Today was one that I would consider "not good", but even as I type those words, I know better. Needless to say, it was a tough one for me.
Jackman has been sedated, and in a state of induced paralysis for seventeen days now. Seventeen long days. That's how long it's been since me and Lisa got to pick him up and hold him, or see him smile, or cry, or even move. There's just no way to describe what that's like. It's torture... that's a good word for it.
Tonight made it even tougher. The nurses keep Jackman in perpetual sleep so he won't tear loose the stitches inside him. After seventeen days, he's beginning to get used to the drugs, so he twitches a little when it starts wearing off, and sometimes he blinks open his eyes just a little bit. Tonight, he opened his eyes, and kept them open. He looked so pitiful and helpless. His eyes were only partially open, like he was only half awake. He looked like he was begging to be saved from his present condition. I was looking right into his eyes for the first time in over two weeks, and I could have sworn he was thinking "daddy, help me".
I was helpless to do anything. I just wanted to get him and pick him up and get him away from there... but I couldn't. I started crying right there in front of everyone. I couldn't help it. I felt as low as I can ever remember feeling.
If that wasn't enough, we found out tonight that the past week of stretching hasn't availed much. That means the surgery we had so eagerly anticipated for Wednesday is off... maybe it will be Thursday... maybe another day. Bottom line: We don't know anything right now.
I don't think I said a word as we left the NICU and made our way to the car. I felt hollow inside. If I have ever been depressed, this was it. It was one of those deals where Lisa was the one trying to cheer me up, but this time it wasn't working.
We rode in silence all the way to pick up her car. The whole time, bits and pieces of scripture were bouncing around in my head. One verse in particular had been stuck in my head for a couple of days, but I could only remember a piece of it. I knew it was in Psalms; seventy-something. All I could remember was "...until I went into the sanctuary of God".
When we got to Lisa's car, I told her I was going to go to the church before I came home. I wanted some time alone, and I figured I would dig around in my bible and find that passage. To tell the truth, I really felt like I was going to cry some more and I didn't want to be around anybody. For some reason I knew I had to go and be alone before God, but I wasn't in the mood and didn't have much to say.
I got to the church and went into Robert's (our former youth pastor) old office. It hasn't really been used since he left in May. It is mostly empty except for a desk, chair, couch, and some books and stuff on the bookshelves. As I walked the long way around the desk to the other side to sit down, something on the bookshelf caught my eye. It was a little, beige, plastic, pocket sized something that read "FUTURE EVENTS" on the outside.
Of all the stuff left on those bookshelves, that is what jumped out at me. You have to understand, these shelves cover a wall about 12 feet long and 8 feet high. This was the smallest, most discreet, and insignificant thing in the room... and the only thing I saw.
Well, the pity-party was in full swing now. I was ready to sit down and indulge in feeling sorry for myself, and dwell on how tough things are for poor little ole me, but I had to pick it up and see what it was.
Upon closer inspection, I saw below the Hebrew-type font "FUTURE EVENTS" it read in small letters "Lifelines Scripture Memory Pak". I flipped open the little beige pack of 24 memory verse cards and saw these words:
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4
Were there ever words so appropriate and comforting as those at that very moment? It should be noted that there are over 31, 100 verses in the Holy Bible before you chalk this one up to coincidence. I realized instantly that God had personally comforted me, and not only that, He had begun to bring comfort to me before the events of tonight. That piece of a verse that was stuck in my head for days was no accident. I had thought that was the passage God wanted me to find and read, but it was His personal invitation to me to come into His presence and be comforted by Him.
I just sat down at the desk... awestruck... amazed. I couldn't complain. All I could do was give Him thanks. Of all the things we've gone through in the past 120 days, he has never left us to deal with it on our own. He has amazed us on almost a daily basis. I don't even know what else to say. Maybe this...
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.