The dark clouds loomed ahead. Rain pounded hard and fast against my windshield. The mixture of heat and water released an unwelcome toxicity into the air.
As I tried to navigate, the road was barely visible as the wind whipped the rain into a frenzy. My only focus was on the storm. That’s the thing about storms. Everything that could distract you or mattered just moments ago, disappears in the chaos. You are focused on only thatone thing and it is the only thing you have the energy for.
I didn’t care about my hair, the music playing, or the school year fast approaching. The only thing I could concentrate on was the storm. My field of vision was focused. My urgency was high, but I had to go slow and keep calm and be aware of only what was directly in front of me.
“Your father fell,” were wordsI never thought I’d hear over the phone, let alone for the second time. Two and a half years after that first call, the same sentence, the same shock, the same fear came back as if it had never left.
Time stood still as the doctor finally came with the news. He had shattered his hip socket. It was the same type of break as last time, just on the other hip. The storm was turning into a whirlwind. Everything else that could distract us slipped away in the realityof the moment. It didn’t matter who posted an update on social media or what news was griping the rest of the nation. The only thing we could do was focus on this moment. That was all we had the energy to do.
Two years ago, dad fell on the ice and broke his hip. But, it was the ensuing months that had taken so much out of all of is. Less than a week after leaving rehab, he was admitted with severe sepsis. It became a roller coaster for us as he laid unconscious for weeks. Each time he seemed to be improving something else would happen. He developed an ulcer on his artery and required 55 units of blood, then pneumonia, and then ICU delirium. It was a hurricane none of us ever wanted to face again.
Yet, here we were in the same ER, the same ICU. The storm had returned. We felt overwhelmed, but somehow more prepared. It was a hold-onto-God moment. He was the only anchor we had in the midst of thistempest. He had carried us through the last time. He gave us the grace and strength we needed for that moment then. We had to believe he would do it again.
Two and a half years ago his health was good when they went in to repair his hip. He may have been retired but he was still working various jobs and exercising faithfully. He was healthier than many twenty years younger. This time, his body was weakened by the toll taken during the last hospitalization. He has battled kidney issues, low iron, infection, and continual pain from the other hip.
The final decision came down to the fact that the risk was too great for a surgical procedure. The hip would have to heal on its own. Though we understood the reality of what that healing would look like, it still felt like the storm was calming.
It’s still coming down in sheets but we have our rain gear on and are sloshing along. He has made progress and is gradually getting stronger. He still has his funny phrases. A nurse will check in on him and he replies, “10-4”. But, the reality is, his mobility will be severely limited from now until he receives his new body at the resurrection. Until then, there are changes that will take place down the road to adapt to this “new normal”.
We may not be jumping in puddles yet, but we continue to see God’s grace in the rain that is falling.We have an incredible community of people around us who care, we have a God who can do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think, and we know that this storm will pass.