(Read Part 1 First)
We decided that September 4 would be the day that we would officially make the transition to Durham and Duke to begin the physical therapy that Tricia would need before being placed on the Transplant list. We moved out of the house we'd been renting for two years (in Nags Head, NC) and placed most of our belongings into storage while taking our bedroom furniture, medical supplies, clothes and a few other things into a spare bedroom at my parents house (where we planned on staying when we cam home on the weekends).
September 3 was a Sunday, and that night, as our church gathered together for a service, I took the stage to share the new and plans with many of our closest friends and family. Tricia stayed home because she was not feeling well (not unusual). Little did I know that, literally as I was sharing our plans with the church, Tricia was finding out that God was about to take us on a huge detour.
When I arrived home that night, feeling a sense of relief from telling the church about our plans, Tricia met me at the door with, "I have something to tell you, and I'm not sure how you're going to react..." Of course, I'm thinking our dog had gotten run over by a car, or something crazy... She took me into the bathroom, showed me the pregnancy tests (I think she used three just to be sure) and told me that she was pregnant. God was giving Tricia her miracle.
The next day, when we arrived at Duke, we immediately set up appointments with the transplant doctor, the OBGYN and Tricia's CF docs. The transplant doctor's reaction (spoken) is not something I want to repeat (I like to keep this blog PG), although I thought it was a funny at the time. He advised us that our best choice would be to terminate the pregnancy.
The OBGYN told us that she had never once recommended to any of her patients to terminate a pregnancy, but in Tricia's case, she was making the exception.
Tricia's CF doctors already knew exactly what our decision was going to be about the baby, and other than a look of shock, they were very supportive (as was everyone else once we told them of our choice).
This morning, thousands of churches across our country are remembering National Sanctity of Human Life Day. (read My Dad's Blog for more about the history/purpose of this day)
In years past, I've taken part in considering what this day is all about, but it's always been just a passing thought. A few years, I didn't even really think about it at all.
But, this morning, this day has taken on such a completely different meaning. In the past, it has been about standing up for what my Christian world view tells me is right and against what is wrong. But, now I'm seeing those things as the smaller picture.
God is showing me, through the life of my wife and my daughter, that today is really about two things.
1) Sanctity of Human Life is about trusting God.
No matter what side we may fall on with the issue, abortion is not a belief. It is a choice that is birthed out of a belief. Our belief was that God wants what's best for lives, that it was God Who allowed this pregnancy to happen, and that it needs to be God who determines the final outcome. Because of our belief in God, our choice was easy.
For us, abortion was not about life or death, murder, right or wrong, etc. Our choice simply came down to whether or not we were seriously willing to trust God. And really, what else did we have to hang on to at that point? To abort would mean to turn our back on God, and Tricia's chances of surviving the pregnancy were 50/50, Gwyneth's were even less, and the window of opportunity for the transplant seemed to have come and gone. But we knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God was answering our prayers by giving us this opportunity.
2) Sanctity of Human Life is about making the most of our time with others.
If I have learned anything during the past few months, it is that my time with Tricia, and her time with me and others she loves is never a guaranteed thing. I have probably spent more time with Tricia in the past 5 months than I had the previous 3 years of our marriage.
I have seen my attitude and perspective change about certain things regarding my role as a care-giver. The things that used to make me cringe, I do with joy. The tasks that caused me to roll my eyes because I missed a few minutes of television show, or a few seconds of football game have become the things that I look forward to the most. My favorite part of the day now is getting into my Jeep and driving to the hospital, knowing that I have a full day of just being with or around Tricia and Gwyneth.
It would only take a few moments for me to easily become a childless widower. But, that's really how all of life is. We never know what the next second will bring. I hope to never look at life the same, never again choose to take my family and friends for granted, and never pass by another stranger without looking for an opportunity to be a blessing.
I am not perfect. In fact, I consider so many others in my own life to be much more spiritual and strong and loving than I am. All I know is that, the moment we made that choice to trust God, my entire life changed.
And, for me, that is what Sanctity of Human Life is really all about. Simply living life in pursuit of loving God and loving people does so much more to change hearts and minds and lives than any hellfire sermon, political personality, or picketing campaign will ever accomplish.
Tricia literally came within a few breaths of sacrificing everything to give Gwyneth life. If that had been the case, and even if that is still what happens, to know that we have trusted God with our choice will get me through today and tomorrow.
God is answering both of Tricia's life prayers, at the same time...He is doing something extraordinary with her life by giving her the miracle baby.
I pray that today, you will take time to consider that human life is sacred because it comes from God, spend time appreciating the life you've been given, and love on the people you find yourself with.