After we returned home from the most magical Make A Wish trip, I knew we were heading to a season of busy and hard. There was a minor surgery on the horizon but beyond that, there lingered a feeling of things looming ahead. With two medically complex kiddos and many moving pieces to my life, I guess anything was possible. That’s why we had scheduled the trip right around the start of the new year and we soaked up every minute of Florida sun, family time and Mickey Mouse bliss. It was perfect.
Just two weeks later, Eve had her surgery. I will share more later, but in general everything went smoothly and we were back to swing of things. The next week, we had an unexpected death in the family that shook our foundation and left us grieving each our own way. Our kids with trauma pasts dealt with the loss so differently than our girl with cognitive disability and then there were us parents grieving the loss as well. This was not in our plans.
Then Eve ended up in the hospital unexpectedly. And finally, Josie’s tumor started to grow with obvious physical symptoms. We headed for surgery and as I am writing this, she is recovering at the hospital from a tumor resection with a scar that looks like a giant zipper from her shoulder blades to her lower back. I feel like saying “enough already” and somehow convincing myself that this HAS to be the end of this season. I am weary. Once again, I am reminded that even though it would make sense that I needed a break, there could always be more. Or we might have a season where we breathe and reflect back on all that’s happened.
As I was updating friends on Josie’s surgery on social media, an image of a woman dancing in the rain scrolled across my newsfeed. Perhaps you have seen it too. “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” As I watched my girl lay in the hospital bed, that quote at first seemed flippant. Whoever this lady is, probably didn’t just hand their baby to the surgeon to be cut open and remove a cancerous tumor out of their spinal cord. She probably didn’t have to say goodbye to a dear family member right before that. She didn’t have to sit in the hospital room with a medically complex child. Obviously not, if she has time to dance in that rain! I’m not sure I’d want the extra wet laundry. What does she know?
The last few days, I have been reading Kate Merrick’s book and Still She Laughs as she shares about lessons learned after her daughter died from cancer. This quote stopped me on my tracks today:
“If I idolize a certain season in life, I will drown. I must learn to extract the joy from each and every season, or I will experience a different kind of death. I can’t live in the past; I can’t live in a place of missing the good old days. I need to agree with Jesus that, while things can be different or even disappointing, there is still a life abundant for me to grab a hold of.”
There is still a life abundant for me to grab a hold of. How true! If I reflect on this year so far and all that has happened, I can still see a life abundant. Despite the hard, the loss, the hospitals and suffering. Despite the way I mess things up or even the blessings that I can’t recognize as such. Life abundant may not look like dancing in the rain at the moment, but it’s there. Right now it’s watching my brave Josie painting as she lays in the hospital bed. And getting that short walk with gentle breeze and warm sun on my skin. Or that nurse that encourages both of us on this marathon. Finding joy takes intentional effort no matter what the circumstances are. I am thankful for the reminder and I thought you might be too.