Thursday, July 7, 2011

what if.....

I sobbed my guts out today. I think that maybe there are just some days you are allowed to do that. Some days that you just need to do that, some days that you just HAVE to do that. (Of course, if we have to tear a ticket every time we do, well then, I might need to request more tickets) You know, I cry little bits here and there. Lately, more big bits than little ones. But today, it just all poured out in one huge gushing torrent. Think Niagara Falls. 

My sister Susan has a band with my brother, brother in law, and sister in law. I am sitting in the car waiting for Charles. Listening to her sing about her life, tears begin to stream down my face as I realize how much of it I have missed.

The other day someone mentioned that their youngest child would be 21 in December, and I smiled and replied, “oh, my sister Amanda will be too.” Suddenly it hit me like a train, grabbing me in its grip and pulling me along.  I never thought I would miss so much of her life. She is an adult. My little Amydada is an adult. How in the world did she get there? She felt like mine when she was born and somehow I missed all the in between parts.

See, being the oldest, they have all become mine in someway or another.

My brother Josh just got married to a precious, beautiful girl named Jordan. He is married now and I have missed his life, he was my Joshy when I was twelve and he was five. He drove me crazy, playing tricks on me while I babysat him. He was my Joshy when I was 17 and he was ten. He stayed by my side, protecting me from a boy who had broken my heart. And now as he and Jordan set off on their lives together, I am not there to watch as God leads them on their journey.

My sweet Mindy and I were inseparable, people thought we were twins, she was my best friend. We played Barbies together, we dreamt together, we jumped on beds together and rode our bikes everywhere. She is married now with three adorable children. When on God’s green earth did that happen? Somewhere between bike riding and July 7th, 2011, Mindy became a wife, a mother, a gourmet cook, an extraordinary writer and actor.

My sister in law, Lynn was just 10 when I met her. I remember her telling me in no uncertain terms that her brother would be coming home to live with her after he finished college. I remember little bits, flag core and graduation, her wedding. But I missed all the parts that made her into the woman she is today. All the parts that led her to a house with an amazing husband and a bunch of cute kitties.

My siblings are all living out their dreams and I am missing it all. Their entire lives ahead of them. Their dreams still out there and they are reaching for them; big, extraordinary dreams, floating just ahead of them. I feel jealous, so very, very jealous.

So. Truth time. Brooke unplugged. I am mad at God. I know that is not a popular place to be as a Christian - let alone a pastor’s wife (gasp!) But, I have been sick for the past 5 years and I don’t even know where my dreams have gone or who this girl named Brooke is anymore. 

The baby who lay cuddled up in her daddy’s arms as he sang Bye Oh Baby Bunting and dreamed big dreams for her. The little girl who roller skated, hanging by a belt on a homemade pulley. Who brilliantly wet her bed because her momma instructed her, “DON’T get out of bed and DON’T call me.” (I mean what’s a 5 yr old to do?) Who snuck downstairs to listen to the grownups talk while eating spoonfuls of pure sugar. Who jumped right out onto an enormous tree swing without a care in the world, laughing wildly as she did; who dug up worms, built a tree house, climbed pine trees and raced her sister from the top of one tree to the next. The girl who drove a bobcat for her daddy, helped him shingle a roof, pound a nail, and change a alternator.

The girl who jumped off a 90 ft water fall on a dare from a boy who ended up becoming her husband. The girl who stayed up half the night with her best friend, making up dances for their cheerleading squad. The girl who lay on a blanket in the Grassy Bowl, looking up at the clouds and seeing her dreams in them, close enough to reach out and grab. The girl whose smile radiated to every corner when she entered the room, who made friends with everyone, who never cared about her weight, or what size clothes she wore. Who went to class in her pj’s, hiked through Pocket Wilderness, jumped in the freezing cold water with her clothes on. Who did the highest bungee jump in the world at Victoria Falls. Who got in the car and traveled on a whim to see her friends, family and in laws.

Who is she, where is she? How many years have passed her by as she struggled with a disease that no one could put their finger on. When did this become her journey? And how did she miss all these pieces of Lynn, Mindy, Joshy, Suzy-Q and AmyDaDa’s journey too?

