Monday, September 7, 2009

Friends and joy on Labor Day

Week #12

Jake is hanging out right now with 4 of his friends. I am sitting outside his room - not wanting to be too far but wanting to be close. Big smiles big bright eyes. I cannot even begin to tell you how incredible for me this moment is - you all already know - such a long haul to get to this point. He is tired and not fully here of course but Jake is back. He is coming back more and more each day. When he stands the dizziness is less and less - he cannot put weight on his heel yet - but there are so few tubes left. The physical therapist came in and already worked him - moving his limbs - allowing him to stand - giving him his homework. We are working his lungs, voice, throat - getting him ready to eat - working his up. He is longing for Arizona Green Tea. Yes they are already on their way. O what little things we will do - so thankful he can ask for what he desires. He has a huge slice with staple down his left-side back where they removed the muscle and two drain tubes coming out of his back. He still has the feeding tube in his stomach. He still has IV just below his left-side throat. And of course typical heart monitors. But other than that he has so few tubes from what he has had and - we can actually see them as temporary now.

I am almost afraid to celebrate too much - I feel guilty finding pleasure in his progress for I know that he wants to be where he was on June 27th. He wants to be in school, riding waves and fixies. I can see from here that he will get there again - that he has already gained strength. I have a better view from where I have been as to how ravaged his body has been. He can't see his head, back, shoulder. His view is limited in really understanding all the pain.

I guess as I write that is the lesson of my own pain as well. God sees it so much greater than we do. God is infinite and all-knowing. He can see our pain and he cares - empathizes - longs to restore. He sees the big picture and knows far more than me what is behind all this pain - where he is leading us through this pain - who we will bless - who will respond - who we will become. Growing spiritually is about growing in our view - seeing less from our standpoint and more and more from his. To see our own pain and others pain through the empathetic heart of God. That we may be blessed through blessing others.

I've cried out - deep, painful cries
All so lost - such utter despair
In anguish I've collapsed in sorrow
Exhaustion had overtaken me
Empty, torn apart, nothing left to give

Lord, even in my doubt you've answered me
You came near to me in my time of need
I heard your gentle whispers and your soft touch
You got my attention as you spoke boldly and urgently
You met me where I am, as I am, in my greatest need

I've seen you in the sanctuary, broken in worship
Praised you at the sea shore in the midst of creation
At the birth of my sons - I was left in awe of your love
Moment by moment, both in celebrations and hardships
Revealing glimpses of your glory, your love, your presence

I will never ever forget this moment - my greatest pain
It haunts me in my sleep and when I lie in sleepless waiting
Children playing with their parents - I long to hold them
Parents chasing after children - I long to help them
You have healed, you have restored, you have answered

Lord, your solutions are not what I would have done
My path would have avoided so much pain
My actions would have never gone down this path
And yet my view is not yours, mine knows great limits
Trust, hope, faith, love lead me through the pain to peace

I've known no greater tears and no greater laughter
What was lost - of greatest treasure - is found
What was hopeless has been restored - in greater beauty
Of what can I possible give back as worthy tribute
Thank you Lord, my God, I lay down my life before you

Joy in the journey...

Tom (Dad)


Armbruster Asylum said...

Hello Kirkendalls!

I've been following your blog since June. It's touching to read your words as Jacob progresses. How awesome that he is no longer vent-dependent! And food on the way ... how exciting! I am praying for all of you.

Kym Armbruster

cmegofast said...


Mr. Carvalho here.. I think of you often and read the blog when I get a chance. I hope you are doing well now that the breathing tube is out. I hope to see you at graduation in June.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Tom. That was so amazingly insightful: "He sees the big picture and knows far more than me what is behind all this pain - where he is leading us through this pain - who we will bless - who will respond - who we will become. Growing spiritually is about growing in our view - seeing less from our standpoint and more and more from his. To see our own pain and others pain through the empathetic heart of God. That we may be blessed through blessing others."

I hope I can remember that in times when all I see is my pain or a loved one's pain. Only God can redeem such trial and horror and loss into something growing and beautiful. Thanks for helping to show that to us. Your faith in His ultimate goodness, your openness to His teaching, and your demonstration of His strength in your weakness is such a great inspiration. Thanks a million for every word you write.

Much love and continued prayers,
Ginger R.

Anonymous said...

It is true. It feels like we know the destination now. Jacob made it through the trauma. This does not in any way diminish his Herculean efforts every day. It only means that all of the rest of us do not have to live with the hollow pit in our stomachs waiting for some other horrible reality for this beautiful young man. I am not particularly religious, but my spirituality has been heightened by your shared stories, and my reactions to them. Bless you all. Also, it happens to be my birthday today, so thank you for this gift.

Anonymous said...

Oh Praise our God! Isn't He wonderful in every way? For me to see the joy returning in your voices compares with the happiness that you now see as Jacob is returning to you. Just as he was struggling to survive, unable to communicate with you as he fought for his life, I feel that you all were struggling to survive the ordeal, totally focused on being their for Jacob, and rightly so. As things progress, I pray you will heal right along with Jake in every way. That you will be freed to experience your lives with the same or greater joy that you held on June 27th. Hopefully the largest drops and scares of the roller coaster ride will give way to the exhilerating yet more gentle hills and turns of an amusing ride that you will love to tell people about later. How much greater we appreciate everything after we have been without, or after we have fought for something we truly love.
So many things you have expressed to Jacob can be applied to your family situation as well. I hope you can listen to your own words and take comfort in them as well. > Accidents happen, it is not your fault. >People are surrounding you with love and support even if you do not experience it. >We try to take life one day at a time, depending on God to reveal what we are to be and do each day. >Our wounds are much deeper on the inside than what others see on the outside.
Thank you again for keeping this blog so we may join and support you through this time. Thank you that you have been off work and able to be there for Jacob every step of the way. These things will be shown to be just in line with His plan all along. Rest well tonight!

Guy Berry

Dave & Barb said...

Throughout these last weeks we have witnessed your calm and loving leadership, Tom. Your Father has been a steady source of reliable strength to you as you listen to Him, and walk with your family along with Jacob. On YOUR day Tom, may you continue to move within his tender lead as you journey with those who are most precious to you. Happy Birthday, Tom. We see our caring Father in you.

Victoria said...

Rec'd this email request to post from Carol:

Thank Jesus for how You are touching Jacob's body. God You are ever so amazing!!!!!

Blessings, Carol