Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday Night - late

It was a long day for me without a computer. Spent most of my time reading to Jake or hanging in his room - then Debbie and I went to Twin Lakes Church. I will blog more about that tomorrow. Two more services at 9 and 10:45 if you are there say hi to me. Debbie will stay with Jacob in the morning.

Jake's day was seemed to be good in the morning and he seemed to be quite uncomfortable with being in bed - go figure. Pray for stamina - he is quite aware of what is going on and as they lower his meds which reduces the fog he will be even more aware. Jake has never been one to sit still well. It is so hard for me to watch the boy who we were moving toward independence now become so dependent. And yet it is where he needs to be right now - where we need to be and through it all pray that we continue to trust God to see us through - one day - one step at a time.

Short and sweet tonight - We are so thankful for this community and know that no matter what so many are sticking by us through this time of faith.

Peace and hope

Tom (Dad)
Each day a little bit better. I walked in to wide-eyed, big-smiled Jacob this morning. His color even looks better. We hung out watching a movie and started reading a book. The plastic surgeon came in and likes the looks of everything and took the staples out of the donor site. Tomorrow the vacuum therapy comes off his heal. Monday the trach comes out. Hmm. Each day a little bit better I keep reminded him and me. What a gift to be here with him - to whisper "I love you" to each other through hearts of trust and vulnerability allowing God's peace to meet us right here right now.

In His hope,

Tom (Dad)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Teen with Los Gatos ties recovering after being burned by downed power lines - San Jose Mercury News

Teen with Los Gatos ties recovering after being burned by downed power lines - San Jose Mercury News

Shared via AddThis

The Blessings of Apathy


Jacob is recovering so well. He is waking up enough every now and then to say "I want a blanket," or to my dad "I'll watch the 49ers game with you". There is talk of the trach tube and the feeding tube coming out soon. All huge blessings. He is so vulnerable and sweet right now... he truly is a blessing, to watch the faith that he is holding on to through this time... faith in the love that is being poured out on him, and in the love that he showers back in his smiles and interaction with us. But at the same time, it is incredibly important that he rests in this time. Not just sleeping... he will get tired, and often the only thing he can do is stare at the wall for hours (if we let him... we normally interrupt him with conversation or something medically related, which is good too.)

A good word that I use to describe this is apathy... which is probably not the best word, because it has a lot of negative connotations and is probably not totally true, because I'm sure his mind still races. But hopefully it will be useful for what I am about to say.
I was talking with a friend earlier this week. Me and him have both agreed that we both have very similar personalities - we tend to over-analyze, over think, constantly be checking ourselves, filling up with tasks for self-imporvement, etc, always wanting to go deeper and think more and do the best that we can. We both also agreed, that sometimes the best thing for us is to be apathetic. To just rest. Relax. Not think. Not try to improve. I think that it is a form of trusting, of having faith, of having hope... trusting that in this moment, God is sufficient to make up for my tiredeness, my doubt, my skepticism, my anger, my frustration, and just kick back and enjoy life, enjoy the moment. Maybe not even enjoy... but just stop. Just be.

We live in a context that is increasingly self-aware, putting labels on everything, increasingly seeking imporvement, seeking the bigger and the better, seeking the new understandings of things. At a certain point, we need to stop analyzing and just live. Just exist in our current context, and in that find hope and joy. In this moment. Find hope and joy in the fact that you are alive, that you exist, that you have another deep breath to take, that there is a a breeze blowing and a temperature to feel and a tree to look at against a deep blue sky. Sometimes I need to stop and be apathetic. Which is when I find it is not apathy at all... it is true joy.

I think that this is closely associated to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We distort it so often by saying that we need to believe things in a correct way, we need to do certain mental things, jump through certain intellectual hoops, ascend to certain philosophical heights before we can be "saved." This is simply not true. The Gospel of Jesus Christ says "I love you in your worst moments. I love you in the pit of your doubt and despair. I am right beside you when you feel alone. I am the comfort and hope for you when all else is gone. I know that you are weary... and so I offer you rest. You can just relax... I'm taking care of you. Granted, there will still be pain. Evil still exixts. But I am with you in that. In fact, I went into even deeper evil than you can ever imagine. I descended to the lowest depths of human existence, and then walked out of it; out of the tomb, out of death, out of despair."