Entering a furniture store today brought back memories of the day we got engaged. We walked hand in hand, swinging our arms between us. Not a care in the world. We walked from one expensive furniture store to the next, dreaming about our lives, our future. Now Charles is pushing me in a wheelchair, struggling to make it through the door, as we look for the cheapest set of bunk beds we can find. (Let me just tell you, just in case you’re in the market for some, they aren’t at Ethan Allen.) I don’t even know what weighs on me more. That I can’t walk on my own two feet, or that we can’t afford anything in the store. God, why? Why is this the path you have chosen for me?

I realize, I am so overwhelmingly blessed. I am blessed beyond belief. We have a lovely home, we have two amazing children, we have family that loves us, and day after day we are humbled by the donations that people make towards my treatment. I know there are many, many more damaging diseases and so many less fortunate than me. But this day, this one day, I feel sorry for myself. Everyone deserves a pity party now and then, right?

So lets just forget the five years that have passed by so quickly. Let’s just look at right now. What if.....

What if this journey is just for my mom and dad? They have only ever had snippets of time with Robyn and Finley. Kids grow so fast, every snippet just magnifying the evidence of how much they were missing. What if this time that they get to spend with the kids ministers to them as they see Robyn and Finley’s personalities? What if the journey I’m on is to teach my mom how to let go? What if it were just for them. Would it be worth it? Yes.

What if this were all for my friend Jackie, who, after experiencing Charles and my faith, renewed her relationship with Christ to the point that He became the center of her life, and she and her daughter were baptized a few weeks ago. What if it were all just for her? Would be worth it? Yes. Not a doubt in my mind. Yes.

What if it were for my friend Karla and the blessing she was to me as we renewed our friendship after so many years, as we laughed and cried together, as she expressed how I had ministered to her by just sharing my story. What if it were just for her? Would it be worth it?Yes, it would be worth it.

What if it is for Melody, who sits by me and rubs my arm as I have a seizure, who organizes my pills, feeds my children, helps me out of the tub; who laughs by far the best laugh I have ever heard, that immediately puts a smile on my face every single time, and who has become a very dear friend. What if it were all just for her? Would it be worth it? My answer is yes.

What if were to build this beautiful friendship that is forming with Sam (whose smile alone cheers me up) and Candy? What if the way they minister to me in such an unselfish and grace-filled way is somehow ministering back to them as well? Would that make it worth it? A bell ringing yes.

What about my little Robyn and Finley? What if somehow watching me go through this disease is shaping them into the people  they will become? Would that make it all worth it? Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Yes.

What if this is going to grow my precious marriage into an even stronger, even more understanding, more honest, more loving place. What if it was just for that one thing? Would that be enough to make it worth it? An absolute, kiss me on the mouth, yes.

What if it is for my Aunt Lori and her precious girls, Lexi and Dani who lost their daddy 2 years ago? Who pray for me every single night. Who set up a lemonade stand in their front yard to raise money for my treatment. What if somehow, someway, this is for them? Would just that one family be worth it? No questions asked, yes, yes, yes.

What if it is for just one person who has sat by me, loved on me, brought me dinner or balloons, experienced the Love of Christ in some way through this situation? Would it be worth it? Yes Lord, yes.

It is so hard right now my Lord. It is so hard to see the forest for the trees. These lives that may have been changed by (what I view as) my tiny little life. These lives, these precious children of yours, if you are using me God, then I let go. I give it up to you. This shell I feel I have become. This disease that has ravaged my body. I surrender myself to you. You can have me, you can use me. You who holds me in the palm of Your mighty hands. I give up. I am Yours.

Isaiah 43:2-3 “As I walk through the river, You will hold my hand; and through the waters, I will not by overflowed. When I walk through the fire, I will not be burned, and the flames will not scorch me. For YOU are the LORD MY GOD. The Holy one of Israel, MY SAVIOR.”   The Holy one of Israel, MY SAVIOR.”  

1 comment:

  1. Sweet Brooke,
    I love that you are one authentic, real, incredible wife, mama, daughter, sister, cousin, neice and friend. God is right in the midst, carrying you thru the darkest, toughest, most "unfair" days of your life. And thru it all, He will restore the years the locust me, He will! Love you!! Aunt Lori