Thursday, June 20, 2013

Giving and receiving as hope

Six months ago there was a little boy in Georgia who suffered a traumatic brain injury when a tree branch fell on his head at daycare.  His name is Tripp Halstead.  A friend sent me the link to his webpage early on and like hundreds of thousands of people I became a daily prayer warrior for this child and his family but especially for his mama.  She doesn't keep a blog but there is a website for donations, and she posts her heart on a facebook page dedicated to updating so many on Tripp's surgeries, treatment and slow recovery.  People from all over began to host fundraisers to help the family with the overwhelming cost of his treatment, to pay for modifying their house in hopes of Tripp being able to return home with his new special needs, to help compensate for Tripp's mama not being able to work so she could be with her son 24/7 and provide for all the unseen future demands this tragedy would place on the family.  

This past week there was a post about another Chic-fil-A fundraiser for Tripp that mentioned the Halstead's plan to share part of the money raised with another family in need.  There were some negative comments about how much support had been given to this family already and some other hurtful things.  I was crushed for Stacy.  All you want is for your life to go back to that moment before the accident, before the pain and disability, before it ALL and have your child and your world the way it was before.  Yes, the love of others is a blessing, but the responsibility that comes with so much attention and prayer and support is sometimes a burden added to an already unbearable load.  With it comes the secret shame of taking and taking and it still not being enough.  With it comes the pressure of wanting to write a thank you note for every single gift or respond to every comment or email, but you just can't because you can barely move through the minutes and you worry someone will think you take it for granted or expect it or don't appreciate their sacrifice.  There is scrutiny about your every move.  People see you out to eat and think you should be eating peanut butter and jelly if you are taking donations.  (In reality someone probably gave you a gift card to go out so you can for a moment be a couple or a family and remember what the real world looks like.)  If you buy a new shirt or shoes or get you hair done there is guilt and then someone actually has the nerve to say something to someone else that makes it way back to you, and it stings like salt in a wound.  And for all the good, the incredible good, that has carried you through the most insane kind of loss you hear the negative voices loudest of all, and they wound.  There are days you want to shut it all down and hide under the covers.  Being out in the open and vulnerable with everything is one of the bravest things someone can do and admitting what you, your family and your child needs are more than you could possibly provide on your own requires even more courage.  

Our family has been blessed for years by giving and receiving.  The medical bills are never ending, and we live on just enough.  No savings.  Painful juggling of dollars and cents until the next pay day.  Still, we never go without.  Just last week a gift came, and it floats us.  It helps us hope the trip I need to my neurosurgeon two weeks from today might happen.  We can't really plan for it though, because I have a CT for my head and neck and a visit to my gyn surgeon in between.  We live in today.  We have enough today.  We suffer gratitude today.

I'm telling you all this because there is a sweet girl, Haley, who I wrote about a month ago.  She needs her own community of giving.  She has been suffering for over ten years without a true diagnosis.  Her family has sought endlessly for some answer to her pain and suffering.  I know in the truest way what lengths you will go to to find any kind of help when your daughter is wasting away.  I have talked to her mom over the last month, and I could hear my voice coming through the phone.  You can't sleep or eat or think until you save your child.  Haley was finally diagnosed with a Chiari malformation and Ehlers Danlos causing severe cervical instability.  She will be having surgery with my neurosurgeon in Maryland next Wednesday.  This is not the beginning of a road for the Chico family.  The costs associated with this surgery and recovery are astronomical.  Even with insurance it becomes too much for a family who has years of medical bills on their books already to do alone.  They need help.  There is travel and hotels and food and scans and medications, and really, it is impossible except with love.  I helped create the blog to help Haley and Amy tell their story and also a facebook page for quick updates.  I added a paypal account "donate" button linked to the Chico family account so people can help with the greatest need right now.  Please pray for this dear girl.  Please pray for her broken body and her heart and mind heading into next week.  Please pray for grace and strength for her family.  This surgery is a life saving surgery.  It is a life giving surgery.  Thank you for being part of this hope for Haley.  

"Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need."  Acts 4:32-25

"Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”  Luke 6:38

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