Wednesday, November 11, 2009

God Is In Control

On February 20, 2008, Hannah and I went to National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs for an MRI, which had been recommended by our ophthalmologist due to concerns about double vision and dilated pupils. To be perfectly honest, I really was not that concerned about these symptoms, because I really thought they were due to sinus problems. At the same time that this was going on, Bethany was also having some strange medical problems, and she seemed much "sicker" than Hannah...I was actually more concerned about what was going on with her.

But as the MRI was going on, the technician leaned out of her office door (I was sitting in a chair flipping through a magazine right outside her door--would you believe there was a magazine there from 1987?) and handed me two tickets for free meals in the hospital cafeteria. She said something about Hannah and me eating lunch there when the MRI was done. I thanked her and took them, but I knew we wouldn't stay...I was anxious to get back home and check on Bethany, who was at home by herself, too sick to go to school. When the MRI was completed and Hannah came out, I tried to give her the tickets back and told her we weren't going to stay for lunch. She insisted that we go down for lunch while she checked the films and made sure everything turned out okay. She said that if something didn't turn out, Hannah might have to get back in the tube. She said we should go eat, and then check with her before we left. I thought this was a little strange, but I remembered that whenever you get an X-ray, they tell you not to get dressed until they check the films. I had never had an MRI before...maybe this was routine. So, Hannah and I went to the cafeteria and ate lunch, then headed back to the MRI suite. As we walked back through the maze of hallways, I began to feel a little uneasy...when we first arrived, the technician had told us that it would be 2 or 3 days before we got any results...surely this "checking back" was just a part of the process.

When we arrived back in the MRI suite, the technician was waiting for us. She had pulled two of the waiting room chairs close together (there were only three chairs in the room, and they had each been in a corner). She had us sit down, and then told us that our ophthalmologist was on his way over. She then disappeared into her office, leaving Hannah and I looking at each other questioningly. Before we even had a chance to say much to each other, she reappeared, telling me that our ophthalmologist was on the phone and wanted to talk to me. I stepped into her office and shut the door, leaving Hannah alone in the waiting room, and picked up the phone. Now, I need to stop here and explain that our ophthalmologist was a good friend of ours...a friend from college, who sang in our wedding over twenty years ago. In a very calm voice, Tommy explained to me that the MRI showed something...he needed to talk to the radiologist before he could tell me more...but it was something that was going to require treatment. He was on his way to the hospital to talk to the radiologist and then was coming to meet with me. I asked him if Hannah should be included in this meeting, and he said that was up to me. I knew in an instant that Hannah needed to be a part of this meeting...I knew she would have lots of questions that I wouldn't be able to answer, and I knew she would want to know exactly what was going on.

I hung up the phone with Tommy, and saw the technician sitting there crying. She stopped me before I went back out to talk to Hannah and asked if I was okay. Well, I was, until she asked that question. Not really okay, but at least holding it together. I don't remember what all she said, but she was very kind as I pulled myself together and stepped back out into the waiting room where Hannah was sitting alone. By this time, she knew something was up, and I told her that something had showed up on the MRI and Tommy was on his way to talk to us about it. We cried a few tears, but held it together for the most part. While we were waiting, I showed her the magazine from 1987, and we actually laughed at some of the ads and articles.

Then, suddenly, Tommy was there, and he was taking us into the technician's office area and showing us pictures of an egg-sized tumor in the center of Hannah's brain. We sat back down in the waiting room (the technician had pulled up the other chair by this time) and Tommy explained to us that Hannah was going to need brain surgery, and that we were going to have to decide if we wanted to go to Arkansas Children's Hospital immediately or wait until the next day. He held our hands and cried and prayed with us (what a wonderful guy!), walked us out to the car, and offered to drive us home. We did have lots of questions for him, most of which he was unable to answer, and at that point, Hannah's biggest concern was whether or not they would have to shave her head for surgery. I honestly don't remember a lot of what he said that day, but one thing does stand out vividly in my memory...he said, "As much as we don't like is what it is." Nothing very spiritual, but something we said to ourselves many times as we walked through the next year. There was nothing we could do about the circumstances...we were not in control...but God was.

As I've been listening to my new Steven Curtis Chapman CD yesterday and today, I've been struck by the lyrics of another song, which so vividly expresses these feelings.

Our God Is In Control
This is not how it should be
This is not how it could be
But this is how it is
And our God is in control
This is not how it will be
When we finally will see
We'll see with our own eyes
He was always in control
And we'll sing Holy, Holy, Holy is our God
And we will finally, really understand what it means
So we'll sing Holy, Holy, Holy is our God
While we're waiting for that day
This is not where we planned to be
When we started this journey
But this is where we are
And our God is in control
Though this first taste is bitter
There will be sweetness forever
When we finally taste and see
That our God is in control
And we'll sing Holy, Holy, Holy is our God
And we will finally, really understand what it means...

I know there are many readers of this blog who are going through difficult circumstances: a prodigal son or daughter, the loss of a child or another loved one, or maybe you are traveling the cancer journey yourself or with a family member. Even as I join you in feeling that "this is not how it should be", I am comforted by the knowledge that God is still in control.


Emily said...

I love it! I remember well you all saying and then we would picked up the saying, "it is what it is". Bought the CD today and haven't listened to it yet. I love you, Maria

Lynn said...

JIll, Thank you for this post. Lynn (