Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wanting to Stand

By the time you read this Jake will probably be in the midst of surgery. I am so scared for him... for the surgery itself and for the recovery process, and what it may mean for gaining his function back. They will be doing a muscle graft to cover where they take out the damaged skull. The muscle will not grow back wherever they take it out from, and they may be using the entire latisimus muscle in the right side, which is associated with paddling for surfing. That is just one of the options I heard was being discussed, but I pray that is not the case. I doubt I will sleep well tonight...

I really just wanted to share with you all my experience with Jake this morning. It is truly amazing where he is at... he has his emotions, his empathy, and his FAITH back. We have shared with him a little bit, in the midst of tears on both ends, our own spiritual journeys through this time and the hope we have for him. The first thing he did when I saw him this weekend was motion to a chair and tell me that I could sit down. When he was done watching TV once he told me I could flip channels if I wanted. In the mornings he gets the most emotional. Yesterday morning he was depressed about not being at school for his senior year. This morning he said he was thinking about "home," then later "people." One time my mom was bickering with my dad, and Jacob told my mom to "be nice." He is incredibly sensitive. Before his accident he was always getting on my parents nerves and wanting to be out of their authority. Now he begs my mom to stay with him and not go down to get a coffee (so she sends me instead :). He asks where my dad is, and my dad is the only one that he actually brings things up with... with me and others he seems to only want to talk if we bring something up. He trusts my dad. He loves my mom. He needs them. He is so weak. He doesn't know how he will get through. My parents bring him some hope.

Specifically, I want to share with you my experience with him this morning, starting at 5 30 AM (my mom woke me up telling me to come over and hang out with him). I don't know how to begin to recount this, so I will quote my journal entry from this afternoon. Here goes:

What a weekend. Once again, Lord, you blow away all of my theories as I actually experience you, and experience the promises you have for me.
The closest way I can put my experiences in words is the phrase "hope in sorrow." Restoration in pain. Healing in brokenness. Not that in the midst of sorrow we see a far off hope... but that this hope is so close to us, because we find that somehow this sorrow IS our hope.
Jacob was thinking about home. Sad. Depressed. Frustrated. My mom and I were sharing with him a bit of our experiences, and how far God has brought him. Which only brought more tears (O, the joy of sharing tears of sorrow together! It is so necessary). We were explaining to him how long it will take. Then, in the midst of tears, Jacob cried out in his still feeble voice, with agony in his face and his eyes, "I want to stand!" It was a cry for something he felt inadequate for, yet also a command for that moment. We said "OK." We got him to the side of the bed, then encouraged him as he stood up with our help. He stood up, and stood there WITHOUT OUR HELP for at least a few moments. More tears of sorrowful joy. Then we helped him get over to a chair and sit, where he stayed for about half an hour. We made him smile for a few pictures with us. We called the nurses in to see, and when they came in Jacob slowly said to them, with a huge grin on his face, his eyes bright with excitement, (tears still there), "I did it!" I stood! I walked! as they showered him with love, encouragement, hugs, more tears, and as we made him pose for a few more pictures. Later when my dad came, the first thing he told my dad was "I stood up by myself!" I cannot express how good it was to hear that joy in his voice and see it in his face.

Let me backtrack. About half an hour earlier, I read him the following lyrics from a song called "All Around" by The Glorious Unseen.

