Sunday, January 31, 2010

Is It Just Me?....

Is it just me, or does it actually seem like '18 is the new 14'?

We were out for a lovely dinner with friends the other night, parents all, and bouncing a few things back and forth. We reached consensus that many 18 year-olds these days (not to mention any names) seem decidedly less mature than, say, when we were 18. Why is that? It seems like too many 18-year-olds act and have expectations that more closely approximate the high school freshman of yore...

A few years back I saw a few articles explaining the new (and, in my book, unwelcome)social phenomenon of 'adultelescence.' These are the (disaffecte?) lot that qualify as legal adults chronologically, but not in terms of self-concept, sense or responsibility, independence, or much of anything else. This doesn't seem like such a good thing....

More later, as the Percolator perks on this...

Of Cost and Value

Bon nuit...

No Cecilyisms or amusing photos today...just a brief thought...well, actually, an old thought "comin' around again" [mentally insert Carly Simon song as audiotrack].

Many years ago, I listened and understood as someone explained that: one of the ways value is acknowledged and/or imputed to someone or something is when retribution is required. In other words, something is intrinsically valuable, but we live in a fallen world and that value may not be universally recognized. Thus, when the Thing of Value is compromised, damaged, or destroyed, justice requires that a penalty be levied.

This is the principle at stake when capital sentences are handed down; in a murder case, a human life was forfeited by human means; and one of the ways its value is confirmed and the evil of the deed confirmed is by the requirement that the debt be paid...either by 'a life for a life', or a protracted incarceration. [In fact, I am no etymologist but I can't help but wonder whether the 'car' part of incarceration is derived from a Latin root meaning 'flesh'; as in 'incarnation'--which, as we know, means to take on earthly form or flesh; or 'incarnadine' -- which refers to the color of flesh...OK, I digress.]

Obviously, Christ's redemption of us hangs on the truth of this principle and the fact that God required a penalty for our sin.

Additionally, of course, there is the undeniable and desirable deterrent factor attached to penalties: doing this bad thing leads to that unwelcome consequence.

BUT, here is my point. And I am sure it neither original nor profound; the thought occurs that this same principle of value being tied to cost is true in other contexts, as well.

Let's take that elusive commodity: Trust. Many's the parent who has listened as the errant teenager whines "don't you trust me?" Such a question assumes that trust is an entitlement. And who would dare to rescind it? Until, that is, their own trust is betrayed by someone else. And many are the times this parent has had to flip on the MomVoice Recorder and explain...'no, I no longer trust you with X because of the way you betrayed that trust by doing Y. No, it's not an automatic 'reload.' You have to EARN my trust back.'

Earn? Like in, having to exert oneself in order to secure something of value? Now you're catching on...

And, I think, the converse is true, or at least in a way I hadn't thought of before. If you just dole out trust willy-nilly, regardless of the context of characterization of the 'trustee', you cheapen it...and nullify it. Maybe it isn't even trust at all...maybe what you're extending is mere license...and that is a very different thing...

I'm thinking trust can't really be trust if it is not valued by the 'truster'. In fact, it seems axiomatic...if someone wants your trust, they must consider it of some value, or they wouldn't want it in the first place...

Lesson: Appreciate the value of the trust you accord to others, and the trust they extend to you. Otherwise, you may find yourself feeling like the hapless pearl owner who cast his treasure before swine...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Strumming Cee

Cecily discovers Uncle Bryan's guitar...

Perhaps I Spoke Too Quickly...

....not that THAT ever happens....

Anyway, a few days ago, I posted a sort of mini-rant about how the mass media worldview seems to change a bit when an 'act of God'-scale disaster strikes; like the Haitian earthquake; and I think I said something about betting no help would be coming from certain quarters, such as North Korea. My long-held supposition is that, for generations, people have tried to get into 'free' countries, such as the US, while in contrast, no one tries to bust into totalitarian states....or, so I thought.

