Mondays are good for Recycling! This was originally posted on 1.31.08.
(A Friendly Warning: This post may be slightly PG-13 rated due to some of the things I talk about...just a heads up, especially for parents who let their kids read the blog)
Lately, with the blog, I've been becoming slightly self-conscious. Reading the comments and emails and cards and notes is such an encouragement, but it feels as if I'm being unjustly placed on a pedestal (in other words, many of you seem to think I'm all that and a bunch of raisins, which I'm not), and I'm scared that one day (knowing me, probably someday soon), I'm going to show my true colors and disappoint a lot of people. I'd much prefer to do something preemptive to help lower myself down a little...I am afraid of heights.
So, for the sake of honesty and transparency, let me share a few things about myself.
1) I'm pretty sure that being a great dad is going to be a whole lot harder when the NICU nurses are no longer her primary caregivers. I don't think I really need to say much more...see #3 for some more insight into this one.
2) I envy those people who's faith is most evident in the good times. I totally stink when it comes to having an awesome relationship with God in the good times. I keep asking myself why it takes something like my present situation to really make me believe that God really is who He says he is. I "seem" to do a pretty good job on my own most of the time...it seems to me that it's often a lot easier to trust God when you've nothing left to lose than to trust Him when things are going well. I tend to take the easy road...
3) I am a much better husband when Tricia is in the hospital than when Tricia is at home. I'm lazy, selfish, procrastinatory (yes, that is a word), and stubborn, especially around Tricia. I do a great job of showing off the best of me when I'm around most other people, but trust me, I'm no saint when it comes to my marriage, and Tricia would be the first to tell you that (although she probably never would tell you just 'cause she's so stinkin' nice).
4) I'm a much better and more prolific writer than I am a talker. I don't talk much (my mom loves to call me "a brick wall"). The only time I really talk a lot is when I'm placed in a leadership role with a group of people. Most other times, I do a lot more listening than talking. And when I do talk, I usually don't have too many brilliant things to say...and, even when I do, I usually don't say it well. For some reason, I feel much more comfortable writing than I do talking.
5) I have never donated blood. I'm very scared of needles that are pointed toward me.
6) This blog has done more for me than is has for anybody else. God knew what He was doing when He put the desire in my heart to journal this journey. I thought it would be a good way to keep our friends and family informed and to help others who may take a similar journey after us. Little did I know that God was going to show our story to thousands of people...and little did I know that He was going to use this blog to change my future in the way He has.
You see, back in the summer, around the same time that Tricia was being evaluated for the double lung transplant, I was being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. For several years, I've dealt with feelings and thoughts that have confused and frustrated me. I think and feel and act in ways that I know are not the way I've been called to be as one who lives for and in Christ.
For the past few years, and especially the past several months, I've had thoughts of what my life might be like if Tricia died so young. It's not so much that this kind of thinking is bad...it was the possibilities that came into my mind that seemed to be attractive that really scared me. I wondered if I would secretly run away with our dog and cat and try to start a new life somewhere...or, maybe I would be so numb that I'd sit at home until I either died or was placed in a mental institution...or, maybe I'd be so distraught that I'd hurt myself, or worse...
Up until a few months ago, I just couldn't imagine dealing with the grief in a "healthy" way, continuing with my faith in God, living a productive life without Tricia. The alternatives just seemed a whole lot easier, on several different levels. And, I've been very scared to talk with anyone about this.
But, through watching (with the rest of you) with incredible awe and humility the ways that God has been using Tricia and Gwyneth to change so many hearts and lives, He has also been changing me. God deserves all of the credit for anything good that has come out of our story, and I am just floored that He is using me to tell it.
I'll be honest, most of the faith-focused stuff that I've been writing on this blog has been more about me having an outlet to put on "paper" the things that I really need to read and hear to believe are true. Do I totally believe what I mean when I say that I'm trusting God with the lives of my two girls? Of course not! But, thinking it in my head and heart, writing it on this blog for thousands to see, and witnessing the response from you has brought me so much closer to that total faith and trust than I have ever been. When I post things that seem to come from a person of great faith, realize that they're actually being posted for a person with little faith.
I think what I'm trying to say is, if faith is always as easy as placing all of our trust in something/Someone all the time, then I'm not really sure that is real faith at all. I sit in chairs all the time (going back to that lazy thing), and I can't remember the last time a chair decided it wasn't going to hold me (although with all of this hospital and fast food, I'm becoming more suspicious)...but I don't think that my faith in those chairs is really anything to write home about.
If my faith in God is never tested, if my trust that He is always there and always wanting the best for me is always 100%, God might as well be a piece of furniture. And, up until just recently, maybe that's exactly what my thoughts, words and actions were showing about my God...
As I've mentioned a few times, it's not so much that I have incredible faith...it's more that I have an incredible God Who has chosen to put me in an incredible situation that only gave me two choices: rely on my own will and strength and stamina, or increase my trust in God. Knowing my own limitations, the choice was pretty simple.
When I am at my weakest, He makes His strength most evident.
God is using your stories and comments and emails to give me hope for my own life. I know I've said it many times, but I'm believing more and more that, after this part of our journey is over, God will still be Who He is, no matter the outcome.
Thank you for helping me. This post wasn't as clearly written as I had hoped (and I've been wanting to write this for a long time now), but hopefully I've brought my pedestal down at least a little...