Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fragile Faith

Another exhausting day.

Each time we go to a doctors appointment it takes at least 40 minutes each way. So a one hour appointment takes about 3 hours. We were going to spend a day catching up on a lot of school work which Jake continues to do on computer. By the time we got home tonight we were done. We got called last night to go in for a special appointment with a pediatric doctor of infectious disease. Jake's culture on his thumb disclosed an infection. So Jake is now back on what he calls his bubble. It is a bottle with a balloon in it that administers the anti-biotic over a 2 hour period. Though this is a tremendous blessing that they have discovered the infection, it feels like it is a step backward. Jake was feeling pretty positive about moving toward normal life - being with his friends, working at Freeline, etc. Most likely his head surgery will be pushed back while he is on this medicine.

Why is it that we try when someone is sad and crying to stop the tears and help them to see the positive? Tears can be exhausting and yet therapeutic - to release our emotions and let it all out is good for us. But when Jake is sad I find myself trying to convince him it will all be okay. A lot of it is genuine - helping him to see the positive. But it is also good for him express himself. Hope is not just that we are able to understand and see that things will work out. Hope is much deeper. It is a confident resolve that through the fire there will still be a blessing. There are seeds that actually must go through fire to germinate. New life does come. That is hope.

Faith is so fragile. I think that I see hope and I see how things make sense and so my faith is strengthened because I believe that God is working things out. But when things do not make sense and hope is fractured, faith falters and begins to crumble. Hope fans the flame of faith - it strengthens it and reminds us of the bigger picture. Faith then need be based on more than hope - there must be truth at the foundation. God does continue to show up and yet each day there are tests to faith - tests that attack my faith.

Though we step back a bit and I admit today my faith is questioned, God continues to provide, guide and simply show himself to us. My faith is questioned more when I see my son suffer and I wonder why. My faith is fragile more because I feel helpless and can't do anything to fix all of this. And if you are right there with me in this thought process, you realize that it is not faith if I am trying to do it. Faith is about releasing, trusting, letting go and letting God do it. Faith is about trusting in the truth that He is still alive and able to move and act in these moments regardless. That is faith, that is hope and really that is love. Standing firm in my faith is the most loving thing I can do for my son. When he cries - I pray that I will not try to fix it - I pray that I will cry with him and guide him right into the arms of Jesus - who loves him far more than I do - he is the one who died for Jacob - not me.

Slow steps forward...

Tom (JK Daddy)


Debbie said...

Tom--thank you again for sharing from your heart in such palpable depths. although from the side-lines, I can see your family's faith, i see you all trusting and waiting and it is a remarkable example to us all--one I hope to follow.

i'm reminded of the story of lazarus, martha and mary. lazarus had died, being dead...he could not have faith for himself. it was martha and mary's faith and calling out to jesus on his behalf that lead jesus to raise him from the dead. my point is that sometimes in our lives WE are lazarus. we do not have the ability to have faith for ourselves--for whatever reason, too worn down, too tired, too much hope deferred, too much pain. we want to believe, we do believe, but as you said, our faith can become fragile.

however--God surrounded lazarus with people that carried that faith for him, that didn't give up! i believe i can speak for hundreds...we are here. we are crying out to jesus for jake, for your family. we will stand with you and have faith for you! and i know that your family has and will have faith for our family when we can't have it for ourselves either!

Anonymous said...

Tom...thru this blog I'm learning so much...I have been a Christian for a long time and I love what you are saying about faith in the suffering...that we tend to want to fix it rather than releasing it to the Lord to do His work and giving us the peace and comfort in knowing that He can do it best. Please know that I have been praying from the start and in the process really hearing God speak to my heart. My heart as a mom really identifies with Debbie in all the things she says...I will continue to pray for all you Kirkendall's and follow this blog in prayer for you all and for the joy of knowing that you will all finish well.

Janis said...

I am hoping and praying that you will pass this on to Jacob as appropriate. My name is Janis and I live in Capitola (recent transplant). I too am a burn survivor, I suffered (and yes, I use that word proudly as it has been a long, difficult journey) burns to 20% of my body in Jan09. NOTHING compared to your (Jacob's) injuries, but when it comes to "not going to make it through the night" and living as a burn survivor, it is similar. The fears are familiar. We are survivors!

I was at the Gala and was beyond thrilled to see you (Jacob) and your family there. I was seated at Nurse Andrea's table as we have become friends...I love and adore the ENTIRE staff at the unit!! I call them "my people". I wanted desperately to come and introduce myself and smile, cry, or just share with you that in some small way, I understand. That night I felt, at first, that I was one of the only people there with scars...far from the truth.

I did not want to interrupt dinner...then...I felt awkward and unsure. With awards and video, I missed the opportunity. I had to leave early...I broke my clavicle days before the event and was barely able to breathe much less dance and enjoy! However, I was so anxious to meet you and just let you know how very strong and brave you are. I understand what this journey takes and you are so awesome! And you look so great!

I know it is some time off for you...but I have developed some great contacts here in SC for help. I realize you have your faith and those within the community, but is there such thing as too much help? I have been working with Jonathan Holtz, PT for nearly a year. I chose him because the trip over the hill got to be too much for clinic, Hand therapy and PT. I still work with the SCVM clinic and hand therapy but do my PT and trauma therapy here. It helps. Jono is AWESOME. I could not have made the progress I have without him!

I hope there comes a day that we may meet in person and in the interim would love to be pen pals if you would like. I am the "Janis" in the Gala video...a water girl much as you are a water guy! Maybe down the road, you can teach me to surf and I can teach you to freedive...we can show them just what we survivors are made of! I may be old enough to be your mother, but ALWAYS ready to learn a new water sport...scarred or not!
If you care to, please email me directly @
You are awesome. Remember that. A girlfriend suggested I keep a journal for the days I get depressed with my progress or lack have this blog. It helps! I can still remember the day in PT when I first touched my nose again (must have been nearly 4 months post injury)! It was huge. It still brings a smile to my face. On days I get down, I recall that memory...
Wishing you a strong and continued recovery!

Anonymous said...

Two of my favorite survivors are in that pic! Bless you guys! It was so nice to see you at the Gala!