I love to travel and I especially love when I get to travel internationally. Initially, I struggled with long international flights. Sitting in a chair for hours did not align well with my tendency for hyperactivity. In order to continue my love for international travel, I had to learn how to physically and mentally power down for the 10-20 hour ride. I also had to learn to trust the plane and the pilot when turbulence hit or we encountered an unexpected delay. Now when I travel internationally, I lay down all of my expectations for arrival and departure times, I lay down my food preferences, I lay down my need to be in control, and I just power down for the experience because I know it is a necessary means to an end.
Last summer when Maggie spent months in the hospital, our experience felt like we were climbing a mountain and through it all I felt like God was guiding me through the terrain. This experience has felt much more like an international flight with God as the pilot. The timeline is predicted but not guaranteed. I have no control over the turbulence and while my preferences are considered, at the end of the day, they hold very little weight.
I think the hardest part is that last summer I felt like God was right beside me and guiding me through every turn. This year, I truly feel like He is in the cockpit. He comes over the speaker every now and then to reassure me or give me directions but what He is expecting, through it all, is that I trust Him. I should have seen this coming. As I was getting ready to board the plane of this experience, I felt like God clearly said to my heart, "I've got this". Those are preparatory words and they are words that I have had to cling to when this plane has started to shake or the course on my screen did not look like the one I had charted in my head.
I don't know why God sometimes holds our hand through every step and other times calls us to trust Him as he leads from the front of the plane. I can say the experience has been lonelier spiritually but I know that it is all for a purpose and is necessary for what He wants to teach me through this.
Maggie appears to be improving. I commented during rounds today on how much better her heart rate was and I was glad we were passed that concern and the doc gave me the "not yet" look. Her drainage is slowing which is fantastic but I got another "not yet" look when I asked about pulling her drains. We are ready to land this plane. This now feels like the end of the flight when they turn the lights back on, you need to go to the bathroom but you don't want to step past the guy sleeping next to you, you start imagining all that waits for you when you land, you stare anxiously out the window, and your heart rate starts to rise as you count down the final minutes. Yep, that is pretty much where I am and I am praying the pilot doesn't tell me that we need to circle for a while before we lower the flaps.
You can pray for steady rhythms, decreased drainage, and peace.
Just for fun, here are some other similarities between international flights and long hospital stays:
1. You live from meal to meal just to break up the monotony.
2. You catch up on every movie or TV show you didn't have time to see the year before.
3. You long for a breath of fresh, moist air again.
4. You can go hours longer than you ever thought imaginable without going to the bathroom.
5. You have a tendency to lose your sense of time.
6. If you are with a child, the ultimate accomplishment is when they fall asleep.
7. It is a great place to people watch and make up scenarios in your head as to where they came from.
Thanks for praying and hanging in there with us.