Well, I had a good cry, but I'm feeling good.
Knowing that I was going to take Miles into church today in his wheelchair was racing in my mind before bed, while getting my kids ready for church, while doing my makeup, while cleaning out the back of the Suburban to see if the wheelchair fit, and of course on my way to church. On the way there I asked Randy what his thoughts were if any at all about the whole thing. He told me that he hadn't thought about it too much, but when I started to tell him the things that were going on in my head he agreed that he had thought of most of those things.
I think one of the main issues that I was having was that I knew that it might hurt my friends to see Miles in his wheelchair. This really did bother me and bless me. I knew that if the tables were turned and it was a friend of mine that brought their child to church for the first time in a wheelchair that I would be sad for her. My friends have fought, prayed, believed and supported me from day one so I kept thinking about how they would feel today. I know that if I had to watch my dear friend be brave and face the crowd today I would have hurt for her, I wouldn't have known what to say, I would have talked about her when I got in the car with Randy, I would have wanted to give her a hug or wanted to avoid her completely.
Another thing I thought about before I got to church was the reason I was so upset about the whole wheelchair thing. Why was it so upsetting? What does it mean? To me, it felt like I was admitting defeat. Permanent Defeat...No. Just defeat for now. Who likes to admit defeat?
Then of course the "Always a conflict issue." Is this thing that I've sold my life to true? How can it be true if I'm about to take my handicap child into church? In my Bible it says that my God is a healer, but my son cannot do anything on his own. I've now got a wheelchair to prove that he should be able to walk and he can't. Do I look like a contradiction? What in the world is the Lord doing? Can he give me just a taste of the future so I can go into church with my head held high knowing that God is going to rescue me?
On the way there I was doing okay. When we pulled up I couldn't seem to catch my breath. I asked Randy if we could just wait until next week. I didn't want to do it. Diane pulled up beside us and I had no desire to whip out the wheelchair. Randy said we were going to do it. He prayed for me and then went to get it out of the back. As he was getting it out of the back Joey asked me for a piece of gum. (Read Previous Gum Post) I said, "Gum? Yes Gum. I can give you gum. You can have gum. Here help yourself. Have the whole pack. Share with your brother." Joey didn't understand why I was being so generous and he didn't question. He just enjoyed splitting his plunder with Spencer.
I actually felt weak in the knees. I haven't felt that way in...I can't remember. Oh yeah, since my very first BFW. I guess it's that exposed feeling all over again. Well, I made it to the Ushers and got my bulletin. I read it about 17 times before I got to my seat. I can't tell you one thing it said, but I kept looking at it to avoid eye contact.
We got many comments like, "He's so cute." He really is cute in that thing. He was smiling and happy. We got a, "He's mobile now!" I got a couple of hugs and a few, "Cool chair."
We got to our seats with Miles brakes parked and then worship started. The song starts:
Through you the blind will see.
Through you the mute will sing.
Through you the dead will rise.
Through you our hearts will praise.
Through you the darkness flees.
Through you my heart sings I am free.
I am free.
I am free to run.
I am free to dance.
I am free to live for you.
I am free.
I am free.
I said, "Come on Billy you're killing me." Then I cried for the next 45 minutes. All I could do was stand there with perfect posture and weep throughout worship. I silently sang those words to the Lord and told him how broken I felt. One of the songs was I'm coming back to the heart of worship. In the song is says Ill bring you more than a song for a song in itself is not what you have required. You search much deeper within through the way things appear. You're looking into my heart. Today I brought the Lord something more than a song. I was feeling pretty beat up about the way that I was hurting until this song came on. I felt like God was accepting my worship today. It cost me something. It hurt.
So many people came up to me today and just hugged me and encouraged me. It meant a lot. Of course I was over exposed a bit but I didn't care. You know how when you're in the delivery room and at the end of the whole thing you don't care who is in the room? You just are ready to have your baby and your normal modest self just goes out the window? That's how I felt today. I was beyond trying to conceal or act fine. I was hurting and it felt good that I was being loved on. It feels good to not feel invisible. I love that our church body encourages being open. If I had to have it together every Sunday I would not see the point in going. I didn't feel free to dance today but I did feel free to cry. By the way I don't know who brought tissues over to us right away but thanks. I used every square inch of those tissues and they were the good kind that left my face feel oily.
