After Ashley's stroke I was very angry when I looked around me and saw other people going on with their lives. Inside I would scream, "MY LIFE HAS STOPPED! WHY AREN'T YOU STOPPING WITH ME?" I would be angry when I heard about movies my friends and family saw or dinners they went out to have with friends. All I did was go to doctor's appointments and therapy appointments. I learned a new language - medical speak. I learned how to give medications, track seizures and then, with whatever spare energy I had, I spent with Chris trying to make his life "normal."
The angriest I ever became was with a dear friend who said, "at some point, you have to pick yourself up and move on." Move ON? Was she kidding? (Yes, we are still good friends today.) I wanted her to sympathize, to cry with me. But after 8 weeks, crying more would not change anything. After 8 weeks, retelling the story would not make it go away. This stroke was part of our lives. Another tear or pat on the back was what I wanted - I got a kick in the pants that I needed!
Oddly enough, I had to embrace the stroke. I could not go forward until I looked it in the eye, addressed it and said, "let's go!" Then I had to embrace David's knee surgery - 4 weeks after the stroke - and his cane (for another 2 months); I had to embrace the miscarriage and then the hysterectomy that took from me the ability to ever have another child - 4 weeks after the knee surgery!
Okay, 1999 got off to a really bad start! But it's part of who we are now. Oh, yes, I would take it all back. Yet that's not an option. So, it has become part of the molding of who we are today in Christ.
Today I am thankful for that friend (I love you Rhonda), who spoke in love knowing it would hurt me and that I would probably be furious with her.
I am thankful for those friends who kept going on with their lives. I view those friends as the river that was running along a sandy beach. My life boat had been thrown violently on the beach. They kept the river flowing so that when the time was right, I was able to push my boat back into the river that was still flowing.
I am thankful that I learned to look at those around me and breathe a prayer for their own storm -tossed lives.
I am thankful that God has taught me to "Keep Moving Forward!" Keep my focus on him and the cross and realize that "these light afflictions cannot be compared to the glory of God that awaits us."
If you are in a crisis, rest on the beach - but get back in the river!!! If you're the river, keep it flowing so that others can jump in!