The Cost of Living

Growing up, I heard this phrase used on the nightly news and in adult conversations. I always imaged that each one of us had some sort of price tag attached to us that kept us alive; as long as someone paid the tab. My understanding of the phrase has obviously changed over time, but it is still just as distorted.

Having lived a good portion of the last three years in the hospital with Liz, I have had my perspective on life changed drastically. People talk about a “life or death” situation as if it is defined with some sort of parameters. Because we are unable to predict the future, isn’t every situation life or death? All vitals signs and lab numbers could fall within the ‘safe zone’ and yet, a person has congestive heart failure all of a sudden.

Liz is still in the hospital tonight. Again, for the sake of privacy and trying to better our efforts of not making our family’s life so public, I refuse to disclose specifics. But here’s what I will tell you. Liz is in a whole lot of pain. She continues to fight an infection. There has been a setback, but not one so drastic that we can’t recover from. Liz is tired, wore down, and just down right blah.

Earlier today, I did load up all of the kids and take them to see their mother. It was a fairly short visit as Liz just was unable to enjoy them being there. She did get to hug them and kiss them. They got to see that their mommy still cares for them and misses them greatly. Just imagine that you are away from your kids; not because you are on a business trip or away on vacation. But because you are sick and don’t have the strength to care for them. And then there are the times where I feel like I definitely need to be there instead because miscues are par for the course in the medical field.

Then I check out the other side of the coin and see my kids’ faces. So, I get this gut-wrenching feeling within of the tug-o-war between husband and father. Ah, leave it to God to use pop culture to talk to me. Last night, when I couldn’t sleep, I went into the living room and turned on the TV. Awesome, the movie ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ was on. (I have even blogged about this movie.) I laid down and just watched the father and son relate to one another. Then the part that really got me came on. Will Smith and his son are in the shelter. It’s late. The dad is struggling with all that is going on in their lives. But, as they say goodnight to one another, the boy reaches up and rubs his daddy’s cheek and says, “You’re a good papa.” Today, I have enjoyed being with my kiddos.

The cost of living continues to be large in this home. But well worth it. Will any of this ever end? I am not asking for a do-over or a timeout. No, I am asking God to be God and to bless my family with more than I even know how to ask for.  And no, we don’t deserve it. No one does. If God healed Liz miraculously and there was no explanation to why she/we have gone through ALL of this, I’m fine with that. I don’t need answers, just results. (I think I am trying to put some sort of sales pitch on God.)

You know what, I take that back. God is being God. Liz is still here. And so are my kids. We have friends and family surrounding us that I guarantee you, He put into our lives. Sacrifice comes to mind. So many people, especially family, have followed the example Christ set years ago. I want to serve others and be a blessing in the lives of others the way so many have been to us. People talk about the strength and perseverance that Liz has and that she portrays on a daily basis; I promise you that it is not something she found in a book or heard about at some seminar. It is something that was instilled in her years ago. You ought to hear about her conversation with God prior to her brain surgery.

Now, the girls are fast asleep in their room. Their hair is perfectly clean, combed, and brushed. The boys are passed out in their beds in their room full of 60 pennants. Liz is in her room at the hospital visiting with family and friends. She is getting her meds and trying to rest to let her body catch up. People continue to ask me how I am doing. I am not used to that question. 95% of the time it is just a simple question that is used as a bridge to ask about Liz and the kids. That’s fine. I know my role. But when people genuinely want to know…I have no idea how I am. It is a different kind of place when you have to let God. I seriously think God has an addiction. His vice is people. I mean come on, He created us for Himself. AND wants to help us. Yet, He leaves us alone if that is what we want. (I am about to go off on some tangent. I’ll stop now.)

If you have prayed for God’s immediate healing, I thank you. If you have prayed for God’s will be done in all of this, I thank you. If you are accepting the role of intercessor on behalf of my family, I thank you. May your cost of living never be this expensive…


5 Responses to “The Cost of Living”

  1. OK, Liz has been on my mind like crazy….and I am just now learning she is in the hospital. What can I do? I am praying! Please email me at cheers2Him {at} verizon {dot} net and let me know if I can do anything. What hospital is she at? Sending prayers your way!!

  2. Hey Donnie,

    I was thinking about your family and found your website through facebook. Thanks for the update. I hate to hear she’s not much better today. Keep us posted and know that we are praying.


  3. I’m sorry to hear Liz is not well, I had noticed the family blog had not been updated for a while and just thought you were busy with moving. Best wishes to you all.

  4. Yes, it is vital that Liz and you knew God personally, through your faith in his suffering Son, our Lord, Jesus, before all of this began. Those of other religions, or those who claim to have none at all, usually resulting in secular humanism and/or materialism, have a hard time understanding the suffering, death and resurrection of God who became flesh and dwelt among us. But that is the only way in this world that we’ve been given to see the “value of life” and the price our loving Father Creator was willing to pay himself to allow us to have this relationship restored and to have his promise to “always be with you..” and to “…never forake you”.

    We continue to follow his teaching as well to make our requests known to the Father, in Jesus’ name, by faith, for Liz’s healing and for strength for each of you through this, yet another, very difficult time.

    Love & prayers, NanaPops

  5. Donny, thanks for your honesty and sharing not only the joys but your frustrations. I do pray for you and Liz regularly and will be praying even more specifically. I hadn’t checked your blog for a couple of weeks because our own family went through a tough crisis and we were just “surviving”. Our oldest son, wife and twin sons (2 years old) were in a bus accident which flipped over and we came close to losing them. We thank the Lord they are now out of the hospital and after a couple weeks living with us, are able to be in their own home with help. We too appreciated how others were there for us, how so many prayed for them and us and know that God is in control although we don’t always understand the whys and whats of things happening.

    May God fill you with His peace, heal Liz’s body, and strenghen you both to be the examples to your children and others that will glorify Him.

    Praying for you,

    Helen Steele in Bolivia

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