Last Wednesday Clive was finally discharged from the hospital. His mom has thoroughly chronicled his story in another place, but suffice it to say, we’ve been doing the back-and-forth thing for the entirety of this almost one year of life. Every parent with a “high-maintainence” kid can understand the pure joy brought by the victory march from the hospital to home. 

That was Wednesday. Thursday we were driving back to the hospital.
I don’t want to get stuck in the weeds of Clive’s complex medical situation, but suffice it to say he had surgery today to repair a leak in his dialysis setup. We’d been home for less than 24-hours, so packing up wasn’t that difficult. We cried, prayed, told the other kids goodbye, and headed south to Dallas – again. When the nurse told us we’d have to come back for surgery, my first thought was, “Can I get permission from someone to cuss?” Probably not appropriate for a pastor, I know.

I’m being a little dramatic on purpose. In all truthfulness, by the time we got the car repacked and started down the road, we had renewed determination and peace about the fifth hospital admission for this year. Once again, the Lord gave us the Peace we needed right when we needed it. 

“Be prepared for anything” sounds like advice that we would expect hear from a veteran special-needs parent. But just what does that mean? Do you adopt an Eeyore mentality?

When he found out that Christopher Robin actually did invite him to a party, “A mistake, no doubt, but still, I shall come. Only don’t blame me if it rains.”

Each time we are discharged from the hospital I can’t help but channel my inner Eeyore: “A mistake no doubt, but still, we’ll go through the motions. But I expect we’ll turn right around and come back tomorrow.” A scenario that has, in fact, happened!

Of course, the other end of the spectrum is to embody Pollyanna rather than Eeyore. Play the glad game and look for silver linings, ignoring as much as we can the gloom reality of our child’s serious situation. But unless we’re talking about a river in Egypt, denial isn’t a better destination than Eyeore’s harsh fantasy. 

Where does that leave us? I suppose we are left with only the ever-present Grace of God for this moment! 

“Peace that passes understanding,” and “Grace for the moment” are phrases that have cluttered lyrics, encouraging notes, and well-meaning statements among Christians for generations! But let not familiarity breed contempt my friend!

Yesterday I watched my dear wife transform from a mom at the end of her rope, to a fierce warrior (warrioress?) ready to get back into the fray. After a little Holy Spirit rebuke, I stopped looking for the “Permission to Cuss” form and remembered a verse given to me about a year ago: 

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

We drove backto Dallas, checked back into the Ronald McDonald House, got our surgery waiting room pager again, and were able to be at peace throughout the process. 

Clive came out of surgery a few hours ago with a neutral report: they didn’t find anything majorly wrong, which is good; but that means a “repair” isn’t exactly comprehensive either. When a surgeon says, “We all need to pray that my magic dust worked,” we’re not exactly giving each other high-fives! It means more unknowns ahead, possibly some rough days and long nights, and possibly no problems at all! So it could be worse, but it’s hardly settling. It’s not exactly the kind of report you’re wanting to hear as a parent.

So as the surgeon leaves the consult room, my bride and I look at each other, give a nod, and smile knowingly. We know that Clive will probably continue to live up to his name (“One who lives on the edge of a cliff”), and by God’s grace, we are ready for that adventure.

So my advice for a parent of a special needs kid? Or a couple getting married? Or someone anticipating retirement? Or a hopeful graduate looking their future in the eyeball? There is only One Who won’t be surprised by what happens in the next five minutes. And as you anticipate His grace and peace, you can be prepared for anything!