Here's a headline from today: Can't remember, but I think this is from or

American Detained in North Korea Seeks Asylum
Saturday, January 30, 2010

Print ShareThisSEOUL, South Korea — An American man detained by North Korea after allegedly entering the communist country illegally has sought asylum and wants to join its military, a news report said Saturday.

South Korea's Dong-a Ilbo newspaper said the man crossed into North Korea from China on Monday.

It said an unidentified source in North Korea told the newspaper the 28-year-old man said he came to the country because he did not "want to become a cannon fodder in the capitalist military," and "wants to serve in the North Korean military" instead.

The National Intelligence Service, South Korea's top spy agency, said it could not immediately confirm the report. The U.S. Embassy in Seoul said it had no such information.

So, I guess one should 'never say never'....there obviously is a back story what this American was doing in China to start with (business?) and whether this is patently true or significantly 'spun'?....

Stay tuned....

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thumb Redux

Ben just finished with today's re-check appointment on his thumb. You may recall, if you read last night's post, that I delegated this little excursion to my Personal Accountant, who reports the following:

Dr. S. unwrapped and checked the thumb. Suspecting it is not sufficiently drained, he opened it up again, which required the same procedure that occurred on Wednesday. So, I'm feeling pretty glad that I was not in the treatment room again with the long-suffering Ben.

However, this time, the doctor did the anesthetizing and, according to Ben, did a Much Better Job than D., the physicians'assistant. Which the doctor apparentlytook some pleasure in reporting to the underappreciated PA. This probably had something to do with the fact that the thumb had already been lanced for the first time already.

I am still suspecting that the bouncing blood sugars may have something to do with this not clearing up as quickly as we had will probably make another call inquiring about that.

In the meantime, Cecily and I are working on drawing 'tres gatos' (3 cats), 'siete osos'(7 bears), and 'dos vacas' (2 cows)....for Spanish homework....which is WAY more fun than being John and having to convert fractions to decimals to percentages for no good earthly reason!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Telephone Game

Bon Soir-

Here's an echo from childhood....remember the old 'telephone game?' Of course, you do. I'm sure it's still in vogue, but perhaps played via electronic media somehow. The idea is that you begin a message at one end of a line comprised of several people...most often, in my experience, giggling little girls at birthday parties...this was before cell-phones, iPads, etc. The message is passed from one set of ears and lips to the next until the end of the line is reached. Then comes The Proof of the Pudding...which virtually always means The Proof that most messages do not come out the other end without having undergone significant distortion...and, hopefully, this is/was a source of harmless amusement.

Last night I found myself at the end of a telephone game...the phone rang, I answered, and found myself talking to one of our dear church pastors. He was between meetings but wanted to see how we were doing and whether we had been inundated with phone calls....parDON?

"Well, I understood that Ben had just been released from the hospital."

Um, that was true a little over a year ago...but not today...or even yesterday...

Somehow a well-intended but inaccurate message had morphed...that Ben had been hospitalized again and had an abscess on the back of his knee, precipitating surgery and concern. Fortunately, reality as it relates to Ben's health has been so much less harrowing this time!

I felt badly that anyone should be concerned and misinformed...but it was very warming to be cared about and called.

Update: Ben's thumb is sore but mending. He, for some reason unknown to me, has been laudably persisting in his peroxide soaks and glucochecks. Thus far the blood sugar readings have been reasonable (103 earlier today), but just now it was 195, and he is supposed to inject .5 unit of Humalog for every 50 points over 150...this stuff gets tricky.

Most of the thumb is looking better, but there is still an "angry" looking area.

Best News: I do not have to take him for his follow-up appt. tomorrow...I've delegated that fun little errand to My Personal Accountant...of course, it probably won't be quite as exciting without any long needles or syringes...I guess I was just
'lucky' to pull that duty on Wednesday...

Fashion News: Ben's Coach has come up with an idea for a new T-shirt...inspired by would say..."I Am the $ Million Kid....just ask my parents..." This is probably not quite so far-fetched as it sounds if we add up all of Ben's medical costs from the past 15 months...but, why go there?

