Monday, October 08, 2007

Thanksgiving



Usually Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the changing season, a time to celebrate with family & friends, the food, and of course the chance to reflect on God's many blessings. This was a bit of a tough weekend however, even though my sisters were out from Saskatchewan to visit us. They were a wonderful distraction, but Doug and I really struggled with thankfulness in light of everything that's happened. It's hard to be in a season of life where every joyful moment is somehow tainted by overwhelming sadness and heartache. I visited Nate's grave for the first time today. What a day.

I'm sure many of you are wondering about my shoulder and many other ailments. About 2 weeks ago I visited an orthopedic surgeon who told me I would definitely be needing more surgery on my shoulder. The X-rays he saw led him to believe that it was dislocated with several broken bones. He ordered a CT scan, which I had the following day, and then this past week I went in to see him. Surprisingly, he told me that my shoulder was no longer dislocated! Also, many of the bones that were fractured had already healed-- only one fracture has yet to heal. A miracle. That's the only explanation I can come up with. Prayers are being answered.

I know I should be happy about this-- and don't get me wrong-- I'm so relieved that I won't be needing surgery anytime soon. However, out of all the doctors I've seen this guy was the most realistic with me. He told me that I may never be able to raise my right arm above shoulder height ever again. All I could think about was how different life is going to look. No more volleyball, basketball, playing squash with Doug. I won't be able to throw a ball or play catch with Caleb. As I had thought about the possibility of having more surgery done on my shoulder before meeting with the doctor, I had the hope that they would be able to fix it to look a bit more like a normal shoulder. Now I just feel like I'm going to have to settle with what I've got right now. It's hard to look in the mirror and see how disfigured I look. In some ways I was okay with surgery because I thought they would be able to fix it-- it's appearance, and it's mobility. Now I just feel like my shoulder is the best it's going to be. So it's back to physio for me.

This Thanksgiving and over the past few weeks I've heard this line a few times: "Things could have been a lot worse. Be thankful that (fill in the blank) didn't happen." I know that people mean well when they say that, and I myself often think about what could have happened and thank God that it didn't, but honestly, I hate that line of reasoning. It downplays this experience and makes me feel like somehow I shouldn't be feeling so upset about Nate's death and frustrated by my injuries. In all honesty, life feels pretty terrible. I can't forget about what's going on in my life at this moment and be grateful about everything. What I have learned lately, is that God can accept me as I am right now. Sometimes, all I can do is say His name and breathe a "thank-you" as I hold Caleb, and that's okay. It's a strange place to be in and a difficult road to walk, but this weekend I learned that suffering and thankfulness are not mutally exclusive. They can coexist with one another. Here's how:

Caleb and his Auntie Trish.

Hanging out with Auntie Angie.

Out for a fun dinner at the Mongolie Grill.

Getting sleepy in the car on our shopping trip in Vancouver.

20 comments:

gord and janice said...

Tears fall as I read this post Elissa. I know that the thankfulness for what we have does not diminish the pain and anger over what we have lost. We serve a very real God. A God who at a pivitol point didn't say "Thank you Lord for the opportunity to show them love", but "Why have you forsaken me". I think God wants us to work through and beat at our anger and disappointments with Him and not just roll over and say "all for the best" when we know it's not all for the best. Or at least that's what we feel. Our God has a real love for us, He doesn't want lies of "I'm okay". But He does want to reach out and comfort us and heal us and get us to the place where "I'm okay" is true and just the beginning to a road of peace. Praying for healing in every way as you wait on the Lord.

Vanessa said...

Thanks for sharing what's been going on. I agree it's always hard to hear what some people say.. you know they mean well, but it's not at all what is applicable to you in that moment. I appreciate your honesty and your realness in being at a place where life sucks. I am praying continually for you guys as you embrace the joys along with the suffering and God is in both those places. Love you guys and praying for you.

Trev & Rebekah said...

One thing I've learned over the last few years as many loved ones have died or become sick with cancer is that I can be real with my anger and God accepts that about me and those feelings I feel. It's okay if I don't feel super close to him and if I have questions about things that have taken place. Yet I have also seen that God is faithful and not a vengeful God. Though I don't understand His ways, perhaps it's okay that I don't. I want you to know that it's okay to be in the place you are at. To wonder what the future will hold with your shoulder and to be saddened my the loss of Nate. It's okay to feel like all you have within you is a prayer of thankfulness for certain things and to not feel like you have hours a day to spend and soak with Jesus. That's a whole different concept once you are a mom too. We think of you and your family often and will keep praying.
Caleb is getting bigger. What a cutie. It gets fun once they start smiling, laughing and sitting. Keep enjoying each moment you have with your son and husband.

Karen said...

Thanks for your honesty Elissa. How difficult to wrestle with such raw and conflicting feelings - I have no idea what that must be like. Your words and experiences are such a teaching tool, for me and many others, I'm sure. Thank you for your willingness to share your deepest thoughts.
Praying for peace.

Tim and Kelsie-Lynn said...

