Sunday, March 30, 2008

Clarification

Hi, I just had a thought that maybe my readers would assume that Emily's injury has been what has made me start questioning. I just wanted to say that isn't he case. Her injury may have emboldened me to finally share these thoughts I've been having, but they didn't cause me to have them. I do not feel like my family has experienced terrible grief. I mean we have experienced some setbacks. Zachary went through the ACL surgery and continued to play ball afterwards, but he was never able to achieve the greatness that he enjoyed on the court before the accident. Of course, our finances took a devastating blow then, so I am concerned about how Em's surgery will take its financial toll on us, coupled with Zachary's entrance into a $28,000 a year university. My husband's business burned down about 8 years ago (no insurance), but that turned out to be a relief, not a hardship. He was able to slow down and become a father instead of a workaholic. We've even lost loved ones and continued to plod along.

I am upset by Emily's injury, but I know it's not the end of the world for her. She will most likely come through this a stronger person. I know she has a lot of growing up to do. Somewhere within each of us, we have a well of strength that we don't know is there until we must send down the bucket to draw it forth.

Zachary actually is the one who got me to thinking more about my doubts. His former AG teacher, who just retired this past year, died the week after Emily's accident. His death struck Zachary hard. He just didn't understand why someone like Lee who had worked his whole life and was just able to live for himself would have it all taken from him or why Emily, whom he deems is an innocent victim, would have her whole life upended. You see, most of us can't even fathom how horrible this injury is.

Sure, there are worse things to experience, so in the scheme of things it's not that bad; however, it is not an easy path, by any means. The pain is pretty strong after the surgery. Physical therapy requires much determination and the gritting of teeth to get through it. Chances are the mental picture of what's happened to you will always be in your mind if you return to sports, suggesting to you that maybe you shouldn't run quite as hard or push yourself like you did; after all, you don't want to go through that again. Statistics tell us that girls who tear one ACL are extremely likely to tear the other. But, I think the thing that bothers Zachary the most about it all is the thought that his little sister will most likely take a back seat to those in her class as they surpass her in skill and agility.

Before his surgery, he AVERAGED 30 points a game. He dominated the court every time he stepped onto the floor on both ends. After his surgery, he was so determined to play again that he pushed himself at therapy. His therapists were very impressed with his will power and dedication. In fact, he was released early due to his hard work. He didn't get to play at the start of the season, but he came to every practice before season and was released to participate a week or two after their first game. By that time, however, the coach already had his players picked and Zachary was just an afterthought, thrown in when the coach thought about it. He was considered a risk. Everyone lost faith in him, fearing that he couldn't keep up.

It was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to watch. Here was this young man who did everything right. He did what the doctor required and went the extra mile to ensure his recovery, but then he wasn't allowed to return to his former level. It would have been one thing had he not worked so hard, but it wasn't his fault. He put his all into it. After that first year, his determination make have taken a hit, but he had parents who encouraged and supported him to be strong and have faith that hard work would pay off. The coaches never looked at him the same. He was never given the chance to prove that he could do it. Yet, he stuck with it throughout his entire high school career, never giving in, but the pain and frustration was difficult to bear.

He can't bear to imagine Emily going through what he did. And, frankly, I don't know whether to push Emily to work like Zachary did. What good did his hard work do for him? I know it helped shape his character, and that's the most important outcome of any experience we have; yet, it also taught him that life is not fair and that in certain circumstances we are not the masters of our own fate. I think that's the toughest lesson is realizing that we can't control certain aspects of our lives. I had always firmly believed that hard work would be repaid with positive results. I guess I was wrong.

Maybe that's what has made me question God. Not the fact that this happened to my children, but the fact that my childhood belief system was incorrect. I have believed in God my entire life, never questioning, so perhaps that belief system was incorrect, too.

After Lee's death, Zachary confided in us that he was having trouble seeing the reason in life. He felt that it was all meaningless. In 100 years, who will care that he is Valedictorian of his senior class? What will all his struggles amount to? Why does God allow us to continue in suffering? Why not just take us all home to Heaven? What is his purpose in letting evil rule the world? I quickly regurgitated all the answers I'd been told all my life, hoping that he wouldn't have to experience the horror of lost faith. For it has served me well my whole life, compelling me forward when I wanted to stop. I don't want him to go through what I'm going through now.

He seems to be okay now, but I'm not so easy to convince. I feel like maybe it's wrong for me to expose these ideas of mine. I don't want to be responsible for causing anyone to doubt. I feel so bad because Juanita said that her heart ached for my loss of faith. I didn't mean to cause anyone pain. I just need to get all this out. I've kept it in for so long. I know that writing can help you see things more clearly. I'm hoping that's what this does for me.

So, to anyone I've offended with these posts, I humbly apologize. I hope that you will forgive me and continue to pray for me. I still pray. I still read my Bible. I haven't let go, yet. I'm still holding on.

1 comment:

Juanita said...

Don't feel bad for me, Kim. I feel your pain, but think of it as sharing a pain.

Keep an eye on Zachary, okay?