* * * * * * * *

Queen Cee and Her Gentlemen-in-Waiting...

Don't even bother shaking your head. It was bound to happen.

Today we went on a field trip to LegoLand in Schaumburg, IL. It was kind of a kick, offering more than the obligatory "gift shop" and Technicyle Ride. There was actually a learning component, as well. This was entitled, "Tall Towers Training" and consisted of a friendly, competent young man engaging the students in a question-discussion about basic building concepts....structure, balance, interlocking reinforcement, etc. This included team challenges...groups of four or five students, provided with a Tub of Legos and the assignment of building towers that were meant to withstand an 'earthquake test' [how's that for timely?] which was approximated by a vibrating platform.

Here a team, there a team, everywhere a team-team....except over there in the corner, the so-called Green Team. Unlike all the other groups, there were only 3 junior architects on this job. And one was clearly in charge. Her Gentleman-Servants were (I'm not making this up) Cayden and Hayden. Yes. The same good-sport Hayden who was seen last year at the school program being navigated around the gymnasium by Queen Cee's hand planted firmly on top of his head.

I exchanged knowing glances with Hayden's Very Good-Natured Mom: "I'll try to watch and make sure she doesn't try that again," I promised.

"Well," she smiled, "we'll see."

The Queen is nothing if not entertaining.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Percolator Interviews...

... Ben Holliday, Thumb Patient.

Editor: Thank you for sharing your time with us once more, Ben. We realize how busy you are and so we don’t take this for granted.

Ben: Well, that’s true. But, we do what we need to do for The People.

Ed. Ah-hah. Well, I couldn’t help but notice when you sat down that your left thumb seems to have been replaced by a hard-boiled egg masquerading in a nylon stocking. Dare I ask if you are pioneering a new, cutting-edge fashion here?

Ben: Oh, you are SO droll. It would be amusing, but improbable, for me to have that kind of discretionary time and energy! No, no, I’m afraid this is not really quite such a jolly little diversion as that.

Ed.: Oh, I’m sorry. What happened?

Ben: What, indeed? It remains a mystery, don’t you know?

Ed. No, I don’t know…that’s why I’m asking….

Ben: All right, I see the lilting, jocular atmosphere here has abruptly dissipated. I somehow developed a honking large, ugly, red and very painfully throbbing infection in my left thumb. My thumb didn’t even know itself anymore. It was even making it hard for me to sleep…

Ed. How dare it?

Ben: Infections have no sense of propriety or proportion anymore. Ours is a coarse society. But, I digress.

Ed. I understand this has been ‘cooking’ for a good week and a half already and that you are finishing a second course of antibiotics…

Ben: True, and true. If only they had punch cards for every time you go to the walk-in clinic or primary doctor….you know, good for free vats of chocolate milk or something charming like that…

Ed.: But at the moment, you have an egg on your thumb.

Ben: (sigh) – It is not literally an egg. It is a multi-layered sculpture of colorful organic material (encoded with my own DNA), Betadyne, antiseptic ointment-saturated dressings, and several miles of cotton gauze, overlaid with this stretchy beigey stuff. I really don’t think this look would work for you…just sayin.’

Ed. (pretending to be crestfallen): You have a unique gift for improbable fashion statements.

Ben: Quite.

Ed. Without betraying any trade secrets, how did you arrive at this new look?

Ben: Well, it all took place in a little treatment room at Rockford Orthopedic Associates, just down the hall from where I used to meet with Dr. Green Bay to do follow up on my right knee after it was laid open last December (08). As my thumb became abscessed and was not responding quickly to the (did I mention, expensive?) antibiotics, Dr. B decided yesterday that I needed to have it surgically drained. Which is his silly little way of saying, ‘ having your finger sliced open and making a mess.’

Ed. Eeeewww.

Ben: Indeed.

Ed. Is there any truth to the whispered murmurings we’ve heard that exclamations and even an expletive were heard from your treatment room?

