A few weeks ago, I was talking to the oldest of my two brothers, both of whom have become my best friends and biggest cheerleaders as we have gotten older. He had to go out of town, about 5 hours away from home, for a few days for business, and his two children were sad. This was within days of my husband deploying to Afghanistan for an unknown amount of time, but it would be anywhere from 7-14 months. He said that he told my niece and nephew that his going out of town for a few days was nothing compared to what my children and I were going through. “It’s all about perspective,” my brother and I said at the same time.
Then I started thinking. Who was I to be discouraged? Yes, my husband was in a combat zone for an undetermined amount of time. Yes, it sucked, plain and simple. But, on the other hand, I am so truly blessed. I am married to someone whom I love with all of my heart, and he, despite all the goofy, ridiculous predicaments I get myself into, loves me wholeheartedly, without question or judgment. Sometimes my kiddos get a little crazy, and the thought of raising them by myself for this period of time sometimes scares the Dickens out of me, but they are absolutely wonderful, very healthy, incredibly smart, stunningly beautiful children. I love them with every fiber of my being. We have a nice, warm home, plenty of food. I truly have so, so much to be thankful for. Yes, my husband is gone, but think of the wife who has just answered the front door to see a Marine in full dress uniform with a sorrowful look on his face, telling her he is sorry, but her husband will not be returning home. Think of the wife or mother or child who has had a crisply folded flag placed in their hands “on behalf of a grateful nation.” Think of the parent who was just been delivered the news that they have an inoperable tumor, or worse, their child does. Think of the mother who looks in her bare cupboards as her babies cry out in hunger. No, I don’t have anything to feel sorry about, and my heart and prayers go out to all those who do. It’s really all about perspective.
Military wives joke about “Murphy’s Law of Deployments.” This law states that anything and everything that can go wrong will go wrong, multiple times, while their husband is deployed. I am obviously not exempt from this law, as you can see from my past few days. After yesterday’s endeavor with the playhouse, however, I thought I was entitled to a "buy" today. I had a wonderful day planned. My daughter’s little friend was getting baptized this morning, and his family had invited us to lunch at their farm afterward. The baptism was amazing, even more so because the little boy’s father was able to baptize his son. He was so touched that he got to participate in this monumental step of faith in his little boy’s life that he got a little choked up. They are great friends of ours, and I sat there sobbing. Sobbing because I was so happy that he got to do this for his son, and sobbing as I hoped and prayed my husband would make it back safely to participate in our children’s baptisms.
We had a fabulous lunch at their farm, and the adults took turns taking the kids on rides on the golf cart. My 2 year old son LOVES their golf cart. We could not get him off of it. He was sitting on the back of it, playing with a little truck, when it all went downhill. There was a large Black Lab running and playing with the kids. My friend’s mother-in-law was dog-sitting 2 Jack Russells, and one of them ran by. The Lab growled, I turned my head, and when I turned back my baby boy was falling face first off the seat of the golf cart onto the pavement. I have no idea how he fell, but I dropped everything in my hands and ran to make sure he was ok. Praise God, he did not hit his head or have any scratches or bumps or bruises on his face and head. He was still crying, and it was well past nap time, so we headed home.
I took his little jacket off and began rocking him to sleep. As I caressed his little baby arm, he started to scream. Then I realized it was much larger than his other arm. I quickly flipped the light on to see that his little left elbow was swollen to nearly 3 times the size of his right elbow. I immediately packed a bag of toys and snacks for him and my daughter and headed to the nearest urgent care facility. When we got there, they told us it would be at least 4 hours, and we might be better off going to the ER. When we got there, the parking lot was full. But, he had to be seen, so we went in and got registered. While we were waiting, I noticed a small group of teenagers waiting. They were allowed to go back, one by one, to see someone in the ER. The longer we waited, the more teenagers showed up.
Soon, my son fell asleep in his stroller. A few minutes later we were called back. The nurse practitioner who examined him thought his arm was broken and sent us for a few x-rays. While we were waiting, an x-ray technician was just clocking in and he made a comment on the parking lot being full. The x-ray technician who was taking care of my son said all the cars were visitors of one patient, a trauma patient. That was all I heard over my son’s screaming. I immediately said a prayer for that patient. They took the x-rays, and we were all pleased to find out it was only very severely bruised, but there was no fracture anywhere. I was so thankful. As I called my mom to tell her he was ok, I felt compelled to ask her to pray for the unknown patient with all of the visitors. I was so concerned about my son, but his injury would have, at worst, ended with a cast. I may never know the outcome of the person with all of the teenage visitors, but I am sure, somewhere in that hospital, there is a mom in deep pain and grief over her child.
When I got home, I realized I had missed a party my neighbor across the street was hosting. I called to tell her why I had missed her party. I asked her, too, to pray for the trauma patient with so many visitors. We talked about “Murphy’s Law of Deployments” and I told her about my playhouse incident. I jokingly asked why all of these things kept happening to me lately, and she said, “see, he's okay, but you were placed in that ER on purpose so you would know to pray for, and ask for prayer for, the trauma patient you heard about.” She was so right, and that’s when it hit me. It really is all about perspective. So, if you are reading this, please pray for a patient I know nothing about, except that he or she needs prayer. It really could make all the difference in the world.