After a couple of songs I thought about leaving. I thought that if I could just get out of there I could try again the next week. I quickly knew this was a bad idea. If I left then next week would be even worse. I can only imagine the torment that I would have during the week. I'm glad I decided to stay.
By the time worship was over I was feeling better. I was ready to listen to the sermon and receive. I did great through the whole thing. Right before communion Kathy came over to Randy and I and said "The Words". These are the words that you should say if people are going through things that are hard. Here they are...I just want you to know that even if you are too tired to pray or to be full of faith that we are still doing it for you. We are so proud of you. We are so proud of you for hanging in there. We are still here for you. But most of all I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry that you're still having to go through this and that it's still hard. We love you. Those are the words that are so comforting. Those are the things that make me feel loved and encouraged. When she was saying these things she had her hands on us and she was looking at us in the eyes. She was serious and compassionate. After she said those wonderful things she kissed our cheeks. If you could bottle that up and sell it there would be no end to your profits. It's love and understanding.
So of course I lost all composer after that. I had to get up and take communion and we had to wheel Miles up there with us. That was hard. My hands were shaking as I was taking the blood and body of Christ. In my mouth it tasted bitter sweet. That's what today was. It was bitter sweet.
After communion I marched behind Randy and Miles with my head held high and wished I was invisible. I wanted to magically appear in my car and be on my way home. That didn't happen. There was still kids to gather and small talk to be had. When I went to pick up Joey from Children's Church I asked Joey if he wanted to push Miles around. We're trying to make it like a treat to get to push Miles in the wheelchair. I told Randy the other day that we have to allow the kids to play with Miles in that chair. My theory is that if we act like the chair is sterile that the kids will act the same way. If we act like it's fun to push Miles in the wheelchair that it will be fun. So far this has been true. You should have seen Joey push Miles across the gym floor. It was a little scary. I told Randy that Miles is two years old, and 2 year olds get hurt all the time. If Miles gets hurt sometimes when the kids are pushing him then it's just normal. Of course I don't want him to get hurt, but I also want his brothers and sisters to be able to play with him and not feel nervous that they will break him.
One person asked me how I was doing today and I told them that it was been a rough day. When I did make it to the car I felt good about how the day had gone. I felt like I made a big step today. Miles loves the chair and it's great for his body. It's really like he's having physical therapy when he's in the chair. It was made just for him. He's so alert and happy in it that I need to get over my issues so he can enjoy himself more. I feel like today was a success.
In the car you would think that I was totally relieved that I had completed my day, but that wasn't true. I had to go from that whole deal to my next deal. My brother and his wife and my nephew Connor was in town and I had to make them lunch right after church. My nephew is actually 2 weeks younger than Miles. I wanted to crawl in a hole and reset, but that wasn't an option. I had to keep going. Before I could cook I had to stop off the HEB for a few items. Randy and the kids stayed in the car while I went inside. When I walked in there it felt so surreal. The tortilla maker lady smiled big at me like there was not a care in the world. People were passing by me with their lists and carts. I just felt like yelling at the top of my lungs, "HOW CAN ALL OF YOUR LIVES BE SO NORMAL? HOW CAN EVERYTHING AROUND ME BE SO CALM WHEN I FEEL SO EMOTIONAL? DON'T ANY OF YOU KNOW THAT I TOOK MY SON TO CHURCH IN A WHEELCHAIR FOR THE FIRST TIME TODAY? WHY HASN'T THE WORLD STOPPED?" Of course I'm glad I didn't didn't do that. I did have an outburst at Thanksgiving dinner that I wish I could take back. (Maybe I will get to that on another post. Remind me if I forget.)
That's how I felt today. My world was upside down and everyone else seemed to be doing normal things. It's a strange feeling. I had to go home to a house of 12 and make homemade tomato soup and 24 grilled cheese sandwiches and be hostess. I had to play games and be charming. I had to suppress all feelings of broken heartedness and just continue. Continue being a Mommy to five children, listening to church stories, cook lunch, display my food pretty for when my Mom came over, prepare for a good time all the while silently mourning a loss I felt today.
But I made it. I did it. Next time will be easier. I can only look forward to the day when I get to see Miles push his wheelchair around like a toy. We went to McDonald's tonight and the lady that handed out our food had a big Tattoo on her neck that said HOPE. Again, hope is restored in the strangest of ways.