Ben: Well, I never!!!! Heh-heh. Okay, I’ll come clean. That needle was a long sucker…longer than the syringe. D., the physician’s assistant ‘shot’ straight with me (pun intended) when I asked him if it would hurt, but he’s still guilty of understatement. I mean, I was amazed not to see that thing coming out the other side of my hand.

Ed.: But this was just necessary to numb the area, correct?

Ben: That’s what they all say. It’s a racket. I think actually it’s an enhanced interrogation tactic from the CIA that they’ve adapted for trusting patients. They torment you so much with the anesthetic injection that nothing they do afterward will make you bat an eye. Anyway, I am quite sure that any display I made did not exceed the mortification elicited in my long-suffering mom at my fifth-grade school physical...but that’s another story for another time...perhaps another epoch...

Ed: Well, to conclude, was this an effective enterprise today?

Ben: One can only hope. A disgusting amount of ‘material’ was ‘expressed’ out of little Thumbkin here, and it no longer throbs. Now comes the At-Home Therapy!

Ed: Gracious! What does this entail?

Ben: Well, for one thing *twinkle* a shot glass…

Ed. ParDON?

Ben: OK, it’s really not that fun. A few times a day I have to dunk my thumb, yes, like a donut, into a shot glass full of a 50-50 water and hydrogen peroxide solution to try to banish the last of these brazen bacteria that had been encapsuled behind my thumb nail. And when THAT’S not enough fun, I get to do more glucochecks, because this silly thing has made my blood sugar readings go up.
About all I can say is that the day was not a total loss: after my ordeal, my maternal chauffeur treated me to Steak-n-Shake. But next time, I’ll just stay healthy and pay my own way…

Thumb Thurgery


Just a quick note to say that I was able to get Ben in to see a hand surgeon this afternoon to get his thumb surgically drained (he actually does not know this yet--I still have to call the school!) This will not be fun, but is necessary, and I am thankful to be able to get him in to a reputable specialist. Please pray for a smooth and uncomplicated procedure and healing. We are going 'out of network' and paying whatever the extra cost may is well worth it, for the peace of mind (an increasingly precious commodity!)

Unfortunately, the Teen Tranquilizer Dart Gun I keep trying to order--which I KNOW would be ever so handy for times like this!!!-- has still not arrived!!!

Many thanks-
Your Faithful Correspondent

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rule of Thumb, Continued...

Please forgive a mini-rant, but at the moment, I think the 'rule of thumb' goes something like this: if you need a good physician, you may rest assured that his or her name will never appear in your new insurance plan network of providers. Just sayin.'

With the proviso that I truly don't know how awful it would be to have no insurance at all, I still find it aggravating that after scouring our new plan's network, most of the in-network physicans classified as surgeons seem to be in places like Downers Grove, Lombard, and for those who prefer to cross state lines, convenient garden spots such as Janesville and Mukwonago!!! None of those work for me.

Why do we need a surgeon? Well, I still hope we don't, but I think we do. This afternoon, Ben called me to pick him up after school because his thumb was really bothering him and he decided to skip track practice. I brought him home, called his primary doctor to ask what I could give him for pain, and they asked us to just come in. Ben was not 'keen' on this idea, and that's an understatement.

Anyway, after a quick look, Dr. B. said it was definitely abscessed and decided that the infected thumb is still too hard to be needle-aspirated and directed us to try and get Ben to a hand surgeon tomorrow to have the thumb drained surgically. Also, not a popular notion. But, I confess that after what we went through last year, I am anxious that we do whatever we can to minimize the possibility of another systemic infection.

So far today, Ben's glucocheck numbers have been below 150, so he hasn't needed to inject any insulin. Of course. That's because I drove across town on icy roads yesterday to get some! I'm thinking it's the 'Wash Your Car to Make It Rain' phenomenon all over again....and I've never had much of an appreciation for that anyway!