When my world is caving in
When my hopes are wearing thin
When I’m choking in my sin - Lord, you meet me here
When all around is crashing down, I find myself alive in you
Holy one, renew
When all around is crashing down, I find my spirit crying out
Holy one, consume
When I listen to the fear
When I feel my end is near
When all hope has disappeared - Lord, you meet me here
Will you pour out again?
God of mercy, here I am reaching out to you
- Reaching out for a breakthrough
Father, hear my cry of desperation once again
I look into your eyes - and know a love that has no end

As he sat on the edge of the bed before standing, my mom, Jacob and myself. all shared a very intense moment of tearful despair, coming out of the moment before. As he cried, and I cried, I leaned in and explained something to him.
"Jacob," I said, "I've been trying to figure out why God would let something like this happen. And I don't have an answer. But you must know that God is right here crying next to us. He didn't want this to happen. But just like those lyrics I just read you, you must know that it is in these deep, dark moments when God is closest to us. God is right here with you, Jacob. He wants to heal you. He wants to heal me. He wants to heal everyone. This is the path the he has before us, before you. In the same way that you would use energy to surf, to bike, to hang out with friends... now you are to use that energy to push yourself to get better. Jacob, you are so loved, and you are doing so good. Ready?"
Then we had him stand. Both standing and sitting and all the time, there was sorrow. There is sorrow, but tinged with hope, faith and love. Somehow they are mixed. There are the feelings out of which the tears flow.
Father, heal Jake. Let him know that he is not abandoned. Do whatever it takes to restore him. Same with me. Same with everyone. Do what you must. Help us be open to this.

-Robbie (Jacob's brother).

If you want more of this, read Psalm 77. And/or listen to music by The Glorious Unseen. Both understand this mixing of sorrow and hope. Both ask the questions of doubt and despair, and in that find hope.


Anonymous said...

I am praying for all of you!!! and for the doctors! and for God's continued healing hand! thank you for keeping all of us updated! I wrote on your Comments only 1x before, but I read it daily,and pray for you all daily! Also, all your sharing re God's love for us and plan for us, are for encouraging to me, as I go through my 'dramas/trauma's in life! thanks for all your comments. God really does love us...wish we could just remember this moment by moment! Hugs, another believer.

Anonymous said...

You don't know me but I am a mother of two precious little boys, ages, 7 and 5. I have been following Jacob journey for the past 7 weeks now. I call Jacob "my little buddy" when I am talking about him to others. I am amazed at his strength and his courage, as well as the whole families. I have laughed and cried with you over the past several weeks and will continue to do so throughtout his journey. I will continue to pray for Jacob's recoverery physically, mentally and emotionally. Thank you for sharing Jacob's journey with us. You are all in my thoughts and prayers daily.

Stephanie said...

The picture of Jake smiling his huge grin brought tears to my eyes. I've been so absorbed in my own little world and feeling stress and fear about some personal things going on. How silly and selfish I feel at this moment. God has performed so many miracles and has brought Jacob so far. I know his trials aren't over by a long shot but wow, "Jacob" is back! I'm so happy for your family...just to be able to talk with him and see his same personality and sense of humor must be such a blessing! Please tell him that Jeff and I (and the kids) have been praying for him. Heck, just tell him we said "HI". We'll be praying for his surgery and recovery! Love you all...

Dena said...

Jacob is so lucky to have a such a great family, and a brother who loves him so much. What a beautiful post you did Robbie. You have my prayers! I know how important family is. I am a mother with two children. I will be praying for Jacob, you and your family. God bless!

Ruby Denise Parton said...

I do not know you. But my daughters and I pray for you. You have hope, keep hoping, keep believing, Jake will be whole again, a free man to live out an incredible life. God is making him a mountain that can not be shaken. And to you Robbie, God is renewing your strength and making you into a mountain that cannot be shaken. God will not disappoint you, hang on and know that you all will be free men soon, the son shining in your incredible lives!

Kim Ratcliff said...

Wow, what an incredible brother you are to Jacob. I loved your eloquent journal entry and thank you for sharing. All our love and prayers to the Kirkendall family. What a special family you are.
With love, the Ratcliffs

Joslin3 said...

You guys are each so unbelievably brave. The depth of your faith continues to amaze me. We're praying for each of you.


Lori said...

I can't stop thinking about all of you today. I drove by the Kaiser this morning on my way to work and waived and wished for a good day for Jacob (and family too). Hugs! xoxo