When Steps Become Stairs

Liz has pericardial effusion. The human heart is in a protective sack of fluid. Right now, the amount of fluid around Liz’s heart is too much. Its causing serious problems. Liz is pale, weak, and in some serious pain tonight. She is still in the emergency room, waiting for a room to open up somewhere in the hospital. Test after test has been run. And now, an unexpected answer.

Not sure if this was caused from the previous surgery or not. Liz has had this once or twice before, but not to this extent. There is talk of having to place a drain right by her heart to drain the excess fluid. This is dangerous for a variety of reasons, and significantly painful. So, let me make sure I am clear on the road-map: brain surgery, birthing five children, removal of 6 inches of her colon, total hysterectomy, appendectomy, removal of the gallbladder, two ribs removed, the placement of a port, a filter, and a stint, and now, a heart issue. And that’s just the big stuff.

This is it. Now’s the time. Its time for ankle socks and shoelaces. Some situations start off as steps. You take a few and you’re done. Some energy was needed, but not much. But sometimes, I can’t help but feel like the stairs are skyscrapper-esque. I try and pace myself along the run, but get in my calves and thighs and begin to fall to the side. Ever get the feeling you are running up the wrong side of an escalator. I am still running, but I am still closer to the bottom than I am the top.

Here I am…11:01pm. The first night off, between jobs. Kids were out cold within minutes of crawling into bed. Candice had her arms on her pillow, above her head. Madison was completely under the covers. Samantha had her arm draped over her baby seal. Hudson was laying diagonally across his bed. Logan stirred as I was closing his door. I whispered, “Goodnight, Dude.” And I got back an “I love you, Daddy,” as he turned over to his side. The home is quiet. Just the hum of the refrigerator and the occasional car-locking alarm from the parking lot below.

We now wait for the results of the echo cardiogram they did on Liz’s heart. We now wait for the next twist in this book. Tonight, I feel like a man. And by man, I mean a guy that has no answers and finds himself relying on a God that is unseen, but very known. I feel like the the show of a statue, worn down by life, but standing nevertheless. And I stand not alone. I try my hardest to lead this family. I sit here and stare at pictures, hear snoring, think of questions to ask the doctors, research the latest issue, pop another Dew just to try and make it all fit together in a box called family. There are no vacations, cruises or staycations in our future. Don’t have season passes, season tickets, or winning lottery tickets. But in my days, there are finger-painted pictures, hair bows, and Power Rangers wanna-be’s. Tomorrow, a seven year-old and four six year-olds will visit their mother in the hospital for the 112th time.

If I get to the top of the stairs and I’m not sweating and breathing heavy, I didn’t push hard enough. But once I make it to the top and I can’t go one more, I want to know that I didn’t do it alone. That I was carried by friends and family, who were carried by friends and family, who were carried by God. No matter the struggle, may I never lose sight of the tear of blood that falls to the ground, tainting the dirt below, as I cross His mind. He thinks I was worth it. May I live in accordance to such an emotional response.

Holy Spirit…rock my life!


4 Responses to “When Steps Become Stairs”

  1. Charla Greenhaw Says:

    Donny and Liz, we were missionaries with your parents and you are our “nephew”! We have prayed so much for you over the years and know that the two of you have only been able to make it by God’s GRACE!!! I know you don’t understand all that is going on but I know, through your blogs, that you KNOW HIM on a very intimate level and that is what is getting you through these days!!! I don’t have any words of wisdom because I’m sure you’ve heard them all, but I do promise to keep praying with you and for you as you navigate these stais with the Lord and with each other.

  2. Karen Palomino Says:

    Donny and Liz,
    We are also missionary family with your parents and you. I haven’t written on here before but I want to thank you for continuing to write on the Brazil prayer bulletin. It is our privilege to pray for you continually. Like Charla, there are no words we can say to you that you have not already heard. But know that we continue to lift you all up to OUR FATHER. Each one of your children is precious to God, and you and Liz also. Know that our continued prayers are with you. When Jesus took those lonely steps to Calvary and God turned His back on His Son, we can’t imagine how Jesus must have suffered. I know through your sufferings that you could write a book on suffering. Only Jesus can give you the strength to continue each day, as He knows exactly how you feel. We love you Donny and Liz. Keep up the march. The path is not easy but the glory is eternal. Hugs……

  3. diane ellis Says:

    Dear Donny and Liz,
    We continue to lift you up. I’m sure you have entered many times in to the prayer Christ prayed to His Father, if possible let this cup pass from me, but not my will. Today as we reflect on that Good Friday, probably none of us can appreciate more than you what He was going through. He, having suffered in the greatest way, was lifted to the highest glory. You, having suffered so very much, will be lifted up as well. Keep climbing, and know that the prayers we are lifting to the Father on your behalf continue. May God sustain you and your precious family!


    Sometimes think that GOD has abandoned us,but not.Him by the stannous
    I continue to pray for the family.
    That GOD protects them

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