It is 5am and I’m driving through dense fog on my way to the airport. The fog is fitting. It’s a perfect picture of how my head feels today. The first day since the diagnosis that I have to leave E.
Today I have to take a 7am flight out of town for a work meeting, and then will fly home late tonight. By the time I get home it will be an 18-hour day, but it’s worth it to be able to be there tomorrow morning when E wakes up.
Tears burn my eyes as I remember putting him to bed last night. I told him that Mommy was going on an airplane for work in the morning, but I would only be gone one day. He cried and started banging things onto his bed, venting the frustration and sadness he felt but didn’t know how to express.
When he’s upset or angry, he acts out physically. When he’s happy, he acts out physically. It’s the only language he knows right now.
He’s never said a disrespectful or inappropriate word to me, but he’s also never said “I love you, Mommy.” I’m praying for the day when with his words he can express what I know is in his heart.
Pulling off the exit ramp to the airport, I crack my car window to let the cold morning air wash over me. I need to pull myself together. I need to get some perspective on this day.
Perspective. Why is everyone in the airport acting like this is a normal day, just going about their business? Don’t they know my little boy’s whole future has been called into question? That our life has been turned upside down?
Maybe they do. I can read pain on some of the faces. Even fear. Like me, they may be thinking that the fog is fitting. When you’re in a storm it’s hard to imagine the sun will ever shine again.
Don’t forget in the dark what you knew in the light. The words of my Dad leap to my consciousness. Dad has been gone for over a decade now, but his words still ring in my ears and impact me daily.
I’m still thinking of Dad’s words as the plane taxis down the runway, gaining speed for takeoff.
“I need to focus on what is true, what is unchanging even in this current storm,” I think to myself as the plane lifts off the ground. I start to tick off a mental list. “What is true is that E is a gift, a gift straight from heaven. That God loves him even more than I do. That E has a big purpose in this life, a purpose that only he can fulfill.”
I’m staring out the window of the plane, gripping the arm of my seat as the plane ascends, bouncing through gray fog and stormy clouds.
A moment later we emerge above the clouds. I’m nearly blinded by the radiant sunrise occurring where only early morning air travelers and angels can see it. The glow is breathtaking.
Perspective. The view from higher ground. The sunrise was always there, I just couldn’t see it from inside the storm. But its existence is not dependent on my perspective. It will shine whether I can see it or not. Whether I choose to acknowledge it or not.
Don’t forget in the dark what you knew in the light. That’s what Dad meant. When I’m in a dark place it’s not because the Light has changed, it’s because my view – my perspective – has changed. But I can trust that the Light is there, and will be waiting for me when I emerge from the storm.
If I’m honest with myself, over the last few weeks I’ve let the fog settle in too often.
I’ve failed to acknowledge the sun that is shining, piercing through the storm clouds when I have eyes to see.
E is healthy. He does not have a terminal disease. Sunshine.
Little Princess is, for now, wholly unaware of her brother’s challenges and basks in any attention he gives her, lighting up our days with her smiles. Sunshine.
Despite the odds, our marriage is stronger than ever and we have committed to each other that not only will we weather this storm, we will be stronger as a result. Sunshine.
We know we are not alone; He is present with us. The very Creator of the universe – of the sun itself – brings light, love and hope to our days. Sunshine.
As I stare out the window of the plane at the sun rising ever higher in the sky, I feel my perspective changing. It looks like heaven up here. If I talk to God right now He can probably hear me even better, I think, then giggle at myself for such a thought.
Joy washes over me. Maybe He’s laughing too.
“Help me to keep this perspective, God. In the storm, help me to remember the sun. And please let us feel this joy through it all.”
I know we’ll be descending back through the fog soon, landing in the midst of a storm.
But I’ve seen the sun today. I’ve felt His joy.
My perspective is forever changed.