This heart of God for us is made clear to me in the Gospel according to Matthew, when Christ says, among other things, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will finds rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." He offers rest.

Earlier, when talking about John the Baptist, Christ says this: "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisone no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." Maybe Christ is the one who is least yet greatest. Because he is the one who descended into greater depths than anyone of us will ever have to.

I'm hoping that you begin to see the sheer depths of how much we are loved in this... I am still just beginning on this discovery myself... how great is the Great Love, who would sacrifice his own will and way for us.

And so I rest, knowing that I am loved. I have hope. Contentment. Peace. Well, I try. Hoping that Jacob can rest, in knowing that he is loved. His hope is strong, because, I firmly beleive, of the love that all of you are pouring out. Whether you believe in a God or not, the love that you are showing to my family and to Jacob is very God-ly love. It is the epitome of the message of Christ.

-Robbie (Jacob's brother)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Joy in this journey

Thursday September 3rd - it is a recovery day - a day of continued small steps forward - awesome, incredible increments of growth. Jake had a good night - not great - in that there was pain - but it was great in view of what he had just gone through - the fact that there is a part of his muscle now being grafted over his brain - skin on top of that muscle - incredible what can be done to protect and heal and create a place where skin can grow back and prepare for the plate. He is off of the ventilator - I wondered as I came in this morning if he needed it last night - nope he is breathing on his own. Honestly I keep telling myself that over and over again - he is breathing on his own. Now the next step is plugging the trach to help to retrain him to breath through his mouth - he is breathing on his own. The trach should be plugged next week which is the first step in getting the trach out. Even to hear the doctors talking about that is music to my ears.

They just removed one of the IV lines from his wrist from the surgery - not necessary anymore - one less tube - moving forward these small steps are steps of joy and incredible celebration. He is doing well - awake more - able to make a few sounds - able to talk to us even though slight. He is breathing; he is talking; he is healing. He asked me to tuck him in - straighten his sheet and put a blanket over his feet - in the midst of it I inadvertently touched his thigh - right now this is his greatest pain - the donor sight for the graft.

Read these verses this morning - some of my favorite:
That which was from the beginning,
which we have heard,
which we have seen with our eyes,
which we have looked at and our hands have touched -
this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life.
The life appeared
we have seen it and testify to it,
and we proclaim to you the eternal life,
which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
And our fellowship is with the Father
and with his son, Jesus Christ.
We write this to make our joy complete.
1 John 1:1-4

There is joy in the midst of this journey as we have seen God work in the midst of our worst nightmare. Though we do not always understand nor do I hope to fully understand, God is good - we share this journey with whoever wants to join in that it makes our joy complete.

Hope in this journey,

Tom (Dad)

By the way this weekend my friend, Charlie Broxton, is preaching at Twin Lakes Church (www.tlc.org) in Aptos and asked me to do a little Q and A with him - feel like it is another step in sharing this journey - pray for this time that hope would be evident.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

King of Wonders

In the midst of pain, Jacob said, "I can't breath." His breathing is strong - lungs show no infecting - he was actually breathing too well for this size of trach that he has - and was working against the respirator -or. So through much deliberation they decided to let him try breathing on his own and so far (45 minutes) he is doing great. Of course doing great means he is getting better - vitals are good although right now his blood pressure is a little high - but all in all for what he has been through he is doing well. He is able to mouth to us his level of pain - which right now is a 4 out of 10. We are keeping him comfortable and allowing his body to heal and settle

So let me say again - He is breathing on his own - remember when not too long ago we were praying for his lungs and wanting him off the respirator? Now in the midst of this his lungs are so strong and he is off the respirator just the day after the surgery. So the more we go in this direction the more we move toward getting the trach out which will lead to getting the feeding tube out which gets him closer to Betty's Burgers and Naka Sushi!

