My dad recently had knee replacement surgery on his right leg, and I have been able to help him with parts of his recovery. I've seen him push through excruciating pain as he does exercises to strengthen his muscles and increase flexibility. He is working hard, and it's a painful process.
I have been delighted with each baby step of progress he makes. I'm thrilled to see him walking with a cane instead of a walker. I keep track of how many degrees he can bend his new knee. I see that working through his pain is accomplishing something. His pain will be worth it in a few weeks when he is fully healed and can do all the things he couldn't do before. (The bigger reward will come when he is healed from the second knee replacement, but I'm still so excited about his progress here and now.)
I shared with my dad that I'm inspired by him because in my own household, pain does not serve the same purpose. In my home, pushing through pain does not bring progress. There is no end in sight for Nolan's constant pain. There is no discernible reward.
I do not yet see what Nolan's physical pain--or my family's emotional pain--is accomplishing.
I've obviously battled with this for over a year now. Sometimes I've done a better job than others at letting go of grasping at the bigger picture.
When we were staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland, I had a deep conversation with another mother while we were doing laundry. She said she struggled a lot with why her daughter had to go down the difficult road they are on.
I told her, "I had to break up with Why. We were in a toxic relationship."
I really meant it. I had broken up with Why and was putting my energy into moving forward.
But Why is a stalker. Why is a creep. Why sends me texts when I'm trying to fall asleep and peers in my window when I'm stunned at how difficult parenting really is.
I'm certain that I've had bouts of surrendering the search for what God is accomplishing, and I've chosen to simply trust that He knows what He is doing. I've held hands with Trust. We have embraced when I couldn't hold myself up any longer. Which has been a lot this last year.
But then more stuff just keeps coming. Someone hacked my store credit card and made a purchase. Our cat is now diabetic and requires insulin shots twice per day and repeated vet visits. A violent stomach bug hit two of my kids and I have an actual phobia of puking. A long-fought parenting battle with our middle child has reared it's ugly head with fresh vengeance lately. I have to make repeated phone calls to get other people (insurance, medical personnel, etc.) to do their jobs.
And I find myself exhausted and wondering, yet again, what all of this hard stuff is accomplishing.
I was thinking this morning that this is the longest I've waited for God to start revealing His purpose in something. But then I remembered that's not true. After my friend Megan was murdered, God and I wrestled for two years before He brought me to a place of accepting that He does things differently than I think. That He never forsakes us. That He is far more protective than my eyes perceive. That He can heal any wound.
I'm still trusting that He will bring me to a similar place regarding my current battle. I never thought it would take this long, and there truly is no end in sight. So I'm trusting that there's an end I just can't see. I'm trusting there's a purpose I don't know. Because I choose to believe that God is good and works all things for His glory and the good of His children. I often have to make that choice (to believe) multiple times per day.
I really was doing well. I even started a couple blog posts that were much more upbeat than this one. But it was too awkward to jump back into actually posting my writing because too much time has passed and too much has happened. I'm still processing everything. I'm still not ready to talk about our time in Cleveland. I think there are parts of that month that will never leave my mouth or my fingers on a keyboard.
I have napped almost every day this week. I just can't seem to get through a whole day on one night's sleep. I think my body is trying to recover from over a year of not sleeping well. I like the idea that my body is trying to recover. Maybe that's it. Maybe I'm moving into the recovery stage. My dad was in pain for a long time before his surgery was finally scheduled. The surgery was violent and traumatic. And now the recovery is painful.
I'd like to think I'm in recovery too. The physical wound--whatever caused Nolan's headache--has not made any progress, but that doesn't mean I can't start healing as we work post-wound. My dad's new knee will never be exactly like his old one, for good and for bad. When asked how we are doing, I have been telling people we are working on finding our new normal. It will never be the same as the old normal. For good. I'm trusting.