You’re following my family’s story right? You’ve been reading our Facebook posts, liking them and sometimes commenting. Maybe you’ve shared one or two. You’ve prayed and reached out and I can’t say thank you enough.
If you haven’t been, that’s okay. Welcome to… well, I’d say hell but I’ve seen too much of heaven to be that blind. Welcome to one chapter of a bigger story. It’s a wild ride, step on and share it with us.
Here is the quick rundown: My dad is a traveling missionary. He was in Africa. Some d*mn mosquito bit him. (Eff that bug) My parents go to Siberia in the middle of no where. My dad is really sick and unresponsive. It’s 2 am. My mom is alone. Queue a week in a crappy Russian hospital where the paint is pealing off the walls and my mom isn’t allowed to see my dad and the doctors don’t speak English and they’re telling my mom to remember him as he was. Span over to Greenville, Texas in a full house on an acre of land where five people, mere kids in this moment, are desperately doing all they can to keep their dad alive from 10,000 miles away. Take in the whole picture and see thousands of people, believers, holding this family up. Fast forward to the success of my parents making it to Paris. The doctors doing all they can. The kids crying at his bedside while a machine breathes for their dad and their mom fights to stay strong.
Then he wakes up. It’s a long road to recovery but he starts to recognize his family. He starts to talk. He used a walker and took a few aided steps. He’s going to come home.
The kingdom of God rejoices.
Yes, that was the quick version. Or, really the quick version is this “Dad got malaria, family was scared, Dad got better” but that doesn’t do the situation justice.
I take the stairs a lot.
Sometimes, if there’s an elevator and I’m feeling particularly lazy, I don’t.
I have the option.
Six floors up? Probably going to opt for the elevator, but a few times I’ve chosen the stairs.
Two floors up? Stairs.
The Eiffel Tower? The Arc de Triomphe?
Want a good workout but I don’t want to lift weights or run and I want to watch Netflix? Machine stairs that don’t go anywhere.
Each time I have an option and yet so many don’t. So many can never take the stairs. There are people who don’t even know what it feels like to walk. My dad won’t be taking the stairs for a while.
It’s a flimsy analogy but it’s all I can think of.
I have a choice. Stairs or elevator. I’m blessed enough to have a choice. So many don’t.
I have a father. I will have a dad when all this is over.
I have a story that has many chapters to come. And I’m in the middle of the most difficult chapter of my life but I know it’s going to have a happy ending.
And in the midst of the calm after the storm, I see so many who are still in their storm. I see kids stuck in houses praying they don’t lose their dad. I see parents raising their children alone. I see people who won’t come back from their nightmare chapter. I watch people choose the elevator every single time because they don’t have a choice.
“Why me? Why did my family get so much love and support when so many others are alone? Why did I get a family that loves each other enough to go through these things together? Why is my dad healing and others are planning funerals? Why do I feel guilty for being able to choose the stairs?”
I spiral into all these swarming questions of guilt and feeling like I should be doing more for others. You know the feeling, right? I hope you do.
“I shouldn’t be feeling so depressed when at least I have a family and a roof over my head and I know where my next meal is coming from.”
Feeling guilty for my own blessings is extremely counterproductive.
Remembering who these blessings come from, that I don’t deserve them, and the Lord is holding all of us, each of his children, is essential.
I have to remember to not take my life for granted and to see others when they are struggling. I’m so quick to wake up when my friend is in pain but it’s so easy to fall back asleep. They may be up all night, crying and biting their nails, but I’m sleeping soundly because I woke up, said a quick prayer, and now I can get those nice 8 hours in. (okay, 10 hours.)
Sometimes, I need to stay awake. I need to be on my knees all night for the people around me, just like I was when I couldn’t sleep. Just like the people who love me were when we needed them.
I’ll continue taking the stairs.
Hopefully I’ll just be more mindful of those who can’t.