Saturday, February 12, 2011

Developing Strength of Character

I was just finishing up a fun dance warm-up I choreographed for my group strength class. We were sweating, having fun, warmed up and ready to get into it. In walks Dawn, the fitness desk employee and the beginning of a very stressful time for my family...

"So sorry to tell you this, Anne, but your husband just called and said he is taking your daughter to the ER. You need to leave. I'll take care of the class." A numbing anxiety swept through my body--on autopilot I gathered my things, apologized to 40+ sympathetic faces and left. As I was going out the door my friend asked "Is it Ava?" I nodded "Yeah, it's Ava." But Dawn said "your daughter" she didn't say Ava, but without hesitation I said yes...I just knew.

At the ER I choked back tears with deliberate deep through my nose out through my mouth. It will be ok. Ava's 40 lb body has been through so much the past few months. "She is a strong, healthy girl--she'll be fine." I was telling myself but is she a strong healthy girl? She has strep, everybody gets strep. But her relentless 105 fever is taking over her body--dragging this 5 year old away from movie night (she picked "Despicable Me")and into some pretty intense seizures. Her seizures are familiar now. I know how they go, I know what to expect...she's sits upright, moving her legs like she wants to get up and stand but never actually does just moves her legs like that over and over and over again. She makes desperate eye contact that says "help me, Mom. Please, help me" but she has no control over her mouth. She can't talk. That's how they start. I hold her. I make eye contact "Ava you are ok, love. This will be over. You are going to be fine, sweetheart." She looks at me with intense fear in her eyes. My niece Patty looked at me that way when we were at the beach together, years ago, and a wave crashed over her little body. Her giant brown eyes were terror struck--I scooped her up and made her safe again. But I have no way to help Ava. I can't make her better. So I fake a calm, soothing voice--try to be a soft, warm place of comfort for her tired body. The fear fades away from her eyes as she loses consciousness and her body tenses in a tight hard ball and then jerks hard...legs kicking crazy, her little heart races, and she wets herself. Then the violent movements give way to small twitches and then she is sound asleep. That's when I just hold her close and cry. This gets too big for me at times.

Romans 3:5 "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment."

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