When the road doesn't rise up
The roads have been extremely treacherous this winter, and a couple of weeks ago on our way to school they were at their worst. The highway between here and school was snow-covered with icy patches, and several drifts were sneaking out into the driving lanes. It was snowing pretty hard and blowing even harder. I was taking it slow and easy, being alert to all my surroundings. I noticed cars ahead were creeping along and putting flashers on, so I did the same. The next thing I knew, I was driving blind! I had hit a white-out...the worst one of this whole terrible winter. For about 30 seconds I drove into pure white, with only occasional glimpses of the road ahead. I wanted to stop, but knew that sitting still would be more dangerous than moving forward.
The journey that morning reminds me of the journey we were on late last summer. Leah had had major spine surgery, and we were living life with caution, constantly on guard and watching her for any sign of pain, fatigue, and weight changes. There were indications that things were not going well...her scar wouldn't heal, she looked so thin, she felt so bad. When she was at her lowest point, I took extra precautions by keeping her home from school and scheduling an appointment with our family doctor.
And then...September 13. We hit the wall. A blood sugar level of 711. Ketoacidosis. Type 1 Diabetes...Receiving this totally unexpected diagnosis was much like driving blind. We definitely couldn't see the road ahead. We were afraid. We wanted to stop this thing, but knew we had to move forward, not having a clue where we were going.
Fast forward six months to March 13. Today is the final dress rehearsal for our high school musical (The Music Man). Leah is playing a Pick-a-Little Lady, and sister Chloe is in the chorus. They've been singing and dancing their hearts out for weeks. Tucked away under Leah's costume is her T-slim insulin pump, now six weeks old. It's keeping her blood sugars in check, allowing her to eat when and what she wants, and giving her freedom from injections. She has returned to a healthy weight, and her body is strong again. A visit to her spine surgeon this week also resulted in a positive report and no need to see him again for a year.
Looking back, we can now see clearly the road we traveled, just as the snow turned to slush, water, and finally, dry pavement. The memories of that scary morning drive to school will remain, much like the scar down Leah's back. It reminds us that life is fragile, dangerous and downright scary sometimes. Looking back at both the snowy journey to school and the journey into T1D also reminds us that during those scary times, we were not alone. God sent his angels to guide our car through that snow. He sent his Holy Spirit to comfort us during those tearful first days at the hospital and home. He surrounded us with an outpouring of love and support through our friends and family.
The famous "Irish blessing" has always been one of my favorites. I love the many tunes and choral arrangements it has been sung to. As I reflect on it now, I realize that there are times in life when the road doesn't rise up, and the wind is in your face, and the sun can't be seen through the storm clouds. Thank God that during those times, we still have friends who meet us on our journey, and a God who holds us in the hollow of his hand.
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
(An Irish Blessing, author unknown)