The trouble with trouble is that it is so very.........well, troubling!
I apologize to anyone interested in an apology for not writing before now. There was good reason, promise.
Last Monday morning we all rose earlier than even the earliest of sunrise service attenders; 3:30 AM! (That's when the alarm went off. But you know how it is when you must wake up extra early and you're so afraid you'll miss it that you keep checking the clock every hour on the hour after you've gone to sleep?! Yep, that's how it was around here.)
We left the house at 4:15 am in order to be valet-parked by the young valets of Florida Hospital Orlando and wandered the cold, lonely hallway maze until we were finally standing in front of the outpatient check-in window prior to 5:30 am. Just as we had been instructed.
It seems that at some point in their early development, both Kristin and Meagan fell or experienced a bump of some sort that caused their jaws to grow with a malformation. Said malformation had begun to cause headaches, popping jaws and several other problems that were diagnosed to only grow worse through coming years.
So it was that Monday morning, we found ourselves in a pre-op bay nervously waiting for the "remedial" surgery to begin. (Kristin had been through the same procedure in December. Sometimes it's good to know what's coming and sometimes it just makes things more nerve-wracking!)
Although we started this journey in the area called "outpatient", there is nothing minor about this procedure. The surgery itself lasts for five or six HOURS. I'll spare you the details of all that takes place during that length of time; just know that we were extremely relieved when the call came from the operating room, "She did just fine. They are closing now; you can see her in recovery in about an hour." Resplendent words, indeed!
As a result of this surgery, the patient is on a total liquid diet for about three weeks. Soft foods like apple sauce, yogurt, scrambled eggs and such can be added around that time. Kristin's surgery was the last Monday of December and she still can't chew anything like steak or nuts. So, menu selections are odd around our house these days. Dad doesn't seem to mind because it's for his girls. (Collective AWWWW!)
Thanks to many prayers and much TLC, Meagan is now home and on the bumpy road to recovery. She is a trooper!
But I started the post with a "deep" philosophical observance about trouble in our lives.
In the past seven days, I've looked into the hearts of four women I love very dearly and I've watched as life-altering waves have come their way. These women range in age from 22 to 80; the scenarios vary greatly but one thing has been the same - each could easily drown in her trouble.
There is no way for me to help them, really. I can stand alongside and offer prayers, gently pat their back, hold a hand, listen intently. But I can not spare them the sorrow, fear, disappointment, agony of impossible choices - and I wish I could. I really wish I could!
Bottom line is this, trouble comes to every life - it is the great common denominator for us all. The most important choice is how we will choose to respond to our troubles; that's what ultimately matters.
I've watched each of these women collect themselves, take a deep breath, ponder the impact of their choices on family and bravely search for "What's next!" I am in awe of them and their tenacity. God grant that strength to each of us when it is most needed.
Trouble is "troubling" indeed. But it does not need to define who we are nor does it need to determine our capacity to live.
I would never marginalize the troubles my friends are facing by throwing out some trite phrase:
"It'll be okay." We don't know that for sure.
"At least you can be thankful for......." That shows I have no understanding of how grave the situation is.
"Well if it were me, I would......." It's NOT me and I have NO idea how I would respond if it were.
"When life hands you lemons, make lemonade." Okay, that's just grounds for getting slapped!
What I can offer is two of the phrases that have kept me sane in times of trouble:
"I know whom I have believed and He is able to keep me."
"You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You."