King of Wonders
byMatt Redman & a whole bunch of people on CompassionArt
We could try to count the stars,
You already know them each by name.
Every single galaxy was your design,
Your majesty displayed.

Your glory shines before our eyes,
The more we see, the more we love You

King of wonders, we stand amazed,
There’s no other, other than you.
King of wonders, you know the way to our hearts and
The more we see the more we love you.

You reveal and we respond,
You have shown there’s no one like you God
Your love and mercy welcomes us
Into the beauty of this Holiness.

The more we see the more we love You, God.
------------------------------------------
As I close this out Jacob just said, "Mom, tuck me in?"

Our boy is coming back.

Tom (Dad)

Post-surgery from D-mom (last night)

After midnight - so it's Wed Sept 2nd? or is it 3rd?

I was asleep on my chair-bed in Jake's hospital room here in the Pediatric ICU @ Kaiser, Santa Clara - The respiratory guy is coming in every hour or two to suction any mucous out of Jacob's lungs that may be there after his 10 hour surgery - the suctioning makes him cough and his body wakes up and he's nodded his head "yes" to being in pain - gave more pain meds. He whispered that he wanted to talk but he's still hooked up to the oxygen ventilator (again) - hoping to have him unhooked tomorrow.

I would easily say he's a mess, a wreck, looks like he's been in a battle - even if others say "he looks so good" it is so hard to look at your son and not see him so hurt. 3 surgeons spent 10 hours doing surgery to:
- remove his lat muscle from his left back area to attach to lie over his skull and very carefully/microscopically attach blood vessels from scalp to this muscle.
- remove skin graft from his leg to lie over the lat muscle as a skin graft.
- remove skin graft from his leg to graft to his right heel where dead bone was removed weeks ago in burn unit. A "vac therapy" is attached to his heel to heal the heel well and quicker than normal - an amazing invention for burn wounds.

Very hard time right now for Tom and I to feel like this is a step forward for Jake. Yet I know that's the truth - I wish with all my heart, mind and soul he didn't ever have had to go through over the past 60 days give or take (I stopped counting when we left the Burn Unit). The night before surgery Jake would tear up and say, "I'm scared." So I read Psalms 19 and 18 to him (he picked the number). This morning when surgeons popped into our room, Jake asked if they were gonna shave his head - they didn't - cool deal, 'cuz his hair has grown thick on the top and right side - matted and a bit bloody but it is there... I know he will look better over the next few days and once again he'll look better over the next few days and once again he'll be unplugged from the hospital things like ventilator etc. but even in looking better, my concern is his mind, emotions, spirit, relationship with Jesus. Will he be totally discouraged? or will he allow healing to take place - brokenness that allows God to heal him from the inside out - heal more than just his body?

I am so tired....

D-mom
Good morning. Jake is pretty drugged up and foggy. He is swollen and looks so beat up. Even in this short time he is improving in small increments. They are already talking about getting him off the ventilator soon - as his lungs are strong. When that happens we can talk about removing the trach and then the feeding tube. As that happens and the swelling on his head goes down, we can look at taking him home in the weeks to come. Yes he is tattered but it is in a way that needed to happen to start to get his life back. Through tears of anguish and joy we praise God for his presence and faithful provision through this community journey.

Looking forward,

Tom (Dad)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thankfulness

As I sat tonight for a while alone in the room with Jacob after the surgery I was, as one dear friend describe it for me, numb. So thankful that Jake was back and that the surgery was successful and yet seeing him lying there on the bed as though he had gone through World War III was sobering. His head is not wrapped in gauze as it was before - it has yellow Xerofoam which is a wet gauze. They were able to do skin grafting on his heel during the surgery as well. So they did take some skin from his left thigh and they were able to hook up the vacuum therapy that they had on his hind side at the burn unit - very excited about that because of how well we saw it work. They also removed a muscle from his left back. A big part of rehab will be for Jake to start using other muscles to compensate for those now missing. He will also still need to have his thumb addressed in surgery.

