Monday, December 14, 2009

Reminder of what is missing

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only so, we also rejoice in our sufferings. Because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character and character, hope and hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." - - Paul in Romans 5

We have so much for which to be thankful. Each day I hear another story of a tragedy. As we interact with people, we discover another heartache. Tonight I checked up on Jessica and Andrew to find out how they are doing. Each are making baby steps. I checked up on Sarah's family and community. A few people in the community with tragedies have come to my attention as well. Suffering does not seem to take a break. In fact it is no secret that the holidays are one of the most difficult times for those with loss as it serves as a reminder of what is missing.

This of course continues for Jacob - reminders of what is missing. Where he "should" be and what he "should" be doing. Really where he longs to be and longs to be doing. He was going to take woodshop again this year and make mom a jewelry box with hidden doors. His first year he made a box for his grandparents - the size of a hope chest. Last year he made us a table for our breakfast room. This year is a year of healing - no wood.

Jake is trying to use his right hand more. It is hard. The thumb is still in a brace and his fingers are sensitive and weak. Tomorrow the doctor will check the thumb again to see if the graft sight is taking. Last week it was still 50/50. Jake is actually getting pretty good at using his left hand. He is even doing a crossword puzzle.

It is easy to just say "look on the bright side" or "count your blessings." Recovery is not just about convincing yourself that things could be worse or that we should have a positive attitude. So often that just stuffs down the grief. Grief comes and goes and I really think it is healthier to explore what is missing rather than stuff it aside. As Jacob said after someone told him that it could be worse, "yeah, but it could be better too." Forcing a positive attitude is not persevering; at lest in my opinion, it is avoiding. Persevering is experiencing the suffering and allowing it to shape and build your character and move you to a place of seeing hope. Hope gets stronger as it grows not as it is neglected and hidden out of sight.

How then do I help my 17 year old son "persevere?" How do I look at him and help him to see that God is going to use all of this and in fact is using all of this? How do I convince him him that he is beautiful and amazing and still has so much to offer? 17 years old is still so fragile. Our teens try so hard to be so independent and strong and yet there is still so much to learn and grow and experience. Maturity is something that comes with making mistakes and experience suffering. Responsibility brings consequences as well independence.

I keep coming back to the verse about in Romans 5 because perseverance does not end. It is a daily struggle in the midst of suffering. It is a daily facing of the setbacks and the limitations that have come as a result of this injury. There is a constant reminder of what is missing and it causes great grieving. And yet as we move, tiptoe, step, hope and run through these daily trials the are glimmers of hope, moments of victory, and tremendous founts of joy. For we are not done yet. We have a day ahead of us that is another step forward and another taste of blessing as we have indeed been blessed with so much.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing
power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not
crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck
down, but not destroyed
."
2 Cor 4:7-9


We have been given a tremendous gift.

Tom (Daddy)

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