I was just flipping through some old pictures, when one made me catch my breath.
(Well really, I was merely scrolling on my computer. Yes, I still have hundreds of unprinted pictures just waiting for a hard drive crash. But I digress.)
The picture that gave me pause was my son, as a baby, in a hospital bed. In a flash, I relived that morning in vivid detail. My husband was driving with a group to go camping in an area with no cell service. My 3-week-old little guy had been very fussy all night, and in the morning I was very disturbed to see he had a fever. Newborns are never supposed to have a fever. I called my husband, relieved to hear they hadn’t quite reached their destination yet and he still had service. But he was 4 hours away. I called the doctor and they said to bring the baby in right away. I prayed as I frantically called neighbors to watch my older children. My heart hurt as my thoughts swirled with worry.
At the doctor’s office, they took one look at my boy and said to head straight to the hospital. Don’t even take time to dress him, they said. Just go. I fumbled with his carseat buckle as tears slid down my cheek. I trembled as I tucked a blanket around his tired body. What was wrong with him? My heart ached for answers.
I remember the long white hospital hallway, stark and empty. At least it felt empty to me. I felt so alone and unprepared to be in this place. I got turned around and didn’t even know which direction I should be headed. I stopped for a moment and took a deep breath. I was starting to lose it but I realized that if I couldn’t speak for this child, who would? If I couldn’t be his advocate, who else was there? Help me help him. This was a constant prayer on my mind and in my heart.
I took another deep breath and centered myself a bit. I figured out which way to go, found the doctors and was able to answer all their questions with a clear mind. My precious boy ended up staying in the hospital for five days, including a transfer to a larger hospital when his kidneys began to misbehave. He didn’t eat very well during that time, but became best friends with his binky. Test after test came back negative. The doctors never did figure out what virus affected him so severely. They supported him as his body fought the virus and then he was miraculously back to normal. My heart was tired but happy.
This story has a happy ending, and we are incredibly grateful. But I realize it was a very real but relatively small trial. During this time, I prayed and meditated with increased intensity. We will all have times that stretch us, and have some times where the story does not have such a happy ending. Nevertheless, these stretching times can all teach us if we are willing to learn. Perhaps the little stretches are here to help us learn to connect to God. To give us times to practice and make it a habit to turn to Him. Do you have a time where you felt worn out and stretched, but closer to God?