All in all amazingly successful day. My heart breaks for him and longs to have seen another step forward as we have seen each day being here. But we knew this was coming and know it is what needed to happen. Even though he may look tattered it is a major step forward. There is more to come - pain, frustration, baby steps, huge leaps, but Jake will move forward - stronger and more purposeful than ever.

I think part of the lesson I am gaining in watching Jacob is the need to move through our pain to healing - no guarantees that there is not more pain to come but there is no going back once the pain begins only forward. In forward motion there comes healing at some point.

While I was staring numbly at Jacob i was getting Facebook and text messages from so many simply praising God for today's successful surgery. That actually was such a tremendous encouragement not to stay stuck in the numb and dread of seeing Jake thrashed from the surgery. It was like a continual slap in the face to remind me that this is a moment of praise. It can be so hard to rejoice and praise - purposefully stop and remind ourselves the miracles and answers to prayer.

Thanks for the reminders. Thanks for praying. Thanks for hanging with us. There is strength in community.

Praying and sleeping, resting in thankfulness.

Tom (Dad)

Surgery Successful

Jacob is back in his room surgery went well. Pray for the healing and that the blood vessels connect with the muscle flap. Recovery, recovery, recovery.

Blessed by all of you. More later.

Tom (Dad)

While in surgery...thoughts on born again

It is 10:30 am as I start this...not sure what time it will be when I actually post it. A lot of breathing deep today. A lot more waiting. So thankful for this technology that provides information to so many as we surrender choruses of prayer to God. I guess we could have gathered around the hospital - surely all holding hands - we would easily surround it. But there also seems right now to be something very right about us being where God has each of us - at school, at work, at home, running, walking, in the bathroom - wherever God has you - he is right there with you - right here with me - right in the operating room with JK.

Jake won't be out for quite a while. Debbie is making Sue take her to get a pedicure - that is a treat for her - not me. Honestly last year she made Jensen and I get one with her for my birthday. Easily top 10 worst experiences of my life - Jensen too. I like having my feet rubbed (like Jake - family thing) so that was the hook. This lady had dead fish for hands. Plus I have the ugliest toenails ever - I felt bad for her. Probably the fish hands were because she did not want to touch me. She is probably still in counseling - Jensen and I have recovered, barely. What was I thinking - I felt the need to go hunting afterward. For me today I will go wander around Best Buy for a while - that is as good as walking at the beach...maybe better. I often wander around with something in my hand that I think I should buy and then put it back before I leave - the guy in the yellow shirt says, "good-bye you cheapskate."

So it is a long day of waiting and reading, contemplating and praying - eager for this mountain of a day to peak and that we might descend to the valley. Hoping that what seems to be the top is not just a plateau with another upward climb behind it.

This morning at 4 am Jacob had another seizure.

Debbie was with him and alerted the nurses. Wondered for a little while if the surgery would still be on. Though we are not sure the why behind it, most likely it is caused by the dead portion of his skull and the infection around that area. If nothing else, it says to me we are moving in the right direction - yes the surgery is necessary - though it is so scary - it is the necessary pain we must walk through to get to that valley.

My worst fear returned to me last night - loosing one of my sons. Like a familiar evil discomfort - grabbed me and pulled my heart down to my feet - not the fear of my own death - fear of Jacob's. There was no reason for it - okay there is - anything can happened in a moment - I know that too well. But there was nothing new - okay there was - this is a major surgery - messing with a major area of his body. I am trusting in doctors that I do not know well - I have not seen what they do - have not experienced how they do things. There is so much unknown to trust.

