It’s a quiet Saturday afternoon. The clouds hide the sunshine, the neighborhood sounds are void of laughing children or lawn mowers. It is still, yet in the distance, a siren haunts the air, heavy with emergency, ominous and foreboding.
I find myself alone. My husband and son are off on a Boy Scouts campout, and my daughter is at work. The only company I keep is with this keyboard and my thoughts.
They drift to sunny California, the home of my birthplace, and the place where I discovered who Jesus was at a church called the Vineyard. I learned to see God differently there, as one who desires to connect personally with his created beings. I learned what it was like to have a spiritual family. I gained friends who became lifelong.
It’s been over a quarter of a century since that time. I no longer live where it’s warm year-round and the beaches are fantastic. We moved to the Midwest to raise our family. My daughter was not yet two when we left. Now she’s entering her senior year in high school. It’s always a shock to every parent how fast kids grow up.
A dear friend of mine was pregnant with her son at the same time I was, and gave birth just four months ahead of me. When it was my turn, she was there in the room with me, coaching me through those labor pains. We nursed together, laughed together at our “changed” bodies, and supported each other. Then I moved away.
We kept in touch over the years, but like every family, we got busy. We managed to visit a few times and always sent Christmas cards. Then Facebook came on the scene and it became much easier to stay in touch with the day-to-day activities of our lives.
One day, my friend called me to say her husband had left. He left at a time when she was recovering from a medical procedure and could not function without help. Little did I know, this was not unusual. She began unraveling this awful story of their dysfunctional marriage since I left, and I found myself stunned. I would have never thought these two would end up considering divorce. We used to do a marriage fellowship group together. It was unthinkable!
As Christians, we knew divorce isn’t God’s will. My friend struggled with what to do, but in the end, her two boys became her focused. What was best for them? They needed stability. Their dad didn’t give them that, and the courts agreed. Full guardianship was awarded to my friend.
The battle began. Over money, over time, over how to raise the boys, over what the kids were subject to, over which church to attend, over just about every possible thing you can image. The boys were pulled in both directions, as children of divorce usually are. Who do they side with? Do they even take sides? No child wants to choose between parents. The oldest was more affected because his dad treated him like a buddy. Dad became best friend, and son became pal.
Then this comforting son got sick. It was just a sinus infection, but it didn’t go away. He was sick for months, and doctors misdiagnosed him. One day, he got so sick he passed out, and his mom rushed him to the hospital. Shocked beyond belief, they discovered he was in heart failure. Heart failure! This boy was only 17 years old. How could this be?
The local hospital could not treat him, and he was sent to the UCLA Medical Center for further treatment and diagnosis. Turns out that virus had destroyed most of his heart, and it was only partially functioning. This young man needed a heart transplant! A kid who had a huge heart to everyone he met needed a new one? This was a living nightmare.
Part 2 of “A Still, Sad Saturday” will continue in the next blog…