This weekend has truly been a walk through the past 6 years. As I faced the 10KM walk ahead of me on Sunday morning I started on Friday mental preparing. After two years of deciding and waiting to reach my weight loss goal, I finally went on Friday and got a tattoo that reflects my journey this past six years. A well thought out design that bares witness to the life changes we have made as a family and how it has led me ever closer to understanding the cross. As I sat in the chair, feeling the pinch of the needle I allowed my self to go back to the beggining of this journey we began many years ago with Joshua. I thought about his birth, his subsequent health issues, surgeries, caheterizations and all the stuff in between. To say it’s been a journey is false in some ways… it’s been more of a roller coaster ride… that looked very much like a ECG reading. Ups and Downs… I thought of those ups and down as the artist worked on me, in many ways the act itself was cathartic.
This morning, as I prepared for the walk I prepped my ipod full of music that has been the soundtrack to my life through out this chapter in our life. I started the walk with the doom and gloom of first learning his diagnonsis and I ended on the triumphant ‘this is where the healing begins’ that lead me through the last surgery. walking, up and down the trails (twice, since it was only designed to be a five KM walk) was so reminiscent of the daily walk we make each day. Some hills are harder, some of the flat ground were easy, and the final push through the last quarter (which I decided to run) was like last summer, painful on my knees, hard, and yet, as I saw the finish line coming closer into my line of vision I was overwhelmed, to the point of true emotion. Not because I had almost finished the walk, but because it symbolizes so much more to me.
Ever day of our lives, whether we realize it or not, is a race to a finish line. Ready or not, when we get there we are done. When we pass through that gate that signals we are done, we move into a period of eternal rest, with no pain, no suffering, no tears, no sadness… no broken hearts.
It struck me, walking and running through the 10 K, thankfully on my own, that as his Mum it is just so fitting that I am the one to do this. I am walking, not do any great destination, but with each step I get closer to achieving a goal. I am his mother, I walk alone in many areas of this life we have. Tim is beside me to listen, he helps make the tough calls, but the daily grind of appointments and anxiety and tears lay on my shoulders (a burden I chose, one I would not give up for anything. I find it an honor to hold Josh’s hand through the yucky parts of CHD. When he gets tired, I can life him up and carry him, and when I get tired, God lifts me up and carries him.
Too many times I have heard from heart families only the diagnosis of their kid… I want Josh’s legacy, our families legacy, to be not what CHD did to us, but we did for CHD. When I die I want to go knowing that I did everything I could to further the cause, I want to die knowing that Josh will be left with a medical system that is fully ready to take on the task of keeping him healthy. I want to know that though my role is small in many ways, that I have taught people something, shared our story in a positive and helpful way. Highlighting the great and amazing things that have come from Josh having this amazing and incredible heart. He may not be perfect, but he is mine. He may have a diagnosis… but he’s more than that.
More than anything. I want to share that God has brought us from the pain and fear and anxiety, into the shadow of the cross… that we are always heading towards. No pain, no suffering, no fear, can not be met with love and answers from a God who loves us enough to provide the cross.
When we sit in the gutter and mud, we have a decision to make. We can sit there, and stare at the dirt on our knees and hands and face, we can think about horror of the spot we are in… or we can choose to look up, we can choose to reach up and grab the hand outstretched, offering help to stand, the help to move on. I choose to look up. Walking today… even the running, was in one direction… The finish line. My finish line is (hopefully) a long way off, and I have a lot of up hill, hard won, victories ahead of me, but when I get tired I know that there is another side of the hill… and it goes downhill with easier terrain.
We were offered no promises of a joyous journey. Life sucks sometimes and it’s HARD. We were however, promised that one day all the hard bits would end, the sorrow would leave, the tears would only be tears of joy. Pain would end, bodies restored, FOREVER. I hold to that promise, and wait with expectation. BUT, in the mean time, I will walk and run the race set before me, and do the hard stuff that motherhood demands.
It was beautiful day. Hard, and beautiful!