To laugh or to cry
I recently shared that my oldest daughter had to undergo an extensive surgery due to injuries she received in our family’s darkest day. The part about this story that is so upsetting is that we had no idea that she had even hurt her nose. Sadly, my children are not the only ones who are continuing to find injuries that no one knew or even thought to check. These are the ones that can be seen on CT scans and X-rays, but there are a myriad of hurts that cannot be detected by modern technology.
This surgery which involved a septinoplasty and turbinoplasties (three of them) were to allow our girl to be able to breathe again – literally. For all these years, she had a non-functioning nose which was susceptible to sinus ailments and headaches. Erin’s dream is to play basketball for the glory of God above all else. As her momma (and one of her biggest fans), I was moved to tears this year when one of her specialty coaches told her that she believed that God gave you basketball as a platform, now go out there and shine your light for him.
Despite being a coach’s kid, I never played basketball. Tennis was my love, and I cannot for one minute, imagine playing that sport or any land sport without the ability to breathe through my nose. Honestly, I do not know how she has functioned all this time.
When the cause of her troubles was discovered, some things (aside from struggling for air in games) did start making sense. Food is just something she eats, not enjoys. She could never smell if there was an odd odor in our home. The icing of this ridiculous cake was when her baby sister explained that the different color candies tasted different, and she thought it was a joke.
Yesterday, she went for her first post-operative surgical appointment. I won’t divulge the gory details, but let’s just say for a squeamish girl, she was a little shell-shocked at the size of the stents removed by the surgeon. He asked if her expression was one of horror or disgust (as in if she wanted to kick him). Her one word answer, “Yeah”, quietly uttered, said it all.
The fact that her mother wanted to examine the stents (because she is after all a science teacher) probably pushed the envelope a little too far. Just one of the many things that will cause her embarrassment in her lifetime!
Her surgery, while definitely necessary, was somewhat radical for someone so young. This was her shot (pun intended) to get back to living and to experience life with some modicum of what everyone else does. In the back corners of my cerebral matter, I had to wonder if it was going to be worth it.
As we walked out of the hospital that day, I asked her if she could breathe better. She said that indeed she could, but she just had to get out of there. Thinking that she was still mad at the doctor, I joked that he could probably take it. She further explained that it was the hospital smells that were making her gag.
Did she just say what I think she said?
Later we walked into a store to pick a prescribed item, and her response was priceless. “Whoa! Smell overload!” I took a big inhale and realized she was right but I had just learned to tune that sensory overload out. But for her, it was like she had awoken from an olfactory coma.
Over the next few days, she has shared realizations about foods actually have tastes, smells that really bother her, and memories of how the hospital smell brought back memories of her brother’s stay in intensive care. Of course, her sister, who seems to have inherited my love of science, conducted an experiment by having her try each of the six flavors of Smarties, and yes, now she can discern a difference.
With each new discovery, we laugh, but a part of me wants to cry because of all she has missed. It has been over five years of having a deadened sense. From the early evidence, I would say that the surgery was more than worth it.
One day, while home playing nursemaid, I was reflecting on everything that has evolved from the firestorm our lives have been. To laugh or to cry played around in my head, partly because I felt that I had let her down. How could I not have known? During my devotion, God gave me a small glimmer into an analogy on this very concept.
He reminded me that sin (anything that keeps us separated from him) has the same effect on our spiritual senses. Whatever it is might start off rather benign. I have to believe that Erin could smell in the aftermath of the crash. But over time, our soul becomes desensitized to the effect it is having in our life. One day, we wake up and a myriad of other things have happened that simply do not make sense, and we are often left wondering where God is.
Wow! I was not expecting that answer when I was cuddled up, asking him to insulate my family and to help us get through this chapter of our story. Choosing joy. This seems to be a theme that time and again, God is pounding into my soul, and many times I AM my biggest stumbling block.
A little later, I had an overwhelming sense that laughter was indeed what he wanted from us. Not laughing at our circumstances, but laughing through them. And yes, that might mean, laughing at a budding scientist, using her big sister as a guinea pig. It may mean laughing when our girl realizes that not everyone smells pleasant following a grueling game.
The more we laugh, the more we are reminded that the Creator of laughter delights in our joy!
I am utterly and completely thankful that he does!
Psalm 30:5 Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. (AMP)