Tuesday, October 8, 2013

what we shared at the swings :: katie's story

We pushed their little bodies back up into the air each time they returned to us.  
back and forth
back and forth

Our conversation moved that way too.  
Surrounded by slides and swings and laughing children we fell into the easy conversation that mothers share.  I hadn't seen Katie since the end of last school year so there were plenty of topics to fill the space between us.

Suddenly a benign conversation about Vacation Bible School was interrupted by her offer...
to share a story.


Something crazy happened that last day.

In a breath we moved from a casual exchange of information to words that really mattered.
It was as if my friend began carefully unfolding a giant picture and we hunched over it tracing our fingers along the lines and connections and hidden truths.

I love it when that happens.
I love it when we share our stories.

Carson, Katie's 3 year old son, has always been an early riser...sometimes even up at the {gasp} 5:00 hour!  All tired mamas know that this can be bothersome.  Until this past summer Katie really wished he would just sleep in like other kids.

Now she sees her little early bird as a gift that saved her life.

Funny how our perspective can change in an instant.

It was the last day of VBS and since Katie was serving on the volunteer team she got up early to get herself ready and hopefully have some quiet time before little feet hit the floor.  After a shower she stood in the bathroom and took her morning vitamin.  But instead of just swallowing and going about the rest of her regular routine...everything stopped.

Doctors believe that somehow taking the vitamin that morning triggered Katie's vagus nerve causing her heart rate to drop.  She passed out and most likely hit her head on the way down.  She was completely unconscious for at least five minutes before her early riser came calling.

After being found on the bathroom floor, Katie's husband called 9-1-1 and began performing CPR.  Katie was unresponsive.  In a panic, he rushed over to get their neighbor who is a nurse.  It would be 15 minutes before Katie regained consciousness.

I bet it seemed like an eternity to her husband.

I cried thinking about what it must have felt like for him to see his beloved lying limp on the floor and wondering if she would ever open her eyes to him again.  He thought she was gone.

At first all Katie could do was lift her heavy eyelids.  She was unable to talk or move.  Then she began to cry.

Those gathered around Katie had been brought to the brink of devastation that morning but Katie had been on a journey of her own.  Although the details are fuzzy, my friend told me with tears in her eyes that she fought her way back.  She remembers being in what seemed like a tunnel that led her further and further away from that bathroom, from that house, from that life.  She had to claw her way back to them.

In response to all of this Katie wrote these words...
I'm thankful for a wonderful husband who thinks quickly in an emergency.  
I'm thankful to God for the chance to wake up on a normal Friday morning and snuggle with my boys.  I'm thankful to have the assurance of my salvation knowing that if one day I did not wake up I would spend eternity in heaven.

When something precious nearly slips through your fingers you gaze with a heart full of thanks once you grab hold of it again.

Over a month had passed when Katie relayed the details of this story to me on the playground.  But, judging by the emotion in her voice and the conviction with which she spoke, the significance will never be lost on her.

When I asked Katie if I could share her story with you she wanted me to be sure and tell you something...
This situation has not made me 'holier than thou'.  
I still struggle with anger and impatience towards my kids.  
I still have days that it would be nice to stay in bed.  
I still have selfish desires.  
However...
this episode is part of my journey - a journey of sanctification.  
It's part of the way God is teaching me who He is and who I am in Him.  
One thing I learned is to stop complaining and grumbling.  
I used to secretly be so annoyed when other moms would talk about having to wake up their children at 8am.  Well, Carson is the one who woke up and called out for Daddy that scary morning.  Who knows how long I would have laid unconscious on that bathroom floor or if I'd even be alive without my early bird chirping!  So now I can say, "Praise God for blessing me with a child who wakes up early! And praise God that I am here to wish him good morning!"

So often the things that we complain about are the very things that represent our blessings.  
I am thankful for Katie's story...and thankful she is here to share it with us.