Sunday, January 17, 2016

Here I will Stand, Here I will Dwell

I love a fresh start, a clean page, and most especially a new year. January always feels so full of promise and hope. Though I don't make resolutions, I do resolve to do things better and set goals for the coming year. I like to focus on a word or two maybe because that's all I can remember. Ha! In pondering and praying about 2016, the words stand and dwell kept coming to me. The idea of being unmoved by circumstance is wonderfully appealing to me. And staking a claim on promises, dreams, new land is what I'd love for this year to be about.  

My friends and family tell me I'm steady and I am glad to agree. You won't have to wonder what sort of mood I'll be in when we meet and I am ever looking for the bright spot in every dark sky. But I know that in my heart of hearts, there are things that make me waver. I want to stand gracefully no matter the circumstance or expectation. I love even more the idea of peacefully dwelling in peace right where I am. I journaled about these words and my hope for the new year on January the 5th. It was just three days later that I got a call from the school nurse to say Emerson had fallen, a broken bone was suspected and I should come right away. The irony wasn't lost on me that my word to focus on for the entire year was stand and just a few days later, a fall happened. Is it bad that my first response was relief when I heard it was anything but head lice? I still have PTSD and it's been three years. Bones have been shattered, NBD, at least there aren't microscopic bugs crawling through the locks of my babe. Seriously, those relentless tiny beasts will survive the apocalypse.

In addition to being thankful that my head wasn't already starting to itch, I was overcome with gratitude for a quick thinking PE coach who saw readily that an x-ray was necessary. We would be okay. We are blessed with ample and fantastic medical facilities all around our city and we have good health insurance. I was so proud of how Emerson handled herself though there is no doubt that it was tremendously painful. Each time she described the way her foot landed on the mat after her handstand to the varied caregivers she saw, my brain scrambled to wash away the image as quickly as it formed in my mind's eye. Just oww!

She didn't waver as she moved her ankle further and further back the way it needed to be for the technician to get the best x-ray images. He told her it would be painful and it was obvious that it was, but she did as he asked without complaint. When the doctor told her that her ankle was fractured and would require a cast, she nodded silently, her eyes brimming with tears. When she was fitted for crutches and had to practice walking on them with her freshly splinted ankle, she listened attentively to his instructions and was walking on the crutches on her first attempt. They asked us to sit in the waiting room while they prepared paperwork for us to take to the pediatric orthopedist straight away where they would assess if surgery was required. As we sat, the EMT came in carrying two small plastic cups-- one full of water, and one holding two Advil tablets. He handed them to Emerson and asked her to take them. She told him she'd never swallowed pills and didn't think she could. He encouraged her to try telling her she could do it by simply putting them on her tongue and taking a big drink of water. She did as he asked but the pills did not go down. He asked her to try again, which she did, but to no avail. He went back to refill the water cup and asked her to empty it and the pills would surely go down and blurted "this isn't hard!" She drank the cup with tears streaming down her cheeks.

This was the wall. We had tapped out the "let's try hard things" quota for the day. She was done. She didn't need to clear another hurdle of bravery today and it was time for me to stand.

I told the EMT tending to us that we would use our own chewable version and to please leave it. Visably frustrated, he took the empty cup and asked her to spit the now bitter pills into it. He returned a few seconds later with a liquid dose of the medication he had in his stock all along. This version is for children ages 2-11 and Emerson is 10. This was the appropriate course for her all along. After passing her the cup he said, "You just broke your ankle without complaint and you can't swallow two little pills. You're stubborn!" Though he had been perfectly kind up to this point, I had a visceral urge to throat punch the guy. Behold the power of words to bring either life or death. I know he was only frustrated because he didn't see this as a big deal, a big ask. And on most days it probably isn't. But some days are filled to the brim with plenty of challenge and there just isn't room for one more "you can do it!" song.

My aim isn't to berate well-meaning care givers suggesting alternative forms of safe medication. Instead I realize that all of this serves as a great reminder that bravery, strength, and standing tall, are so very misunderstood. The truth is, when someone realizes their own limitations and understands when they have hit the wall, that's what strength looks like. It's not stubbornness or weakness or anything else.  My girl is so brave and she doesn't have to swallow anything to prove it. Bravery is in her DNA and mine too. 

My heart was so heavy after seeing her in pain, watching her sit through four hours of appointments and the failed pep talk. I looked at her and said, "You're so brave." She shook her head and said, "No, I'm scared," and I replied, "Oh, girl, you can be both. You can feel more than one thing at a time. Listen, bravery isn't the absence of fear, it's carrying on in spite of it." This is just one of many very proud moments I have had with this little warrior. 

I wish I could say that our time has gone swimmingly since this incident, but it really has not. We both fell the other day when I was "helping" her down a few steps off the bus. This little trick landed me flat to my back on our brick walkway. Ainsley got a stomach virus which displayed itself in a most un-tidy fashion, Dirk's still traveling way more than either of us want him to for work, and yet I am still standing. 

I'm delighted to know that clean pages and fresh starts can happen every day, not just on the first of January. His mercies are new each morning. I praise the God of heaven and earth that good health is our norm and smooth waters are what we know. But I will tell you this, though we wouldn't readily choose it ourselves, we can take a rough sea. We do not venture alone since our good guide is at the helm and we shall persevere. So in the midst of disinfectant scrubbing and assisting the temporarily casted, I stand on the promise that my God is good, so very good and I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 

Here I will stand, here I will dwell.

3 Comments so far - Add yours!

  1. Lump in my throat. Watery eyes. Love you beautiful one . . . and your writing too.

  2. Thank you for sharing your special word and your thoughts about it. Goodness--how many times do we feel like running when dwelling is what we ought to be doing. By God's grace.

    1. So true, Grace! I've run before but I am learning that dwelling is the far better choice. Thanks for stopping by!