So, I'll be 'working the phones' tomorrow and trusting God for His outcomes. Ben's poor thumb (I thought about taking a photo and uploading it, but Ben really, really, really would not appreciate that now) has just been through too much lately!

In Other News, today's Quotable Quote....

"C'mon, c'cmon! Aha! Gotcha! That's five stars for me, punk! Woohoo! Don't even TRY it, punk!"

--Cecily, overheard in the stairway, engrossed in a fevered Mario Brothers battle on her Nintendo DS....and so ladylike, too........

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ben's Rule of Thumb

...or, more precisely, Ben's current experience with a Sore Thumb. Actually, pretty darn sore. As in, infected.

Ben's left thumb has seen some times in its 18 years of duty. As a very little guy, he managed to crush it between a hard floor and a falling wooden table at the home of some now-forgotten playmate. It was a little sore thumb then. Lately, it's been a big sore thumb...the kind that 'sticks out.'

Last Wednesday, Ben let us know that his thumb was hurting him. Having been well conditioned by last year's uninvited acquaintance with overachieving staph bacteria, Bill and I wasted no time in surveying this elfin digit. Eeeewwwww. It was hard, red, warm, and about one and a half times its normal size. I may have imagined it, but I think I felt a cold chill.

Not being remotely medical here, neither of us thought to have him soak it...I always find the warm-cold compress thing confusing anyway. It being evening, the agreed upon plan was for me to take Ben to a walk-in clinic after school the next day. However, the next morning, the thumb was worse...the skin now so stretched that it appeared shiny, and Ben reported significant throbbing pain. So, Bill took him to the clinic right away, while I called in to school to report that Ben would miss first hour. Shortly thereafter, Bill and Ben were cooling their heels at Walgreens, waiting for an Augmentin prescription to be filled before Ben was deposited at school.

Two days later, he went back to the walk-in clinic for a recheck, but things were a little worse, not better. The antibiotic was switched to Bactrim which, I guess is a sulfa drug, not that this means much to me. Again, a trip to Walgreens to get the scrip filled and started before Ben hoisted his trumpet in Band class.

By now, I decided I was not overreacting and asked Bill to take Ben right to Dr. Baptist...and I continue to be thankful for the school mom/friend who is an RN and wisely prompted me to take Ben to Dr. B. when his infected knee went from painful to excruciating in Nov. of 08.

At this past Saturday's follow-up visit to Dr. B., we learned that-although the Bactrim seemed to be starting to arrest the offending organism-the infection still wasn't ready to be drained...which is why we have another follow-up visit for this Wednesday morning.

Now, here were my two main queries...

* How could Ben develop such an infection after having been on continuous antibiotic therapy from Dec. 08 to April 09? Dr. B. said the two situations had nothing to do with each other, and that this infection was "activity based." As in, most likely contracted when Ben went sledding with his buds a couple weekends ago. ParDON? "Those things [sleds at public parks] are covered with bugs." So, now we know. Why Ben was the only one to win the bacteria lotto again, we can only guess...

* Why does this infection seem to have driven up his blood sugar? Again, I must thank a couple dear nurse friends who urged us to have Ben do glucochecks (yeah, that's like getting John to eat broccoli)...because for some reason infections and high blood sugar seem to go together. So, last night, with a modicum of resistance on his part, Ben was prevailed upon to check his blood sugar...239. Sheesh.

So, off I go to call Dr. C's office and ask whether this warrants hunting for the old insulin pen in the someone said, 'it's deja vu all over agin.' Thanks, Yogi.

PS - any info that might help this lay-mom understand this better would be appreciated.

"Did You Ever Wonder?...."

[If you hail from the Previous Century and at all recall a bristly browed, craggy faced Irishman named Andy Rooney on vintage editions of "60 Minutes", transmute the following into his inimitable voice...OK, it's not required.]


* When large-scale catastrophes are visited on mankind, many of the ubiquitous broadcast journalists who bring us wall-to-wall coverage seem to reset their 'worldview default' switch and assure their interviewees, and even the audience at large, that their "prayers" are with the victims?

