I’m sitting in the hospital watching my son sleep, and my heart breaks for him. His appendix ruptured and he needed to have surgery to remove it yesterday at 6am. Yesterday was a pretty good day despite being cut open and having your insides flushed out. He was up and walking, had really good spirits, and felt pretty good. He had hope and he had strength.
Today, there doesn’t seem to be hope. He is in so much pain. The meds just don’t seem to be cutting it now. He hasn’t eaten since yesterday, so there is no strength. He is weak, and bored, and sad. There’s no hope, only pain and fear.
I ran home while he took a nap to take my dog on a quick jog. While I was in my kitchen, I broke down crying because some things are just out of our control. And I’m a control freak. We have structure, and routine, and I work hard…daily. I can’t control that this happened to him. I can’t control his pain. I can’t control the fact that I have to choose to either take care of him, or take care of my little ones. I can’t control the world continuing to go on around me while we wait. And I can’t control the fact that I can’t do it all right now.
I look up……and on my fridge I see a picture of a friend of DJ’s. He has cancer and his life has flipped upside down. His mom has been on my heart constantly since DJ was admitted to the hospital. I often think of her and what it must be like to do this for a week at a time. I think about how hard it must be to look into your child’s eyes and know that there is nothing you can do to help with the pain. I think about the fear of not knowing what the future holds.
I brought his picture to the hospital to show Dj. When I showed him the picture, he began to cry. For the first time in 3 days, I think he began to think of someone other than himself. For the first time, he looked at Mason and felt some sort of empathy. Up until now, Dj couldn’t even fathom what Mason would go through on a daily basis. I couldn’t relate to what his mom must go through trying to not only take care of her son but the rest of her family and home. I can always have sympathy and compassion. But now, I have empathy.
Our story of recovery will hopefully be a short one. A few days, Dj will be home. He’s healthy, so I know he will bounce back quick. Life will resume as normal. Dj will heal. But this experience will always be with him. This trial in life gives us the ability to understand and know what others go through and the trials and pain they experience. Mason and his family’s story is a much longer one. Filled with many more obstacles that I will probably EVER know or experience. But if the circle of friends and family around them is filled with compassion and empathy, hopefully their story is one of HOPE and LOVE that renews their faith daily.
I see how living through trials can be a HUGE asset to the body of Christ. And I think that it is becoming increasingly important for us to be very transparent and vulnerable. The world is broken. And sometimes when you are broken, it’s hard to feel comfortable in a place that seems to have it all together. If you are vocal about where you’ve been and what you’ve gone through, it may make it easier for someone currently going through that valley to reach out.
Everyone in the body of Christ has a purpose. Some of our purpose may be offering hope to someone else. When they can see a person who has gone through the valley and made it through, that could be exactly what they need to keep going. And us having gone through it is enough for us to have the compassion and empathy to offer judgement free LOVE. People need hope. Hope that there is life after the valley. Hope that God heals and restores. Hope that they CAN and WILL make it through.
So today I am going to choose to be thankful once again for this challenge in life. If the only thing is does is open my eyes to have empathy for the next person, I’ll accept the challenge. What we DO with the empathy is up to us!!!!!