We’ve been through our share of struggles in the last several years, and many of them were hard to bear. Don’t get me wrong. It could have been worse. It can always be worse. However, when I was in the middle of a crisis and felt like I couldn’t breathe, the fact that it could have been worse did not really comfort me. At that moment of crisis, I always needed something else to cling to. I found that the thing that comforted me was the knowledge that, eventually, it would be over.
Maybe this perspective came from going through several bad events. Probably, the first time I went through something, I thought my life was ruined forever. Over time, though, I learned that it would be okay. Eventually. Some events were big enough that they marked my life as a “before” and “after.” For example, I view my life in terms of “before we lost our house” and “after we lost our house.” (And, actually, sadly, we still haven’t lost our house. It has been 6 years, and that house is still sitting there rotting. In my humble opinion, Bank of America is the root of all evil.)
A friend of mine says that there are no sweeter words in the Bible than, “And it came to pass…” She’s right. It is comforting that, “this too shall pass.” I focus on that a lot when life is rough around me.
So, last week, when I found myself driving to the trauma center, I had several things to focus on. First, I had to call the appropriate people and let them know Mr. E had been burned. I’m still not sure I called everyone I needed to, and I’m afraid I hurt a few feelings by not calling some. Also, I was praying non-stop for comfort for Mr. Everything and for safety for me. I was praying for his mom and for my kids. I was praying. A lot. But, then, there was something else I found myself focusing on during that long drive. That was the after.
I kept thinking that I did not know what was about to happen but I did know it would end eventually. I had no idea how bad Mr. Everything’s burns were, so I had thoughts of him having to stay in the burn unit for days, weeks or even months. That scared me, but I focused on the after. I knew that, eventually, he would get out, and that was what I had to focus on. I had visions of a slow recovery and a scarred face. I knew I would love Mr. E no matter what his face looked like, but I didn’t want him to be scary. He is so gentle and kind, and I knew that would kill him if small children were scared of him.
Anytime my mind would drift to visions of babies crying and children running away, I pulled it back to the fact that a new “after” would develop. We would find a new normal (whatever “normal” is) and it would all be okay. As ironic as this sounds, I (Not Your Average Al) find comfort in normal. Weird, huh?
During the days that followed Mr. Everything’s burns, I cried a lot. Then, I would remind myself that he was okay. He wasn’t even in the hospital. Life was good, and God was good. I kept focusing on the new normal. If anyone had told me what the outcome would be a week later, I would not have believed them. It would have sounded too good to be true.
Mr. E’s face almost looks as though nothing even happened. His skin is baby-butt soft, and he is fine. Small children are not afraid of him. He is as handsome as ever! He has had no pain. He has had no complications. We didn’t even get the prescriptions filled for the pain killers that the doctor was convinced we would need! He’ll have to stay out of the sun completely for a month and then be very careful about the sun for six months to a year, but that’s a small price to pay.
You can believe what you want to about this whole situation, but I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this is an answer to many, many prayers. Many were said by me. (They were in almost a chant…sorry about that, God. I know I was annoying.) Many were said by other people on our behalf. To all of you who said them (you know who you are!), we are thankful for you and for your concern. We are humbled by the outpouring of love we have received. We are truly blessed. -Al