Saturday Stretch: When the greatest threat is yourself
The love God shows me is undeserved, yet unconditional. Each year I reflect on my son’s birthday and the circumstances surrounding it. The lesson of grace was shown to me that night, so I share it with you today.
My son’s birth delivery came fast and complicated. Down syndrome was the blessing yet unknown at the time. Having zero experience with it—the depth of despair was deep. I hadn’t known sadness that intense since my mother passed away 7 years earlier.
I was so angry with God, and refused to acknowledge Him.
Later that same evening I called to check on test results for someone very dear to me. I sobbed as I shared the Down syndrome diagnosis.
Then I was asked the question still seared into my soul, “Can you cry some more?” How do you answer that? How does a person possess the capacity once drained of hope, to only know more sorrow?
The test results confirmed earlier fears. This dear sweet teenager would lose their sight. A cruel eye disease, RP, had already taken away most of it.
Have you ever ached so deeply in your core that speech escaped you? Have you ever wanted to surrender this life, but were too afraid to even consider it? Have you ever wanted to shake your clenched fist at God, but were unable to move your hands from your silently screaming face?
I wanted to yell at God, and tell Him how much I hated Him for what He did. I didn’t even have the will to move forward much less start a fight. I was choked with sorrow, hate, and defeat.
I uttered something incoherent about leaving. Trapped in a hospital special care unit with no idea where to go, I needed out. I was about to implode and needed solitude.
Stepping onto the elevator, there was a much older lady alone in the deepest corner. I feared the rage in my face would alarm her, so I bowed my head in the other direction.
“How are you son?”
I began to cry. She wasn’t much taller than five feet, yet she reached up and laid my head onto her shoulder. She was silent as I wept.
“Your mother was strong. You don’t have to be,” She sweetly replied.
“You knew my mom?” She didn’t know her.
She told the story of being in the hospital because her husband had fallen during the trip down from Ohio for their anniversary. Said they met here during the war.
We walked together through the empty lobby and toward the hall leading to the guest hotel rooms. Her spirit was gentle and I’d not realized laughter had replaced my tears.
“I’m Waverly,” she said. Her flat Ohio-accent sounded familiarly like the southern drawl of my mother’s voice. Have you ever smelled the sweet aroma of sound?
She lingered at the hallway’s entrance, and hugged me once it became obvious she had no husband there.
“I love you,” she said. Walking away, Waverly disappeared into the empty hallway. Peace, I had peace.
As strong, highly trained, and full of fury I was for wanting a battle with God—He sent a fragile, sweet old angel to open my clenched fists.
God can take your questions, your anger, your shame and your sin. He showed mercy to me in that darkest moment, and healed my shattered spirit with the darling embrace and voice of an angel named Waverly.
Thank you for allowing me to share, and May God bless and protect you—even when your greatest threat is to yourself.