Elissa tears fill my eyes as I have read and reread your post serveral times today. I wish that I could use words to take a way even a bit of the pain you feel everyday both phyiscally and emotionally. But I can't, all I can do is pray. So I will, I am and I will not stop. You have been on my heart so often. It is my commitment to you, Doug and Caleb that I will pray every single time that God lays you on my heart. Personally I think its totally okay for you to be where you are at. God understands. His love can handle it. We are praying for strength and endurance for you each day and we are praying for healing.

Michelle said...

Continued prayers for your shoulder and praise God that he's answered some already!! You have every right to be angry/frustrated with what's happened and it's hard to see the positive in a situation like this. But as I'm studying Max Lucado's Experiencing the Heart of Jesus, I've come to realize that we're not to be comfortable here on earth...this will bring us to a longing of Heaven. Not to say that we can't be happy here, but our happiness is only temporary and we will only be truly happy/satisfied/healed when we're standing in HIS glrory. We are aliens in this world. I don't know if this helps anything but I've been really trying to cling to this when things in life SUCKS. This life is only temporary and long for the day when life is perfect! Praying for you always!

Bonnie said...

You are beautiful Elissa. Thank you for sharing your heart. I continue to pray for you... my heart just aches for you on every level. You're never far from my thoughts friend. You are loved.

Adrienne said...

Hey Elissa!
thanks so much for sharing, I will definitely be praying for you! I remember once reading how there are times in our life when we are soaring and life is good, and times when we are running -not bad and we can run comfortably through life, and times when all we can do is walk putting one foot in front of the other. And then there are seasons when all we can do is stand because we don't have the strength to even walk. And all we need to do is stand because God will always meet us where we are at! Hang in there! Know that I am praying!
Adrienne

stuart&elisa said...

We love you guys so much and pray for you every day that God's peace will come over you. We can't wait to come home to see you again, it feels like such a long time since our "date day"! We're coming home tomorrow, so talk to you soon! We love you!

Leanne said...

What a difficult journey to walk. How difficult it must be to face a new reality - with injuries, with the grief, the fear. "Suffering and thankfulness can coexist." What a brave statement, what a hard lesson to learn. And as you hold that precious baby close, as you breathe your small whisper of thankfulness, God is weeping with you. As you are in the dry river bed, unable to even kneel, barely able to groan, He is holding you, holding Caleb, holding Doug. Loving all of you with an even stronger love than you have for each other. Knowing about your disappointments and anger and blessing you for being real and honest. Offering hope and healing. When you're ready.

Mac & Melissa Davis said...

Hi Elissa
Thank you for posting and keeping us all up to date on how you are doing inside and out! I am so thankful for your honesty, and wish there was some way i could take away some of your pain. My prayers continue to be with you and your family everytime i think of you!

Janelle said...

i agree with you Elissa. it's so easy to say "it could have been worse"...but when you are living through it, and having to deal with the emotional & physical scars...what you are dealing with right now feels like the worst it could possibly be.
you are being so honest with yourself, and i think that's the best thing you can be doing. as i "grieve" in my own way about things that are going on in my life (that feel SO small compared to yours), i keep telling myself that it's ok to hurt, cry, and especially be angry. not a fun place to be, but one that will eventually bring healing.
i'm the kind of person that wants to know the reason WHY all of the time...and i get so confused when God doesn't give it to me. but it's through the path of figuring it out for myself that i grow...and that i learn, and RE-learn to trust in Him and in His path for my life.
you have a precious baby boy there that has 2 amazing parents who i am so very proud of.
may you continue to see God's faithfulness in your lives Elissa, even though sometimes there are storms that block the view.
lots of love....

Yvonne&Eric said...

"It could have been worse" I hate that line too. Well-meaning people should find something else to say I think(half-smiles)
Praying for you so much Elissa & Doug. I'm thankful that you have Caleb to bring you moments of joy and to breath those thank-you's. I'm praying that physio will help your shoulder to have a wider range of mobility. Caleb is such a cutie - thanks for the pictures:)

Kirsten said...

Good words Elissa. Praying for you guys. Glad you had some sibling time this week-end. And I just love Caleb's sleepy look.

Charlotte said...

Caleb is such a handsome little guy! Thinking and praying for you :)

Bonnie Hughes said...

Your baby is precious and your family is continually in my prayers.

Sarah said...

Thank you for sharing once again. I will pray specifically for your shoulder's recovery. Your baby is VERY handsome! Blessings to you and your hubby.
Sarah Goerzen (Rosanna's friend)

Nichole said...

You have a beautiful son! Praying that our heavenly Father continues to wrap you up in his love and grace.
Nichole

Courtney and Jon said...

thank you for sharing your heart. I appreciated your openness. I was challenged by what you wrote.
I pray you have a good week.

Dianne said...

Elissa,
you have been laid heavy on my heart these last few months. I just want you to know that I am often thinking of you and your family and lifting you up in prayer. Your son is beautiful! When I see his picture, I can't help but smile and I can only imagine the joy that he has brought you already!
Praying that you will find rest, comfort and unfailing love in your Fathers embrace today.

Dianne (Bueckert) van Kuik