I certainly don't condemn fact, I appreciate it...but it does seem a bit incongruous with the usual 'take' on anything remotely spiritual. Even if one grants that "spirituality" is very, very broadly defined in our world, it seems seldom to come up in media dialogue apart from something enormous and confounding...things like earthquakes, tsumanis, genocide, plummeting short anything that annoyingly reminds us that we aren't quite Big enough to 'call the tune'....

- Things we can't explain, control, fix, or prevent have an inconveniently consistent way of forcing us to acknowledge, or at least give lip service to, the possibility of something or someone greater than this transient plane we live and die in.

* The notion of "equal" doesn't seem to mean "equal" when diaster strikes? What do I mean? Well, it occurs to me that one of tenets of the well entrenched Received and Correct mass media mindset presumes that all ethical systems, religions, value systems,--what have you-- are equally valid and "true," since any notion of Absolute Truth was sent packing before the century turned.

- Hmmmm...Jesus said 'by their fruits you shall know them.' I may be out in left field here, and if so, I would welcome any factual correction, but I haven't noticed reports of any great influx of humanitarian aid, volunteer teams, etc. from the likes of say, oh, North Korea. Or Iran. Actually, I'm sure there are Muslim disaster responders on the ground in Haiti, but I'm betting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not their president.

- I recall Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addressing the global community twice now at the UN at which times he drew attention to his own Apparently Supernatural Sense of Smell....something about "the devil" [known to others as former President George W. Bush] having been at the same podium previously and leaving behind a stench of "sulfur" in hellfire... This past year, after succeeding President Barack Obama to the same podium, he noted that the sulfuric stench had abated, at least somewhat. I'm just wondering if Mr. Chavez can also detect the stench of rotting corpses in Port-au-Prince...and if so, whether he's doing anything about it...

- I seem to persist in this little convention of capitazling the Occasional Modifying Phrase? I know. Easily crosses the line into Annoying. But, the truth is, I learned it from A.A. Milne back when I was first discovering The House at Pooh Corner, and I just like works for me.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Connecting the Dots, Part II: Tulsa Time

Another installment in the “We Ask But All-Too-Often Forget to Thank” Chronicles, also known as Answers-to-Prayer Nearly Taken For Granted…

After more than 11 months, persevering effort, sometimes wavering confidence, exemplary persistence, and collaborative intercession, Jerry (affectionately known as Uncle Jer to the Hollidayettes) has at last reached the end of his job search.

In His Own timing, God has connected the dots. From Akeley (in the frosty upper reaches of MN…and I secretly think the name Akeley has something to do with ‘bone-aching cold’, Jerry is now moved and getting acclimated to Tulsa, OK. I admit that our smaller selves here at the Circle H Ranch were hoping his new location would be a little closer to the Forest City here, but the Main Thing is settle into God’s choice of destination.

The job seems like a great match, and if the venison hunting may be a bit sketchy, it is—after all- cattle country.

So, we rejoice with Jer on arriving at the next destination, charted by the Master Cartographer! As time permits, we also may soon be checking with to see if there really IS a town in OK called “Owassa”. Really?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2010—somewhat belatedly…
My apologies to anyone who happened to stop by here and found that I’ve been A.W.O.L., so to speak. I have written many posts in my head over the last few weeks, but life’s “dailies”, unforeseen needs, and Other Computer Users in residence have gotten in the way.

I had quit checking to see if anyone logged on here, and then at New Year’s someone asked me if Miss Cee would do a Swiffing Demonstration, and I realized that there may still be a few intrepid souls out there who check in from time to time. So, as time allows, I will try to recount the improbable details of a pre-Christmas trip to Toys R Us (not for the faint of heart!), treacherous journeys northward in blowing snow, and other contemporaneous adventures.

For now, this is a brief [well, in my world, it’s all relative…] post about questions and answers, and how I tend to be woefully slow-on-the-uptake.