I was listening to a song this morning by Third Day called Born Again. Whenever I hear those words I am thrust back high school. I can still picture the yellow and black paperback book that my parents had by Chuck Colson. I picture the alter call at Los Gatos Christian Church and every Sunday resisting to go forward and become one of the Born Again freaks who had no fun. I knew that I needed to get right with God - but it could wait - I needed to have "fun" in high school and it was obvious that these Christians did not have fun - just look at the choir robes they had to wear. So my freshman year I was at Hume Lake for a winter camp with the youth ministry. I think I went because of course there were very cute girls going - and well, it sounded like fun. I was so insecure though that I would not talk to any of the girls hardly even wanted to talk to guys.

I was late one evening for the chapel - they made us go - the only seat was up front. Insecure, afraid, awkward, pretending I was cool - the guy preached about death, hell, eternal darkness, etc, etc, etc. He invited people to go forward - the door opened right next to me and I ducked in. I do not want to go to hell - that does not sound fun. So I prayed the prayer - said the steps - followed the words that would make me acceptable to God. I felt relieved. When I go home, with my "get-out-of-hell" free card I went back to school and proceeded to have fun. Nothing really changed in my life. For me now the words "born again" are negative. Because of my experience and my choices - the way I framed things, "born again" is a guy who stands up and points his fingers at people in condemnation and hatred rather than grace and love. Far too often we make spiritual matters about conforming to fundamentals that we deem to be most valuable: do's and dont's, behaviors, external conformity. It is actually the very thing that Jesus sought to correct and that he was confronted on. The Sabbath was about stopping all the busyness and worship God not the rules that were added. The Temple was about worship, holiness, repentance and not about making money. It is not about grandeur and position or thinking we are better than anyone else.

The real picture of "born again" is a conversation that we have been able to eavesdrop on between Jesus and a religious expert-teacher of the day, Nicodemus in John 3 - right before the infamous John 3:16. It is a spiritual matter and it involves death. I really feel like I missed that part when I was in high school. It is impossible to experience "eternal life", "the kingdom of god", "born again", without death. Nicodemus struggled with this, "how can someone be born twice?" Jesus basically told him that like me I was trying to add God into my box - my framework. The reality is that spiritual matters by their very definition and miraculous and outside of our box. So to get to the life with God - the spiritual part - there must be death. The blessing is that Jesus took on that part for us. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son."

Just like Nicodemus this is really weird and hard to understand. But through the death of Christ we have access to an eternal relationship with God and through Jesus resurrection we have his presence now. It is not just about staying out of hell so that we can have fun - it is about experience the presence of God now on this earth and throughout eternity and have the freedom that comes from being in relationship with God.

Perfect love casts out all fear. I write all this because one - my greatest fear is losing my son to death. Not for him because I know he will be with God - I fear it for myself. But perfect love casts out all fear. So even in the midst of my greatest fear I know that the presence of God is far greater than anything else I may know. That sustains me and strengthens me and gives me hope.

God meets us right where we are, calling us to be his child, to be born again it is up to us to accept this and start to seek God through each moment. We simply confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead and we are saved - we are born again. God is in the midst of our everyday life, waiting to get our attention, we simply need to respond. (see Romans 10)

It is now noon - time to go to Best Buy... still waiting. Thanks for listening as I wait.

Peace and Hope,

Tom (Dad)

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.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Once again Pray

Women's Wrestling made him smile big.

The smile so many are praying for.

Pray for surgery tomorrow 8:30 (6-8 hours in length).

Hope, peace, faith in tomorrow.

Surgery Tomorrow

Robbie left for school a couple of hours ago. I am sitting in Jacob's room with my dad, "Papa". It has been quite a day. I met a friend that I deeply care about about and after our time together he helped me to get some carpet from Warehouse Direct - and they totally blessed us. I then drove over the hill and was told in route that Jacob was sitting outside - everyone around him was totally excited and Jacob was just pretty chill about the whole thing.

When I finally came into his room he was back in bed - pretty exhausted but he spoke my name louder - enough for me to even hear. (I am hard of hearing.) Last night he ate pudding - one spoonful - today he had applesauce and can have sips of water and apple juice. Each day is one of seeing him a little bit better - He walked a few steps on his own!

