Plowing Forward Through the Storm
This photo speaks to my heart. Female buffalo in a snow storm plowing forward, beautiful in determination and coming out the other side in victory and stronger than before. I’m not sure about what lies before us in the days ahead. But I do know that they are days I’ve prayed would never come. A decade or more ago, I stared his brain surgery in the eye, and we decided against it for a myriad of reasons. His seizures weren’t that bad, weren’t that often, there were other medications to try. We were too young for so drastic a measure. The list goes on. And if the worst happened? Shouldn’t I be pregnant beforehand so a piece of him lives on? These last questions I asked quietly when the doctor and I were alone. He told me what I already knew- there are no guarantees. We decided to hold, to wait. He agreed.
And in the exhale, in the quiet hospital room I sat curled by his side, relief flooding in as the possibility of risky surgery was temporarily passed by. A worry for another day, or for someone else down the hall. “Not now,” came the whisper, “but one day you will have to cross this bridge. This cup is yours to drink, but it will wait. For a while.”
So we went home. We finished our counseling degrees. We built a home, a family, a life. The years passed, month after month we were lulled into a false sense of safety that this time, this time, we’d found the magic pill. And then another seizure would strike. Back to the drawing board. Again. The doctor called me up at work- they’d found a magic surgery that just might do the trick. “If he’s a candidate, I want you to do it,” he said. We agreed. But he wasn’t. Whether we sighed with relief or disappointment, I’m not sure. Maybe both.
And then a year ago, in a heartbeat, everything changed. I found him on the floor, unresponsive. Oh he came right around, thank God, breathing normally before I was, but the spell was broken. It was time. His gentle doctor retired, and we were pointed in the direction of the latest and greatest by a wise friend in the position to know. “What do you want?” asked the new doctor. He wasn’t one for beating around the bush. “If it’s seizure freedom you’re after, then you need to have surgery. The pills have lost their magic.”
So they lined up a year’s worth of testing and pokes and imaging. We made it through that obstacle course with flying colors and several tears, looking up to see the prize just there, on the other side of the bridge. Like a mirage. So here we are. With our hearts in our hands and the bridge just here- right in front of us, ready for us to step on the creaking boards. Will it hold us? Will we fall? Oh, but what if we fly? I can scarcely imagine it.
In the medical circles we’ve travelled here lately, the surgeon’s peers speak of his skills in quiet awe. “That’s a special set of hands, he’s got there. You’re lucky to have him.” Lucky indeed. The internal war continues to wage. God’s led us here, there’s no doubt. But he leads people lots of places. This is a blessing, an opportunity few receive. The chance for healing. But first, the test. This isn’t mine to control. I open my hands to surrender, let go. Focus ahead with steely resolve and knocking knees to plow through this thing with courage, despite my fear. To take the bull by the horns, so to speak. Bring on the storm, here we go.
“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” – Crowfoot, Blackfoot Chief