Anchor: a Letter to my Son

August 6, 2014

I have been on a writing hiatus, not of my own choosing. We have been working so hard in the marathon of my son’s recovery. It has required more from us than we thought it would. And we have fallen into bed exhausted just to wake up the next morning unsure if we slept at all. I don’t always understand things that happen. In fact, I rarely do. I don’t know why my 3-year-old has had to bear this heavy calling for his young life and I hope it is a transient calling, one that will leave us and soon. And I don’t know why as parents we are needing to carry the weight of his struggle, but we gladly do and would gladly take it from him in a second if we could. I hope to be able to start posting again soon, once my brain de-fogs from these experiences.

***

Dear Son,

Last night as we slept, your feet found my back. You kick again, unaware of what you are doing and then you hum a slight note as you settle. I am reminded in the dark of how you used to kick me awake before you born and I smile.

In the pale street light coming through the shade, I can make out your face. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of that newborn in your sleeping face and I marvel at you. Your hand stretched out, your fingers loosely curled, I can’t believe sometimes how much you have grown in the time since I met you, since I got the chance to share my life and home and living with a person like you.

I know that morning is just around the corner and we will wake to sunlight and the demands of another hard day. We sleep on this airbed at a relative’s home for you, you know. We’re here at this place away from what we know all for you. For you to heal, for you to recover, for the special therapy that is filled with promises we hope will be true, for you to get back what was once all yours. Sometimes I worry that it’s too late, that at 3 and a half we have lost some of your capabilities never to be seen again. I know that’s silly. Three years old is hardly a lived life. But this sickness has taken so much. Even as you recover, we know the toll is has created on your body and mind and on our hearts.

Your dad and I are fighting hard for you. We research and talk to doctors and fight insurance and stick to schedules. And to be honest, we are often terrified walking in the dark like this. We feel that this is one of the riskier seasons of our life together. There are no guarantees. There’s no safety net this time. And the stakes feel very high for us. But we know the depths we will go for you. And when I think of that, I am choked up by the immensity of our love for you… and the thought that Someone could love you more than your daddy and me.

So it’s hard right now. And maybe you know that. When my patience is short and I get tired of telling you to do the same thing 4 times. When I lay down and you pull on my arms trying to get me up to play, but I need to just rest, a few moments, that’s all. When I shut off for a bit, revert into my soul for a few moments to get a break, to stop, to regain strength for the next step of the day. Maybe you notice  the hard; maybe you don’t notice it at all.

In some ways this season with you feels familiar. It feels like the season before there was a “you.” When I was dealing with the dark of sickness, the fear of never being a parent, the worry that you would be taken from us too. It feels familiar, and yet different. Because this time, God is so incredibly present to the situation in a way I can identify.

Sometime I make a mistake, thinking that if God is present in a situation, it won’t hurt so much, it won’t be so hard. Maybe that’s true for some people. Maybe for some people God’s presence means the severity is lessened. But that is not how it works for me. I am instead learning something else- that the hard can be excruciatingly hard, even with Jesus. That it still hurts, aches, throbs. The presence of God doesn’t automatically mean things will become easy. But many of them become more doable. And that’s what I’m learning. That when I have to pray for strength to make it the next hour, I find that I make it two hours. Two hard hours. Two exhausting hours. Two difficult hours. But still I make it. And so do you. Don’t be so foolish to ever believe that Jesus and ease must come together. Instead, believe that Jesus and grace are always hand in hand and it’s that grace that gets us through.

I’ve been thinking about and loving this verse from Hebrews 6: We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…

We don’t have a lot of water out here where we live, but one day you will understand how anchors work. These heavy, cumbersome hunks of metal that once heaved over the edge of a boat, sink deep into the water. It is not easily moved. And it keeps a boat from drifting off too far. It keeps the boat centered around the location of the anchor. And I confess to you, dear one, that sometimes I don’t feel at all centered. Sometimes I feel like my boat is drifting away from what I know and I’m panicked at the side of the vessel, trying to paddle back to where I know it feels secure and safe. And maybe that’s how it works. Maybe as Jesus becomes the hope that anchors our soul, we become more and more aware when the drifts of worry have invaded, and panicked, we return to the safety of the weighted center. The closer you grow to Jesus the more you want to be anchored to him. This is something I know.

And when, like right now, it feels like we are being beaten in a storm, when we are tossed about, unable to find footing, unable to see an end to the tossing, remembering that Anchor is important. To know that even though we may be tossed about, we are weighted down, centered in, and held fast by Him. We must choose to trust that right now. It is so key to us getting through this long, long journey.

I don’t know what calling you have on your life, little one. But I know it is an important one. Why else would you be here with a less than 1% chance of you existing and yet here you are? And why else would you be so attacked and wounded so you cannot fully function in the world? God beat the odds before. I trust he will again. I’m banking on Him with everything I have. I’m leaning on Him. I’m pretty sure he’s got a heavier anchor than anyone else. And I’m constantly throwing you into his hands with the fervor that a mother has, while searching to stay close to an Anchor I can’t see in the depths, but I trust is there, doing His job.

So, little boy, as you sleep, I am praying. I know tomorrow is nearing and in a few hours, we will wake up and you will smile and giggle and gladly eat your breakfast. I know that tomorrow we will drive a long way and endure the struggles of recovery. I know that tomorrow I will be hot and tired, and I know that I will go from a place of peace to a place of frantic and back again a million times in a moment. I know all this, but mostly I know that the Anchor is bearing us, weighting us, strong, secure and firm…

And I hope you will know that too.

Love, me.

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