The clues of the Past
Hindsight does often give us clues. But, we rarely understand why God allows some things to happen. I’ve come to believe, that is a good thing. If God tried to explain it to me, I’m quite sure I would be just as confused as ever! Instead, I have to trust Him. He is God… And I am not. Still, as I look back through the darkness of our last several years, I do see His fingerprints all over it. What an unexpected gift. What Grace.
Some History April-June 2017
Ian was struggling during spring semester 2017 at UNM. He was going to some classes, but that was about it. He wasn’t eating and was avoiding calls and contact from us. In late April I received a $600 bill from the ER. Without saying a word to us, he had checked himself into the hospital. When questioned, he explained, “I went to the hospital and asked for a pill to make me better.” Still, he had NOTHING to show for it. No prescription or awareness of any follow up appointments. No clue even about who he had seen. Because he was an adult, the hospital wouldn’t fill in any blanks. We started the process over again but with some added information about Ian’s pre- existing condition. An MRI revealed another lesion. At first we thought the Dr was joking. DAMN! We thought we were done.
Another brain surgery
On June 13, 2017, (one year ago) Ian had his 3rd brain surgery. This lesion was smaller and in a place in the brain that was more accessible. It was causing problems (depression, some spatial confusion) and couldn’t be ignored. Surgery was the only option. It was a brief, two week hospital stay, but it was still invasive brain surgery. Everyone, including doctors and other professionals were amazed at Ian’s remarkable recovery. Even a speech therapist (seen only once) cleared Ian to return to college in August.
Mom’s Sixth Sense
Of course we were praising God. But… moms have a sixth sense. There was just stuff that happened that gave me pause. (Putting the ice cream into the frig, using a tide pod in the dryer, walking into a glass door.) Brain injury is complicated. In my gut, I had reservations. Lots of reservations.
The Angry Fight
July 2017 Driving home from an appointment in mid July, I shared my concerns with Ian. A fight ensued. Not just any old fight… this one was a doozy. The kind of fight that is laced with anger and you replay it over and over and over again. He said things. I said things. Hurtful things. Time passes, but like a hail storm, the damage was done. Sticks and stones may break my bones… you know the rest. NEWS FLASH. Words do hurt and often worse and take longer to heal than any broken bone. Proverbs 12:18 says they can pierce like a sword.
In late July the pressure mounted. Ian was desperate to live with friends off campus. I was outnumbered and frankly I was tired of the fight. “OK fine!” in resignation. I caved. Against my better judgement, I supported Ian’s move to 307 Princeton Ave on August 11. With forced excitement I even helped to stock his refrigerator, organize the pantry and decorate his small room. After several days of no contact, Doug, concerned, drove down to his house and discovered Ian alone with a water logged un-usable phone. His roommates had gone back home until classes started. (news that would have required that he too, come home) Doug bailed him out by setting up an old phone that would “work for now.” (A detail, we would later learn, probably saved his life)
The next day, August 16, 2017, I received the infamous phone call. 7:06 pm. (Exactly 5 days after moving out) “Your son has been hit by a vehicle, you should come now.” This was less than 6 weeks after his previous brain surgery. As I write this, 9 months and many miracles later, I am still sick to my stomach recalling the night.
Satan on the Scene
Of course, we were desperate, especially when we learned the gravity of Ian’s accident. But you know what tormented me the most? Recalling our fight! “You just wait and see. I am right on this one. You are not ready. You will crash and burn!” Eerie to think about now. For weeks, sitting bedside, I was full of fear, but also haunted by guilt.
The serpent was as relentless as Ian had been. “You should have been stronger. After all you’re the adult. You could have prevented this. Your angry words will go with Ian to his grave” The tapes would play over and over and over. Why was I surprised? Satan loves to kick us where it hurts. And oh how he knows where it hurts. Satan knew that I’ve always felt inadequate as Ian’s mom. He knew that my angry words were still fresh and that my guilt was debilitating. He knew that if he could keep me paralyzed believing his lies, I would be ineffective for His kingdom.
God, in His mercy, was so very patient and kind to me. For weeks, as I sat beside wrestling with fear and guilt, He was ever present. In that dark place, He was my security! It felt as if he pulled up an easy chair and said, “I’m here…. forever!” As I allowed Him to permeate my circumstances, slowly I felt satan’s grip weaken.
Romans 8:28, “28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
How foolish was I to think that my poor judgement could thwart God’s plan for Ian’s life? The verse says ALL things — which includes my mistakes. In God’s mercy, gradually, my energy, my fight and my hope was being restored.
Just yesterday, driving home from another appointment, I remembered “the FIGHT” from last year. Timely because Ian has begun his push to move out again. The car time would be ideal to apologize and put that horrible historical memory behind us, once and for all. “Ian, do you remember our discussions about you moving out last summer? Do you remember our fight and my angry words?” Before waiting for an answer, I hollered “Ian, I am so sorry!”
And then in full Ian fashion, he responded… “MOM, get a grip! I don’t know what the hell you are talking about!” We both laughed. I made it home in the nick of time to go to my bedroom and bawl. Thank you God for your grace to erase that memory!