Well, I had an ultrasound today. Patti spent another few hours of her life with our sweet Audrey…we are so grateful for her gift and for her heart. She makes the unbearable seem very normal, like catching up with an old friend. No matter what she says, I can sense how desperately she wants to tell us that it is all okay, that the baby is healthy, that this was a dream and she is the alarm clock we have been waiting for. We all know that she may never be able to say those words to us, and we accept graciously what she can offer. Again, if you are reading this, Patti, thank you. Thank you.
We didn’t get too much more information today…Audrey was bundled up in a little knot with her arms covering her face. We couldn’t see her kidneys because of the way she was positioned, but we watched her heart move for the better part of the appointment. To me, it looks like a little clover that opens and closes. It still takes up most of her chest and possibly has a leak as well as a hole. Patti will be traveling to Murfreesboro tomorrow and will share the images with one of the doctors in the practice to see if they can come up with any more information that would give us a glimpse into her world. Please pray for wisdom tomorrow as they do this…
While we were at Disneyworld, I was struck by the fact that for a lot of the trip, I just felt sad. I have debated about whether or not to even share this story because we really had a great time, with more memories made than I could ever fit into this blog. My children laughed and rode and ate and stared. They marveled at the castle the way I did when I was a little girl. To our surprise, they rode a roller coaster (hands up) nine times in a row. They could not get enough of “It’s A Small World,” but quickly decided that the real life princesses were a combination of creepy and “not really the real princesses.” They danced in every wide open space they came across and devoured enough sugar to keep a small country running. In short, they were as happy as I have ever seen them. I am forever grateful for the moments we got with our girls, but there is a deeper story, and I want you to be a part of it.
On the first full day we were there, the girls rode the teacups. My father in law and I decided to watch instead of riding, and I had the best time seeing everyone loop around the line as they waited for their turn. I was immediately struck by the pattern that emerged. Just as I sat down, I saw a couple arguing over whether or not to ride. They decided to go for it, but not before she had leveled him verbally and their little boy was staring off into space. Shortly after, I saw a delicate little flower of a girl stomp on the ground because she wanted the lavender teacup, “NOT the pink!!! AAAHHHH!!!!!” Her mother patted her hair (gently, around the 7 foot bow), and promised they would ride again and again until they secured the coveted cup. Princess climbed in as another couple started up in the background. They had special tags to ride at a certain time, and were irritated that they were going to have to wait another turn. Junior was no more pleased than momma, and was the type of child that I try to steer my children away from at the park. He had a look of fierce anger than belied his little body…like a live wire in a preschooler, fueled by the attention that he could summon instantaneously. It was obvious his parents were more worried about his response to the wait than the wait itself.
My suspicions about this particular child were confirmed later in the day when I saw him do the unspeakable while his mother had her back turned. Are you ready for this?
He spanked Peter Pan on the butt during the Magical Parade.
Don’t worry, I gave him a look that could melt ice, and had the victim not been dressed as a magical flying boy-man, he would have jumped the rope too.
Anyway, as I watched all of these mini-dramas (and others) unfold, the most beautiful, unusual thing continued to happen.
As soon as the ride started, and the music filled the pavilion, people just forget why they were unhappy. There was a 45 second time period every few minutes where they just got lost in the blur of joy. Hands up, screaming laughter, cameras flashing. Even the spanker kid got in on the action.
I love the teacups.
For the better part of the minute, all of the world is just right. It doesn’t matter that you waited half an hour, or that you pretty much paid $50 for one go-round. It is totally insignificant that your problems are on the other side of the music. Everything is just a whirly-twirly, perfect place.
And then it happens. EVERY time. Go for yourself and watch, because if you let yourself, you will see and feel the moment where the cups slow down and the music surrenders, and there is a collective sigh that summarizes the moment. Nobody wants it to end, they just want to keep spinning and spinning except that you can’t. It has to end. You have to get back to life, to hurt, to silence. To whatever it was that made you run there in the first place.
In a sense, that was my experience of the whole park. I wanted to get away, to escape and go somewhere magical, to get caught up in the idea that everything was just right.
I realized about 5 minutes into the fireworks that I had gotten on a plane to travel to a place where Audrey was healthy.
I cried that night after the lights went out in our room. I talked to the Lord, begged Him to do something, to intervene, to make it right. As He always does, He just sat with me and listened. I felt better (could have been a combination of a Sovereign God and a really high thread count) and eventually fell asleep. When I woke up, I had a message from my (amazing) nurse practitioner Susannah. She is Dr. Trabue’s daughter, and I count her as a friend who I have traveled with for almost 6 years. She had just gotten the ultrasound report that I shared with you all a few weeks ago. She explained that although the report noted many things that were encouraging, the overall picture had not changed. Medically, Audrey cannot survive. Susannah is an amazing woman of God, and I know that she prays for me. She has traveled around the world to help people in need, and I am sure she has seen her fair share of miracles, so I don’t want to give the impression that it was her intention to leave me without hope. She chose her words very carefully, and even in that moment I found myself grateful to a God who always knew that I would stand outside my hotel and cry with a woman who loved Him as much as I do.
So, before you toss your Disney brochure or think of me as a fantasy-hating cynic, let me explain.
The happiest place on earth is not on this earth.
This life was never meant to fill us, to satisfy our need for goodness. It wasn’t designed to give us an answer, but rather to let the question penetrate our lives daily. I believe that one way or another, God will answer our prayer to heal Audrey. It may not be here, the way we wish it could be, but I have complete faith that she will be whole. And it won’t be temporary.
If you only hear me say this one thing, all of these words will be worth it. For all of you who want to know the great secret to how we are breathing through this, it is pretty simple.
He is enough.
I am not a preacher. I will not pretend to be. What I am is a woman who realizes more and more every day that I want Jesus more than I want the teacups to keep spinning. In this life, we are going to be disappointed. We will hurt. But there is great joy in the shadows if you know where to look.
The truth about Disneyworld, and the entire Disney empire for that matter, is that it was borne of hurt. Walt Disney was a man with a broken childhood who tried to create a place that mimicked the things he loved as a boy and created the things he always wished he could have had. He worked his entire life to create a world that defied his pain.
If you are hurting tonight, I pray that you allow the Great Physician to heal your brokenness as He is healing ours. If you are enjoying the ride, hold on tight and try not to throw up your lollipop:)
I am celebrating unspeakable joy tonight. Joy that defies this world and welcomes the next with the eagerness of a child. Thank you, Lord. We are humbled by Your deep, unfailing, unending love.
And as always, thank you for your prayers and for taking the time to be with me here.