I’m not a fan of scary movies. Even suspenseful movies really unsettle me. The music gets intense, everything seems to slow down, and the agony of the unknown, yet highly anticipated, makes me feel as if I’m choking on my heart. I find myself hiding my eyes and asking my husband to just tell me what is happening. Or I take multiple bathroom breaks to reorient myself to reality.
It is because of this, that I deeply enjoy Disney movies; not that Disney movies depict much reality. Rather it is the “happily ever after” and the “when you wish upon a star,” that I love. You see, I know what it feels like to live out scary moments, to feel the uncertainty of life; those times in life that we truly wish we could hit some kind of skip button or fast forward. I don’t have to watch a movie to get that kind of thrill. I’ve had my fair share of those emotions.
After my injury, at the commencement of my rehabilitation, one of my surgeons told my parents that I would physically wear out before my surgeries were ever completely finished. And to a certain extent, he was right. I sit here almost twenty-five years later, and still have procedures that I can account for in my future. Honestly, I am a bit sick of it. I’ve grown up on and off of the operating table. But the benefits I’ve gained from living in this body outweigh the cost I’ve had to keep it and make it fully functional.
As sad and depressing as some of this may sound, I have a foundational truth that I focus on: my life as a burn survivor will NEVER be the same, but it is still good. That’s the challenge that I see people facing when tragedy arises. They desperately want their life to be what it was. They want to come out of trials, and return to some type of normalcy they had before. The fact is; you will never be the same. Losses that we encounter, pain that we endure, changes us forever. But we find a new normal. And at some point we begin to feel the “happily ever after(s)” again.
These thoughts arose from one of my orientation assignments to care for two dying babies, from two different families. One family just wanted the nightmare to end. They avoided the inevitable, unable to make such unfair decisions and unsettling arrangements. They just wanted everything to be okay. The other family displayed such strength and courage, always there at the bedside, even having a photographer capture their baby for the time they had. My heart broke for both of these mothers. There is something wrong when you know that a new mom will not be able to take her baby home to the nursery she prepared, and will rather purchase a casket.
I wanted to have that magical remote control, that I’m sure would be available if life were lived as a Disney story, to fast forward those families through that time, to happier times that I know will one day find them again. I wanted to shield them from the absolute torment only a parent would know to bury their baby. But as much as I know they will never be the same; I know they will still be okay.
I Peter 5:7 reminds us, “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” And further says in verse 10 “and the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself RESTORE you and make you STRONG, FIRM and STEADFAST.”
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