He is pretty exhausted right now - they have been trying to get an I.V. in him - difficult to get his veins to cooperate. We were told that surgery will be tomorrow - not sure yet if it starts at 6 am or 9 am. They are planning to do just his head. It got really hard and teary for a while as we explained again what was happening and the whole need-to-wear-a-helmet thing. We just lean in and assure him that we are with him and that this is part of the process and that each day he is getting better and better.



How I long to turn back time - make this all disappear.
I long to trade places with my son and take on the pain, the fear.

Through this time of trial - heartache - such great suffering
There is more to know, more to grow, more faith in which to cling

Meet us here Lord, greet us, grace us in this very moment
Let majestic comfort, sovereign joy, holy presence be all sufficient

We've known you're faithful, future-hope is secure
Daily moments - trial or blessing - your presence is sure

Peace and Hope today

Tom (Dad)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

End of Week 9

It has been 9 weeks of this journey.

Often as I reflect I still am amazed in how in a moment of time - your world changes. On the one hand we have come so far, seen so much, yet there is so much more to come. I guess it is a different anxiety, a different stress - there is no way to avoid anxiety and stress and yet we can control our response to it - although at the time - in the instant of being slapped in the face with something - it feels like we are simply in the midst of white water being plummeted downstream - no paddles - no life jackets - hardly even a boat at times. And then someone on shore trying to tell you to not panic - don't stress - don't worry - as you try to keep your head in a place to gulp for air.

As we sit here in Jacob's room on a Sunday afternoon, in the midst of the stress, anxiety of what is to come (scared beyond words) there is peace. Jacob is asleep right now - he has been increasing how much he is sleeping at night although he wakes up in the morning to a sense of "reality" to his situation - a growing awareness. He should be in his senior year right now. He can't walk yet. His right arm is weak. His head so badly wounded. Last night I watched as his 6 pm bandage change went on - still hard for me to take in the wounds - yet he fell asleep during it. Incredible. Debbie actually got to sleep through the 12pm change - they did not wake her to ask how to do some of the changes (they are learning) - Jake slept through it too. Peace in the midst of storm.

Jake told me yesterday morning that he has hair like mine. He lights up when we walk in the room and for a time we may have a laugh or a cry. Then he gets drowsy. He told me that he wakes up and then they give him medicine that makes him drowsy. I told him each time they are giving you less - weaning you off the medications. My sister helped him a little while ago with his exercises for his right arm and hand. The more rehab we can do now before the surgery to come, the better.

The last two mornings have been opportunities for me to sit at home amidst the redwoods in the coolness of the mountain air and breath a little with God. I read 1 Peter. In thinking about Peter and what he witnessed with Christ - the miracles, walking on water, teachings, suffering, death, resurrection... - I think of Jacob. Not so much looking for answers right now to the question "why" this all happened, but just wondering what God will do as we move forward. Peter wrote this: "Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires but rather for the will of God." (4:1-2)

I hope that continues - it is so easy to forget once suffering is behind you, that God has done the miraculous, that his hand has been so real and apparent, that in the midst of the swirling white water, though not lifted out, he has come alongside and swam with us and sometimes for us as we avoid rocks and waterfalls. In the midst of the stress and turmoil there is peace beyond our understanding through the cross of the resurrected Christ. Hope is not hope unless it is found in suffering - or at least it is hope untested.

Week 10 may be a big week - it may include surgery - we will let you know as we know. Or it may be a week of gradual steps for Jacob to sit up, to walk, to talk, to be our Jacob. By the way let's not forget this praise - Jacob's mind is in great shape - remembering what Jacob likes: Good Earth Tea, Betty's Burgers, pudding, Three Amigo's, his feet being rubbed...to survive this kind of injury is amazing - to have as much ability as he has is astounding. Lord we stop and praise you for all you have done. (Read Psalm 77 - it is worth it!)

In the Hope of this moment,

Tom (Dad)