Escape.

Craig had a terrible sports weekend.

His English football (aka soccer) team lost.

Our college football team lost.

And, alas, another fail for the Dallas Cowboys today.

It soured his mood all day.  I finally asked why he let it affect him so much.  I mean…we have real problems in our real lives that doesn’t phase him like sports do.

“Because, Czarina.  It’s the place I go to escape all the bullsh*t Evan is going through.  Sports is mindless and it lets me forget about all the stuff I’m scared about for Evan.  And when the place I “go” to get away from it all sucks….well…it just sucks.”

Escape.

Even for just 4 quarters on the field, 90 minutes on the pitch, 48 minutes on the court…

That’s how he leaves this place of fear, of doubt, of anger.

It works for Craig most of the time.  Most of the time his teams don’t let him down and he’s able to pretend that he’s just another dude, sitting around watching sports, with nothing more to worry about but the score and the clock.

I get it.  I want to run away all the time.  I’m not the saint of a mother some may think I am – taking care of my boy.  I want to run away, from this place, find the me that I used to love.

Pieces of me are scattered everywhere.  I crumble and fall apart often.  Leaving those pieces of my soul here and there.

I’m really tired.  Physically.  Emotionally. Spiritually.  I wake up multiple times a night to check on Evan.  Hold my breath as I tip toe in his room….waiting to see if his chest is moving up and down and the familiar sound of his deep breaths.

Last night, as I prayed for the Heartland, for a baby who earned her wings, for another who suddenly fell very ill, for another who was climbing and laughing one minute to having a stroke the next, for another who had the final open heart surgery in her series and is now struggling with terrible complications of brain bleeds and seizures…

I lay there.  Unable to escape this place.

When I think I’ve moved forward in this journey, I’m brought back to the reality of our lives, the raw and open wound that still hasn’t healed.

I try and pretend that my life is normal when I do the odd errand.  Pretend that my cart pushing and food sampling at Costco is just another day.  I try and act that my suddenly full cart – with red jeans, a pair of earrings, chips and a teething ring – at Target (when all I needed was milk) – is just like everyone’s.

But its not.

My life is changed forever.  I’m changed forever.  I’ll never see life the same way.  I’ll never do life the same way.

Since we’ve been home from Evan’s open heart surgery, we have been skipping church on Sundays as a family.  Craig takes Iz and I stay home with Evan because we are working so hard on his feeds.

Yesterday morning, though, I needed to escape for an hour to church.  I needed to hear the hopeful Gospel.  I needed to raise my hands up in worship and feel the Holy Spirit.  I needed to lose myself in something good.

Everything you could think of was hampering my plan to go to church.  Iz having melt downs, Evan throwing fits, the time change throwing everyone off.  We got to church right on time….as the band was finishing up with their first song.

I found a seat, by myself, a few rows from the front.  I was rejuvenated.  I was where I needed to be.

Suddenly, I heard a familiar melody.  A tune that I listened to when I was off at medical school.

“Sweet Broken” by Jeremy Riddle.

At the cross you beckon me, you draw me gently to my knees

And I am…lost for words, so lost in love..

I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered.

I lost it.

I could feel my knees buckling under the burden that was sitting on my shoulders.  The load of our life resting on me.

To top it off…the sermon was about suffering.  My amazing pastor outright said that he didn’t have all the answers to why there is suffering in this world.  I could feel his eyes connect with my soul as he said, “I know some of you are dealing with children born with special needs or who are medically fragile…”

For my readers who are non-believers of Christ, I don’t blame you.  I don’t understand why there is so much suffering in this world.  Why the innocence of this life – like my Evan – suffers so.

I’ve questioned God’s goodness and His mercy time and time again.  I’ve even yelled, “I hate you” in the air.  My emotions of fear and anguish for this life suffocating me, drowning me.

I’ve asked if I was being punished for something I had done.

I’ve asked if Evan was.

At the end of service, I was able to go up to a pastor to pray with me.  I was going to ask for prayers for peace and healing for Evan but all that came out of my mouth was, “I am so angry. I am so angry that this is happening to my son. I don’t understand why there are babies dying.  I don’t know why my son and my family have to go through all of this.  I am so angry.  I am so angry.”

This road I’m on – not for the faint of heart.

Here’s the thing.  The junk of this life is not because of God it’s because of man. God is always good.  This life is not.

We aren’t promised a life of perfection, free from suffering.  My faith has never promised to give me a reason – the why’s of our life – for all the crud that is thrown at me – but it promises me resources to get through it.

I write this with a heavy heart.  Difficult to see the resources of hope that is supposed to get me through times like this – when I’m on my knees begging God for an answer to why my boy has to face another surgery in less than two weeks, why there are so many babies dying, why places like Children’s hospital’s exist.

Am I broken?  Yes.  I’ll never find parts of me that I had before.  Every time I find those pieces again and duct them back together, I’m shattered once more when I hear of another baby struggling.  Those pieces left behind and replaced with pieces like courage, hope, and faith….pieces I thought were parts of my being…but I know truly weren’t until my Evan came into this life.

Every time I try to escape this place…I realize I’m trying to run away from it all when I need to be running towards Him, instead.

I look at my boy and know he’s a miracle.  He is.  I look at him and know that what gave me him is nothing short of good.  I love him deeper and fiercely with my whole being…and I bet some parents don’t know that kind of love.

 I do. I do because of what Evan has been through.  I do…because of the suffering.  I do…because of the pain.  I do…because I’ve chosen to not escape this life…I’ve chosen to live it.