Monday, March 14, 2011

The Little Blue Engine

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phillipians 4:13

When I was a little girl my favorite story in the whole wide world was "The Little Engine That Could" by Watty Piper. My mom read that book to me hundreds of times before I could read it to myself. I lived in the illustrations and beautiful descriptions of the setting and the magical cargo and my heart ached every time the toy clown asked for help and was turned down. "Will you pull us over the mountain? Our engine has broken down and the good boys and girls on the other side won't have any toys to play with or good food to eat, unless you help us." Finally, my hero, the little blue engine said, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can."

We have had a really rough past couple of days--maybe the worst since Danica's surgery. To put it mildly we are not adjusting well. We feel stranded on the track. We know we have to get over the mountain, but it feels like our engine has broken down. Danica is overwhelmed with the new freedom she has been given. Dr. Crawford is right. She cannot control her movements or activity. She is three. I thought watching her before her surgery was exhausting, always worrying about her falling and about the safety of her spinal cord. I thought caring for her wheelchair bound and homebound was tiring, but it was in different ways entirely. This is a new holding my breath all day long, up and down, chasing, yelling, threatening, sobbing kind of tired. I cannot leave her alone for a second. She is defiant for the first time in her life. She is feeling all her oats at once. Many times today I had to physically pick her up and move her to keep her safe and make her listen while she was kicking and screaming. My incisions are burning. My shoulders and back are beyond aching. I cannot stop crying. I don't want to be a hero anymore.

Dan and I had a marriage changing talk yesterday. We talked about why we are still here together and acknowledged how few would have made it through all this. I know I have been horrible. I feel guilty all the time about how little I can contribute these days. I feel crazy too and act it often. Dan made up some beautiful new ground rules. After we get the girls settled in, no matter how late it is and how tired we are, we will spend a half an hour with no media, just one another. We will talk openly about how we are doing, no matter how bad it is. Oh, and anytime we begin to feel overwhelmed, and we are both here, we will simply say, "I need a hug." It's like a safe phrase.

One of my other favorite children's authors, Shel Silverstein, wrote a "spoof" if you will on the story above pointing out how sometimes a positive attitude can only get you so far. In the end of his version the engine crashes, and he writes, "If the track is tough and the hill is rough, THINKING you can, just ain't enough!"

I know our faith and hope is so much more than just optimism or we would have quit by now. I believe with all my heart it is when we are stripped of everything and all physical and mental and emotional strength is gone God does His best work. "I think I can" only means something when our eyes stay on the cross. So, I'm heading there tonight and the arms of my Dan because I need a hug.

1 comment:

  1. Hey girl! You can do it because God is the blue engine pushing you forward! Each day is scary and a new challenge, it is so important to surround yourself with people who will also be blue engines for you. Know that you can call anytime, for a break, a meal, or a hug! Love ya!