Mountain Dues

Lately, I have been fairly introspective. Inside, I feel that I have been quiet. Not sure whether it’s me feeling the need to shut-up and listen or having those moments when solitude turns into loneliness. Yeah, sure, I talk and joke around. But it seems easier to focus on the needs of others right now than to consider my flaws and where I am lacking.

What I am about to say, in my own mind, makes it sound like I have been lost. I know I have not nor am I lost. But I am searching, seeking, reading, and listening. The current question I am working through is, “How did I get here?” How is it that who I once was has become someone who has never existed? And that moves me on to not so much a “Why me?”, but more of an “If me, why not now?”

Friday morning, I got a phone call from my mom and dad, who are in Western Europe. You know what they did during the call? They listened to their son excitedly narrate all that God was and is teaching him. I sensed their sorrow when I would share a hurtful part of life and they would laugh when there was a moment of joy and happiness. I went outside to talk them and probably walked a mile or so, as I shared the blessings and the trials. But, as I am standing there by myself, underneath the most perfect blue above, staring out across a countryside pasture, with mom and dad picturing their son being stretched, I asked myself, “How did I get here?”

I mean seriously, look around you. Look at your friends, co-workers, spouse, kids, your alone time. What happened? What you have; is it your fault or God’s grace? I want to be desperate. I want to be broken. I want to be in need. Living with everything under control is boring and unimaginative. I want to fly; and not on my own. When I shut my eyes, I am spinning. I get lost in my Donny-developed paranoias and paralyze myself from seeing the greatness that is God’s plan. Not a god’s plan. Not a New York Times’ Bestseller book of 2010. And not some great speaker’s words of advice. Shoot, not even my own family’s ideals of “right living.” But rather, this God that literally breathed me into pure life.

I am only me because of Him. I am made better by those I get to include in my steps. I am changed because a heart that was once full of gaps and missing parts has been restored; a blood transfusion, if you will. And at any time, I can still choose to give up, back away, throw my hands up and turn in my mountain climbing shoes. But really, after how I and my family have been blessed, how in the world could I ever return to what is right in the world’s general choosing? Although it would be easier to walk as cattle, I refuse to be contained by see-through fences any longer. Circumstances can no longer control my action or reaction.

Tonight, the air is still. The sky is dark and the future is bright. Liz is back in the hospital. She was released on Thursday evening with no a single answer as to what has been and still is ailing her. Twenty hours later, she was back in. This time, we had a solid answer. Liz has a sizable blood clot in her right leg and is was going that leg to swell significantly. Thankfully, she has already had a Greenfield filter put in earlier this year. This way, if part of the clot breaks free, it should catch that piece before it travels to her heart, lungs, and/or brain, causing another stroke, or worse. Also, the doctor she has been seeing, who is Brazilian I might add, truly cares for Liz and actually treats her as if the two of them both had a heart.

So, we are now waiting for Liz’s blood to thin out. This will take several days. I expect her home, hopefully, sometime on Tuesday. She is resting easy and I think it helps that this time, we actually know what’s going on. And on top of this pretty good news, the hospitalist taking care of Liz, prescribed something for her that is actually working on her stomach to resolve that pain. So although Liz has been our church’s women’s retreat for a second year in a row, God is still caring for His daughter. He is still in control. And His perfect timing in how He chooses to work things for our good is more evident now than ever before.

The kids are growing up. Especially Logan, but the quads as well, are starting to ask hard-hitting questions about mommy being sick. Candice asked me earlier this week if mommy was sick because of her…………..Logan asked me earlier today if mommy was ever coming home to stay………….Hudson continues to need hugs from women (“moms”) because he, of all of them, needs that mom hug and word of encouragement………………..Madi and Sam……they are quiet. The last two school days, I have been watching them as we walk home from school; they are walking alone. At 5 years old, my kids are processing some heavy stuff…………….And it hurts. To be dad, trying to explain these major events in our lives right now, it’s getting to be a tough challenge.

And now, having lived days where I was cared for my friends and family and friends that have become like family, I am left with nothing but an opportunity to worship. How wasteful would it be if Liz were to go through all of this and I failed to grow from it. You see, my wife is the one hurting and suffering and missing out on the things she loves the most. It is in her heart to choose to let God care for her, even when she will never understand the purpose behind it all. Liz’s sacrifice is everything. Except for the breath of life, which she has lost on several occasions in the last several years, life has given up the rights to knowing the future. Sure, she freaks and stresses as hardcore as the next mother of five. But in the end, Liz is paying her dues (going through life’s ringer) as she makes her way up the mountain.

“God, please don’t ever let me lose sight of the greatness that is my life. I know not what I want or need. I am not even certain of where I am going. But as you have continued to talk to me through your Word, through the words of friends, and through the conversations that you and I have had, I finally get it. You love me. You are more beautiful than the sunrise I have seen every morning for the last three weeks. You compassion has been revealed to me through the actions of so many. Lord, tonight, so many others are heavy on my heart. These times of struggle have given me the chance to hear the struggles of others. Meet their needs before mine. Sustain them, reach them, save them, fill them before me. Enough of me. I will still be here with my mess, as I have for so long. It’s time. It’s time that others are lifted up even higher. And when those needs are met, I ask that you let me know that you have taken care of each of them so that I may get myself back to the foot of the cross and praise you for your willingness to be You. If I am going to claim that you are my everything, than what I need is already here. “Friend in Jesus” seems so inadequate. Life advocate seems much more appropriate. I feel I am being fought for. Sometimes, I feel like the crossbar of the cross is there for me to lean on. God, what I am trying to tell you…is though I feel like crying more lately than ever before. I feel more tired than ever before. More than ever before, I love you. I love you. I am so in love with you. And I can’t wait to love you even more.”

…I am starting to understand the “blessings in sufferings.”


One Response to “Mountain Dues”

  1. I am proud to know you and call you my friend.

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