I am not precisely certain at what point our lives got complicated. John and I had been married only two short years when a congenital defect in his brain was discovered and brought with it health challenges we still deal with today. Five months later, I was involved in a two-car accident which at the time seemed minor, but ended up changing my life entirely. From the trauma of that accident, I developed Fibromyalgia, which is a little known but widely diagnosed pain disorder. The cause is unknown, even though most develop it after some sort of physical or emotional trauma, and there is no known cure. So one could say that we’ve been through a lot, and that was only the first three years.
Over the years, though we originally wanted children, those plans never panned out. We were advised to go through genetic counseling due to John’s brain disorder, because no one was certain if it was hereditary. Then the accident and the subsequent recovery (which I’m still doing, by the way) took two good childbearing years from us while I tried to get doctors to believe me when I said I wasn’t feeling any better. Looking back now, and seeing where we are now, I can see why perhaps, we never were blessed with progeny.
And just this week, I have spent my days in the hospital with my husband after he got an abnormal MRI report and showed symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. One of the tests the doctors claimed was necessary to confirm or deny (is that the right word?) the presence of MS was a spinal tap. Not a problem for someone with a “normal” brain but potentially deadly for my sweet, but very stressed out partner. But of course the doctors still pressed us to do the test because without it, all prior tests were inconclusive. We were at a crossroads somewhere between a rock and a hard place with nowhere to turn for advice.
So, where is the blessing in the middle of these storms? Sometimes, in the midst of the latest “crisis du jour” it’s easy to get caught up in the now. But when we step back in review at some time in the future we can clearly see how there was a blessing at every turn.
If not for the first seizure that changed our lives the most dramatically, we would never have found our strong and unrelenting faith in our Creator. I had always been a believer, raised in the episcopal church, and John was too, raised in many different churches and denominations. He bought me my very first Bible in the months that followed his seizure, and I was “born again” in baptism on August 1 that year.
I believe my car accident, which followed my new “birthday” by two months, would have been unbearable to endure without the promise of a new body and a new life in Heaven. This is truly the reason I can wake in the morning and face each new day. With faith in a loving, just God, there is a promise that wrongs will be made right, if not here then in our next life. It’s not particularly easy to live life in pain, but my God is my strength and my shield.
And since I’m not a perfect being, sometimes I still struggle to see the blessing in being childless. My head knows because of our medical problems. I would have carried guilt to have knowingly given a baby daughter (or son) the burden of Fibromyalgia. And now, with possibly looking at a difficult diagnosis for John, one that is very possibly hereditary, maybe I can begin to understand why things never clicked for us as would-be parents. In my head. Each time a family holiday comes around, the presence of little ones I will never know is deeply missed. Christmas is awful, and more so as the years pass. Yes, on this point I still grapple with seeing the blessing. Perhaps some day.
As far as this week goes, time will reveal to us the blessing in yet a new diagnosis, a new challenge, and a life changing event. In the “now” I am thankful for the accommodation provided free of charge to us that allows me to be close by my husband while he receives test results, to hold his hand during times of trial, and just be near for comfort. Because of this accommodation I don’t need to spend my days in the car, commuting 3 hours a day back and forth. This accommodation comes in the form of Fisher House, located directly next door to my hubby. I am literally a 5 minute walk away instead of 60 miles and 90 minutes. This is my blessing now. The rest, like life, is “to be announced.”
I wish for all my readers to find blessings in their storms.