I wrote this post, When Knowledge Is Fear, a few days ago expressing my utter fear as Bo, our beloved Serb, was facing another surgery. This time, I was terrified. My primary fear, albeit unexpressed, was that something would go terribly awry and we would lose him. I’ve seen it happen too many times to too many other mothers. It’s one of the graces and the curses of social media. It’s a grace that we can support each other and have people in our circle that may actually live across the globe, but tragedy seems to knock more frequently when our world literally becomes the world, rather than just a corner of it.
When your prayer list includes grieving adoptive mothers of children who had Down syndrome, it’s hard not to imagine yourself in their number, in attempt to steel yourself for the possibility, as if such preparation were possible.
The surgery did turn out unexpectedly. But not in a negative way.
Pre-op, his surgeon, who we adore, came in listing again all the possible things he may need to do and reiterating several times, “Bo just has really, really serious ear disease.” He prepared for a four-hour surgery, but the nurse told us to expect up to five and a half. We knew we would be staying at least one night, but the surgeon reminded us he may need to stay two.
When he returned, just over an hour later, we were stunned to hear him report that everything “looked great.” All he needed to do was thoroughly clean the mastoid cavity. Bo needed no reconstruction and there was no tumor regrowth. In fact, he wouldn’t even need to stay the night. The surgeon, himself looked rather sheepish as he reported all this to us and told us the recent problems Bo had been experiencing must have just been “bad luck.”
Bo came out of anesthesia like a champ, just sweet and sleepy, and very worried about the soft support around his leg protecting the IV. He kept holding his leg up to me, wanting me to kiss it and remove the support. He drank his juice immediately and, within an hour, the nurse removed the IV and he was discharged without any additional medications or even ear drops.
The Ramonda Serbica, or Serbian Phoenix, strikes again. There is a flower in Serbia that can be completely dry and just a few drops of water will return it to life. This child has such strength and fortitude, he reminds me of that flower. As a matter of fact, a few months ago, I added the flower to my tattoo. It reminds me of my little Serb who, once an orphan, has survived so much. It also reminds me that, with God’s grace, redemption is always possible, even for me.
We drove home just amazed. In all of our pre-surgery consultations, and even my neurotic follow-up conversations with the nurse practitioner, this outcome was never presented as an option. Ever. I found myself examining it from all sides, like a precious gem. I was so dumbfounded and grateful.
And, I found myself asking, “Why?”
Why do we get to keep him? Why do we get more time? Why do we get to escape the hard, this time?
We, as humans, want everything to make sense. I admit that I wanted to find some reason, some formula, for why this worked so well so I could employ it again. So I could pull it out of my back pocket for next time. I also wanted to feel like I did something to make it happen, like I have any measure of control in any of this. Of course, I don’t. None of us do.
Most people ask why when something awful happens, the worst. I don’t know what it is about me that makes me question the good, as well.
I realize that I’m so hesitant to even say thank you because I don’t want to sound presumptuous in the face of someone else’s pain. I hear people say the most inane things that make me cringe. The worst is when I hear myself say them. So I swing the other way and fail to give God the glory He is due for the good in my life.
I’ve watched these other mothers that I’m praying for who have lost children, and I see them, even in their blinding pain, praise God’s name. I’d like to think that I would join them. That, like Job, I would lift my voice and say, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
But if I fail to praise Him when He gives, how likely is it that I will bless Him should He take away?
So, I choose to praise Him that the Serb is fine. I delight that he seemed to be most offended by the band-aid he was given where the IV was removed, to the extent that he refused to bear any weight on that leg for a brief period, and it was hilarious. I am beyond grateful that the child who never sleeps has rested exceptionally well the two nights since his procedure. I am so thankful for all the people who took the time to read my last post and whisper a prayer, post a comment to Facebook, and/or send me a text.
God is good and faithful. And He is near. And He loves us so much, that even when we ridiculously insist on asking why about the good in our lives…there is grace for that.