Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tuesday Slice: Fear and hope

I went to bed last night wondering what to write this morning, and awoke without inspiration. I decided to read first while waiting for my coffee to brew, and this quote grabbed me, forcing me to reread it several times.

"We do not become hopeful by talking about hope.  We become hopeful by entering darkness and waiting for the light.  We become hopeful by being honest with one another about our pain and then waiting, together, for God to show us a way toward healing."
--Mark Yaconelli, The Gift of Hard Things: Finding Grace in Unexpected Places

Optimistic realism is my status quo.  I firmly believe in Stephen Covey's principle of only concerning myself with that which lies within my sphere of influence--a message that's been repeated to me in related readings and by nurses in a NICU while my daughter lived there for 65 days.  The principle that got me through deaths of loved ones, children's illnesses, lay-offs and job changes.

That's what moms do, right?  We face fear--our own and that of our loved ones--and then roll up our sleeves and get to work, doing what we can to alleviate the anxiety, doling out the hugs and the bandaids, making the phone calls, dealing with the paperwork.  And if that doesn't work, we clean the toilets.  Or bake a great cake. Or fill in the calendar, plan the menus, talk about work. 

Anything to move forward through the fear, the grief, the unknowing.

I don't know if we ever allow ourselves to really enter the darkness.  

As I get older, I find it harder and harder to cry.  Crying means stopping, giving in, wallowing.    

Then why did this passage bring tears to my eyes?  Because I realized that I am afraid.  In less than a week, my son will have surgery.  His orthodontist and oral surgeon believe that by moving his jaws forward and reconstructing his nasal cavity, his airways will open to allow him to breathe fully, possibly for the first time in his life.  

Breathing is good.  So what am I afraid of?  The surgery, of course--he will be under anesthesia for four hours.  The pain he will most undoubtedly suffer, even with medication.  The changes to the face I love, that I look at more closely these days, knowing it will be different afterward.  The four months of recovery, in which he won't be allowed to chew food.  The difficulties and details this adds to beginning his freshman year of college in two and a half months.  The insurance company, taking its time to re-examine our doctor's findings after denying coverage.

I will allow myself to cry.  And hope.  And make the phone calls, deal with the paperwork, plan activities that will get us through the pain and fear.

That's what moms do.


  1. Chris,

    I am very new to the SOL community - today is only my second time posting, and I still don’t really know very many members. Therefore, I find myself randomly choosing a few posts to read and leave comments for, hoping of course to find shared experiences, inspiration, new connections, and perhaps, eventually, friends.

    Thank you for your post. I truly believe I was meant to find the message you shared. I too am finding myself in a place right now where I am facing a great deal of uncertainty that brings both grief and fear. I loved your quote from Mark Yaconelli. I feel hopeful about this situation, but at the same time, sense that I am entering darkness at this present moment, and will be waiting for the light to come in the days, weeks, months, perhaps even years that lie ahead. Thank you also for Steven Covey’s words; I realize that I will need a great deal of time to process everything, but in so doing, I must remain tightly focused on only what lies in my sphere of influence.

    I hope everything goes well with your son’s surgery. You will certainly have challenging days ahead as he goes through the painful recovery. My heart goes out to you! Take care of him, but take care of YOU as well during the journey back to his full and complete healing. He will need you, and I am certain you will be there every step of the way. Because, as you stated: That’s what moms do. Blessings to you!

    1. Dani, I am thankful for your words as well! I'm glad you joined this community of writers. It's been my experience that more than just writing support happens here; these Slices are a weekly reminder of our shared humanity.

      I'm glad my words brought you solace and insight. I hope your time in darkness is brief. I'm looking forward to reading your Slices. Take care of yourself, as well!

  2. I've heard that God will never put more on your plate than you can handle. But I have had a few times when my plate seemed to runneth over. There is power in positive thinking, proven by quicker heal times.In reviewing some ole discs I cam upon Mason's pictures at the Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas. He got through that as a child, he'll get through his upcoming surgery as a young man. Perhaps with some pain, but for sure with a lot of gain when it is all over. Please keep us posted, if you need me, I'll be there. Ya'll are in my prayers. I love Ya's, Dad/Grandpa Jim.

    1. Thanks for your support, Dad. This surgery is so much more involved than his previous ones, and we have so many more major events happening in close proximity. We will be taking it one day at a time this summer.