a tender heart...

It is very late and Miss Courtney is sound asleep after suffering through a pretty hideous grand-mal  seizure. 

It was a close call on whether or not to call the ambulance. But after beginning to turn blue, she pushed through and took the breath we were waiting for. Now she is snuggled in bed, warm and safe, until the next one comes to rob her of a little more oxygen and me of a little more sleep.

I open my laptop to escape the emptiness that sometimes slips in in these late hours when I cannot sleep and doubts bubble to the surface. 

How will I make it all work? 

So many pieces to this puzzle called family. How many more times will God ask me to hold my child as she chokes on her own phlegm and struggles to breathe while her body is assaulted with wave upon wave of neurological chaos?

Most days I get up and just do what needs to be done. I smile. I laugh. Courtney smiles and laughs. We make it work. It isn't pretty or glamorous. I am simply doing the job God gave me, loving my husband, Courtney, and her big brother with ALL I have. I hold my husband's hand in prayer as we struggle to find some level of emotional and spiritual peace.

There are so many people we know and love who are suffering greatly right now. People facing their own mortality and bravely fighting one disease or another. They are out of work and worried how they will provide for their families. They have children with special needs and are frustrated, feeling like failures in meeting the challenges of their child's daily care. Their are marriages under attack and they have children who are depressed and lonely. 

 So. Much. Suffering. 

I hold my daughter as her body becomes limp from exhaustion, fighting the physical battle that she alone has been asked to bear. And I weep for all the lost hopes and dreams that I once held in my heart for my little girl. These hard nights do not come often, but God's grace has helped me to understand the beautiful burden that is my daughter. 

But when the hard nights do show up, grief and sadness wash over me like a downpour, the type of rain you run through because you can't catch a breath. 

When these moments come, I need to acknowledge these feelings of sadness and loss or else I will explode with resentment and hatred. Two things that are no good for anyone.

I don't understand why God chose me to be Courtney's mother or why he chose her for this special task of suffering. I do know that one day all my questions will be answered. But in the meantime, I need to stay focused on the Cross. To look up and see the Sacrifice made for me. The inexplicable love that flows freely from the heart of Jesus to me. 

Tonight my heart is tender, bruised by lost dreams and the daily suffering of another.

I do not regret or resent my daughter for one moment. I wouldn't want her job. It's hell on earth for her while all I have to do is watch. 

Bitterness is an ugly thing that robs my heart and soul of joy. But I refuse to give the great deceiver room to maneuver in my heart. My heart belongs to the One who made me in His image and likeness, just like He made my beautiful Courtney in His image and likeness. 

I imagine He is a rather fierce God, given my daughter's strength and tenacity. She can offer nothing but love. She suffers for the love of Him who has a unique and special plan for her and her life. But the thing I have to remember, the thing I always forget, is that He has a special place for me too.

Tonight, though, I cling to those who have gone before me. I remember Our Lady's heart was pierced with the sword of  unconsolable sorrow as she stood at the foot of the Cross and watched them torture her Son. Tonight, with each of Courtney's seizures, I feel the Blessed Mother's sorrow in my heart.

So if your heart is tender tonight and you feel like no one will understand, know that I do. 

I will pray for you. 

You can pray for me. 

God knows your name and your need. 

He knows mine too.