It has been a tumultuous week, filled with challenges. But more importantly, a blessing bloomed out of each challenge…
On the eve prior to his first-ever “official” swim lessons, I noticed an ugly little rash on my little fella’s back.
-challenges: What is it? What caused it? Will it cease by morning? Nope, it was still there. And worse. I pulled out my college texts from my health-related degree and scanned photos of chicken pox. I read through other books. Likely a heat rash. We went to the pool, talked with the swim instructor running the show, and lifted his t-shirt. She said, “looks like heat rash, but check it out with a doc before tomorrow, please.”
-blessings: He had a ball in the pool. His tall, lanky, skinny little self towered above the younger kids (and even those of his own age) in his beginners group. I felt tugs of “sorry” pull at my heart. Why did I–I now wonder? He was oblivious to his height difference. He didn’t care. He was swimmin’ and he loved it! That kid smiled so big–it was all I could see as he erratically paddled his way across the pool.
-blessings: I saw a lady with two boys. Both smaller than my kiddo, but later found out the one is three years older. Yeah, my kid is tall. Anyway, she was sporting a camouflage ball cap and a t-shirt with a yellow ribbon. I asked her if her husband is in the military. She looked into my eyes, and said “yes.” Later, my son and I asked to sit near her during the lunch (provided free to the kids). You see, I was in my jeans and Kubota tractor ball cap, and she was in her obvious military wife garb. We didn’t exactly fit in with the fancy sorts of ladies with painted nails and layered t-shirts. We shared our separation stories…husbands gone. Broken hearts. We shared home school thoughts and praises. We discovered our husbands had worked at the same mill, before the big restructure and lay-off hit. I thanked her for her sacrifices. I told her to thank her husband for his and his service. I told of my desire to be a medic in the military, but for medical reasons I wasn’t allowed. With tears in her eyes, she accepted my thanks.
-challenges: Getting to the doctor is a challenge in itself. We have to drive an hour, through one small town, two larger cities, and into another small town. We hadn’t been in over two years. We don’t go often. We are not typical in that way. And what about getting an appointment for the same day I call?
-blessings: After moving horses from one pasture to another, after putting cold compresses on his rash, after getting myself something to eat, I called the doctor’s office. They had an opening in one hour. Great timing. Once we got into the room, the doc apologized for not recognizing me in the waiting room when she stepped out there to greet a patient’s mom. Then she hugged me. Not your typical doc’s office, aye? She asked me what I thought was going on. She talked with him. And then she looked. She asked what I have been doing for treatment. And she asked how I was doing. And she did the doctorly things with my son…looking into ears, nose, throat, tapping belly, listening to heart. She agreed with me, likely a heat rash. Although she saw some red and yuck in his throat, the swab for that came back negative so there was no real concern. She wrote a note for the swim instructor. Cleared him for more lessons.
-a challenge or is it another blessing, in disguise: I asked if she could check his eyes. She said, “the poor man’s eye chart check is all I can do.” I said, “fine.” I had to bite my tongue, hard, when he couldn’t read the larger letters. Then I hollered out to God and caught my breath when he couldn’t read the giant “E” atop the chart. As she directed, I switched to cover his other eye with my hand and he read down to the teeny-tiny with that one. She looked at me from the end of the hall. And asked him to try that first eye again. Nothing but a “big blur” he said. Our focus shifted from a rash to his eyes. She gave me names and numbers and possibilities. She gave me hope and direction. And compassion when I told of our being apart from my husband, his daddy. After giving him a sticker, she gave me another hug. And a mother’s knowing smile. (see why I drive so far for her care?! I knew her kids from the days (er, daze) when I was a substitute teacher in that town when we were fresh outta college. She and I became friends, even before she started doctoring my boy.)
-blessings: Had enough money and time to stop by the health food store to buy the chamomile tea for his throat irritation. Ran into a dear friend. Told her the latest scoop. I knew she was praying as we climbed back into the truck. For him. And for me.
An ugly rash lead to a doctor appointment which lead to a medical discovery of more dire straits. While still at the doc’s office, I gently reminded him that at any time and with any ole thing, he could come to me. If he had a hurt of any kind, he could tell me. If he couldn’t see so clearly, he should have told me. He looked at me and wrinkled his brow and said matter-of-factly, “Mamma, so you mean everyone doesn’t see this way? I thought everyone had one blurry eye.” I told him that was not the case and that people see clearly out of both eyes or maybe they get glasses in order to see clear.
Challenges come, sometimes rapidly and in full force, while at other times they meander in and only stay for a spell. In each hard spot, can you find a blessing? If you are following Him, He will show you the blessings, even if they are in disguise. If you are holding tight to His hand, he will direct you to a vantage point with a clear view. Or just maybe you need Someone to tell you that one eye doesn’t need to stay blurry…
It has been a tumultuous week, filled with challenges. But more importantly, a blessing bloomed out of each challenge…and I am ever so thankful to clearly see with my heart. And soul.