From Michelle. 4 October, 2010. 3 p.m.
Dear friends and family,
I confess that I have been stumped this last week about what to write. How does one follow up Steve’s first steps, the high of those miraculous stumbles that since have become slightly more controlled but still fragile and performed with the greatest effort? Now to the work of it. I have to pay attention to the details to see the miracle continuing. A foot slightly more elevated, an extra round in the living room. Really, it’s not hard to find. Every step remains a miracle. Otherwise life continues much the same, though on a slight downhill trend, flowing just a bit more each day. We are finding the beginnings of a rhythm. Some predictability is entering in, and the long-accustomed sense of immediate crisis is beginning to recede.
This weekend I watched all four of my “boys”. Our help for Saturday morning fell through and we had none scheduled for Sunday, but we all welcomed the unusual opportunity to function as a family unit. It was messy, and too much t.v. was watched by the children as I took care of Steve, but all in all, we managed. For the boys it was a treat, I think. As pastor’s kids, their ongoing complaint is that we do not get enough family time, and this period, with its steady stream of caregivers and visitors, is just a different iteration of the same. Taking stock, it is amazing to see that we can manage on our own. When we stepped out of the hospital, blinking in the daylight, we felt fragile as newborn babes to this new life. But already in just a short month we have become accustomed, even proficient. The house was clean. The kids fed. Steve cared for. An almost normal family weekend.
Blessings continue to come in daily portions, reminding us of goodness all around. We are beginning to sleep. After some disastrous experiments with medications, and a regular waking every hour and a half for the first month home, we have had several good nights, with only one or two turns, and deep sleep between. I can feel my energy returning. Steve has more to catch up on than I, but even he appears more lively.
On Saturday we took a walk, the first truly brisk bit of exercise since June. Of course, it is not exercise for Steve! He wheels along effortlessly and I try to keep up! But with every step, as I follow that wheelchair, I am giving thanks for my legs. The day was glorious, and our house is not far from the ocean. We paused to talk and pray in the sunlight, and I managed to sit on his lap, our instant portable bench! All of that glory. Even though Steve could not take strides into that gorgeous scene, he was blessed by it. The glory of God sang and ministered to us in each glinting bit of sumptuous green against that gorgeous backdrop of ocean and sky. We walked home refreshed and a little bit more healed, a little bit more alive.
We continue to thrive on your wonderful notes and emails and cards, the amazing meals that so often grace our doorstep, and the ongoing prayers. As the marathon drags on into its fourth month, the faithfulness of family and friends, and even strangers united either by circumstance or prayer, is amazing to me. Ecclesiastes praises the beauty of more than one, saying among other things that a cord of three strands is not easily broken. We have tested that wisdom to its limit, and found it to be true. I have mentioned before that one of our greatest lessons in this time has been the value of community, but as the race continues, the lesson sinks deeper and we are all the more astounded by the depth of your commitment, both near and from afar. Two concerts will be happening this month, one in Seattle and one in Manila, and I am not sure how to even take in the generosity of all of those hours of preparation by their participants. It is humbling and awesome beyond measure.
Challenges remain also. Steve’s Medicaid application still has not been approved. Though we have no reason to believe he will be denied, the uncertainty and the ongoing details and paperwork remain a mountain to climb. Patience, patience. Our home is on the cusp of sale, we hope, but not yet finalized. Steve still wrestles with the physical challenges, the strange sensations, the lack of sensation, the stiffness of fingers long unaccustomed to moving, the pain of his injured right shoulder, the work of moving a foot. Every day we stretch and work muscles in the hope that they will return.
Psalm 30 spoke to me once again this morning: “I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry with the night, but joy comes with the morning. You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” v. 1-5, 11-12.
Indeed from the very earliest stages I have felt God’s sweet whisper that joy will come with the morning. We see glimpses of it now, and believe that more is to come. In the meantime, we covet your prayers, which not only carry us but bring us joy. While the pace of care and therapies is intense, with few breaks, it is also taking on a distinct monotony. Patience is a treasure to be found, buried somewhere in this new life. Steve and I loved our adventures, and in another time we would have been out and about, exploring, meeting new people, engaging in groups, learning and growing. Now we are consumed by much simpler tasks and the energy this takes leaves us with little left at the end of the day for more exciting endeavors. Please pray with us for patience and endurance as we (especially Steve!) do the work, for presence of mind to see the glory which abounds, and for faith to anticipate the joy.
With deepest gratitude,
Many of you have requested our address. It is:
7700 175th St. SW
Edmonds, WA 98026