Today on a Sunday morning i sat on my back porch sipping coffee with my phone in hand; i was anxiously waiting on an update from Brent. i decided at the last minute to skip church and instead wait to hear from Brent. He was in Burnett, TX watching Braeden race his mountain bike for Baylor cycling in the regional championships. And then, he called. On the first ring i answered, ready for exciting play-by-play of news of a podium finish for our boy. Instead i heard Brent’s voice—shallow, stuttering, scared—say:
“It’s Braeden. He wrecked. He’ll be OK…but its bad. Its really bad.”
Brent was at the hospital ahead of the truck that transported Braeden from the race site to the ER. He watched them wheel him in. (Still today, i thank God for keeping me home. He knew seeing my boy bloody and broken might do me in. He gave me time to process and prepare.) Brent watched them bring Braeden in; i still wonder what that did to him…how did it change him?
Hours later, i arrived in Burnett to help Brent drive our boy home to begin the journey toward healing. We had NO idea what was ahead of us. You could’ve NEVER found enough words to explain what the next year would contain for our family. Never.
There were the physical challenges: fractured cheekbone and elbow, broken nose, 20ish stitches to put his lip back together, and the spiral fracture of the humerus bone – a bone broken into 3 jagged shards that miraculously didnt emerge thru the skin as a compound fracture (more on that in another blog). But then, there are a million less obvious physical challenges…the ones that are hard to see coming: eating, drinking, brushing teeth, putting on shirts, washing hair, driving–all w/no dominate arm. Returning to dorm life: navigating bunkbeds, dorm showers, 3 weeks of makeup work, transportation, typing, taking notes, catching up. This list was exhausting and overwhelming. Then, the medical path (we’re still on): 1st surgery to install 7” titanium plate and 25ish screws, 2nd surgery to remove broken plate and discover bone infection, 7-week PICC line treatment, weekly PICC line appts, withdrawal from BU for spring semester, 3rd surgery to repair detached triceps, countless appointments, hospital stays, braces, splints, slings, and of course, stacks of medical bills.
Then, the unseen emotional/mental/spiritual challenges: the “Why?”s that feel unanswered, the seemingly endless setbacks, the uncertainty of the future, the limitations, the needs, the experiences missed out on, the loss, the pain, the challenge of maintaining hope/purpose in every deep, dark part.
10/8. A year later.
Looking back…its still too fresh to not feel aching in my chest as i remember. Will i ever not ache when i think of it all? Today, i’m on that same porch preparing to teach Ephesians 4 to some awesome ladies this week. As i work thru Ephesians 4:28, i see a pattern emerge…i suspect He wants me to see it in light of today, 10/8, as well.
“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need…”
Do you see what i see? Let no. But rather. So that. Today, that was for me. A reminder…i never had a chance to control the circumstances of Braeden’s suffering…of fear, of pain, of struggle. But, instead of letting it drown me, i have a choice. i can surrender it all…not with ease, but with intention. I can “but rather” this lot He’s allowed. Hmmm. If i “but rather” then maybe, just maybe, He’ll give me the “so that”s.
Let no fear/struggle/sadness/pain/uncertainty control what’s next
But rather trust Him with the outcome, lean on Him when u cant see hope, and thank Him for whatever u can—even when its hard
So that He can use our story to bring hope/love/trust to someone else…and then, maybe it’ll be worth it
Today, Braeden is back at BU…in class this morning and likely, later today, he’ll be on a stationary bike getting in miles as he continues the COMEBACK. His goal? To be back racing the Leadville 100 in August. His goal? Not just to finish, but to earn the big buckle (that is, a sub-9 hour finished on the highest mountain bike race course in North America). A year later. i’m flooded with this thought: More wrecks will come in this life…figuratively and literally. But God is still good. That fact, is unchangeable.