I’ve heard many metaphors for life: seasons, ride, roller coaster. Each of those words gives a word picture to help us express and define how we experience day to day living. Sometimes, only one metaphor aptly fits your given scenario. As I reflect on the last nine or so months, riding a roller coaster best describes the sensation of breathtaking speed and long climbs of the events of daily life. I have always felt more comfortable in the front seat because that way I can see what’s ahead.
Not feeling in control is an area of challenge for me. But sometimes, you don’t get the front seat. That fact was never more clear to me than this past year.
In October, my oldest son, Seth began having health concerns. His symptoms did not seem worrisome at first. As a mom, you always balance that “I don’t want to be paranoid” mentality with the “what if I’m ignoring something life-threatening” train of thought. So we waited.
Sometimes he seemed better. Sometimes he didn’t. Several visits to doctors resulted in more confusion as to the root cause of his symptoms. We heard the names of illnesses we can’t pronounce as well as being told that it’s all “in his head.” Remedy after remedy tried….and failed. More doctors, more time and energy spent troubleshooting; no answers. As fall ended, and more school was missed, frustration grew. It invaded family life. Siblings were feeling left out. My ability to home school became confined by doctor’s appointments and my diverted attention. Seth was growing sicker and I couldn’t help him. The ride was going fast, and I wanted off.
Finally, after mass amounts of blood work, and tests, there was a possible diagnosis: Reflux At least there was a name. And a bit of calm. But then in December, on an ordinary December evening, following dinner, my husband called me into the living room as we watched in horror as Seth began seizing. Not knowing what was happening, my reality of not having complete control hit me hard. What if he is dying?
Fortunately, he came out of the seizure after what seemed to be the longest 4 minutes of my life. After being admitted to the hospital, all tests came back normal. What?? Apparently, it isn’t unheard of to have a seizure with no answers.
But one month later, he had another seizure. And two weeks later, one more.
Now, I felt like I was clearly in the back car.
I couldn’t see where this ride was going. And neither could my family-my fellow passengers. As it would turn out, Seth would have two more seizures. We now added a Neurologist to his list of doctors. And more questions…with no answers.
With Seth getting sicker, his ability to attend school was nearly impossible. I was attempting to home school Lena, communicate with Seth’s school, return homework, carve out time for my husband and other child. My body longed for rest. fatigue prevailed. Congnitive functioning became difficult. Maintaining control over the situation gradually morphed into grasping for answers….and help. The mom in me wanted to fix it. But I couldn’t. I found myself in the most uncomfortable place for me on a roller coaster: in the back seat.
The backseat on the coaster does not allow the rider to see clearly what hill is coming up next. The ride may inch by for a while if the climb is lengthy. Or the climb is barely noticeable because the hill was so small. Therefore, preventing worked up fear for the drop on the other side.
In either case, being in the back seat position means I lose a sense of control. There may be unexpected climbs or stomach churning drops ahead. I can’t see them. But God, who is sovereign can. God, my Creator, who knows my fears, sees what’s ahead. And that is to whom I must look to rather than my own devices of resolution.
In the midst of the ride I was taking, new turns were around the corner: a family friend and my kids’ piano teacher died suddenly: young and full of life-leaving us all stunned. My husband’s beloved grandmother, an independent, 97 year old woman and light of the family and her community developed cancer and passed away within a month. One month later, Scott’s beloved aunt left this earth. And did I mention that somewhere in the midst of these twists, his company was bought out? What would that mean for us? And him?
I clung to Lamentations 3:22-24:
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”