to endure?”
I have found it easier to deal with those questions in the daylight.
It’s the nighttime hours, when I lay wide awake with only my thoughts that I struggle.
I’m still too weak, too vulnerable, and too desperate at night in the dark to resist the darts of doubt and fear that the Enemy hurls at me all night long. So as I lay there I pray for divine protection of my mind, thoughts, emotions, and spirits.
And in defiance, summoning all the courage I can feebly muster, I mutter like Job, “Blessed be the name of the Lord. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?”
There will be time. The answers will come some day. God’s plan, God’s purposes, God’s story will be revealed.
I don’t like this chapter of my life’s story. I don’t like this plot turn one bit. But it’s not my story. I don’t get to write it, edit it, or dictate how the story unfolds.
I don’t have to undestand God fully, in order to obey him completely.
Faith is accepting my role and part in the telling of his story, and then doing everything I can to glorify him and be a story worth telling. To let my faith under fire, and my grace in my perseverance, to be the stage for his glory to be revealed.
And that’s your purpose and your role as a special needs parent. To let him tell his story through you and for your response to the challenges in your life to become your testimony to his faithfulness as he walks alongside you through your personal fires.
His story continues. Your story continues. Play the part you have been assigned with everything in you.
Paul said run the race with your eyes set on the prize before you. Each of us is in a different race of a different magnitude, with different hurdles and lengths. Whatever your race, let it be said of you and me that we finished strong!