This morning I woke up and realized that I’m pretty lousy at ‘connecting the dots.’ I remembered those dot-to-dot books I had when I was a little girl. You know, there are pages of dots interspersed with strange strokes that look like whiskers, a mischievous eye here and there, and as you connect the dots, you find that you’ve drawn Tom (the cat) just as he’s about to pounce on little Jerry. However…

…THOSE dot-to-dots have a distinct advantage: namely, the dots are all numbered. Assuming you know how to count sequentially to 15 or 20, all you need to do is place your trusty #2 pencil point at the first dot, and proceed in numerical order, as the image magically takes shape before your eyes.

In these latter years, I find there are still dots to connect…but no numbers to show you what which dots need to be connected, and in what order, to see God’s current picture of my life. I think this is another of those somewhat annoying instances in which one has to Trust, and wait at each step to see which is the next “dot” to lock your sights on. I could do it so much faster on my own! But, somehow, the picture doesn’t come out right.

As I percolate on this, it seems there are different permutations (aha! Two “per” words in one sentence!) to this phenomenon: (1) there is the Spectator Version, in which you watch someone else quite obviously make an unfathomable mess of it, and there is nothing you can do but cringe. And know that, in spite of it all, God circumscribes the extent of the chaos. It goes without saying that the classic type here involves the parent as Spectator, sadly watching the offspring willfully scribble.

But the second version hits closer to home: (2) the Firsthand Version, in which I hold the pencil, wait all of 3 seconds, and then shamelessly complain to God that He isn’t giving me any direction. And, afterall, I’m here; or as Miss Cee used to proclaim loudly from the changing table when she wasn’t immediately attended to: “I WAITING!!!”

Why the hoo-haw? Is there any reason to think His picture will somehow appear without Him? Well, no. Has He ever not shown up? Actually, no. He may seem to push it a little, as in ‘never late, but seldom early;’ but I’ve never been truly abandoned.

Many years ago, I gleaned from a sermon this tidbit: that when you find yourself in a place of uncertainty, when little waves of panic threaten to lap up against your mental shores, it is helpful to look back. Recall previous moments when you’ve been here before: the fact that you’re here again is itself proof that God has shown up in the past. Is there anything in His character to cause me to doubt Him now? He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. I’m the one who quails. Even at the ultimate moment, when I step forth from this earthly tent, I can count on Him to accompany me “through the valley of the shadow of death.” Shouldn’t that assurance make a difference now?

But for now, it seems that we’re in another one of those holding patterns.
Two weeks ago, we took Ben back for an appointment with his endocrinologist, Dr. C. Although we hadn’t discussed our hopes aloud, in our hearts the three of us had hoped—and almost expected—that this would be Ben’s last appointment. We had delivered the two weeks of blood sugar readings several weeks prior, there was still no need for insulin, and it just seemed we had walked this road long enough. Surely, anyone could see that.

But, that’s not what we heard. Instead we learned that, though medically considered a pre-diabetic now, Ben will always be susceptible to future diabetic episodes because of the hit his pancreas took almost exactly a year ago. He needs to be kept ‘under surveillance’ for now. Further, he needs to continue with glucochecks once or twice a week, one fasting, one after a meal, until our next appointment in four months. Wait a minute.

So unsatisfactory was this news to Ben that he has, to date, refused (in overt moments) and “forgotten” (in passive-aggressive moments) to test. Eeeesh. I think we’ve been here before. What about ‘connecting the dots’, God?
What, indeed? I feel a review lesson coming on. Exactly why are we even at the place where we could consider that Dec. 31 might be at Ben’s last appointment? Why, in this year’s Christmas card photo, is Ben smiling on the living room sofa when a year ago he was in the PICU being fed through an N-G tube? Those were two major dots in our picture and both of those, along with all the intermediate ones, were in the control of, and connected by, God.

When I woke this morning, for some reason, my first mental picture was of friends of ours—who didn’t know each other, but who knew us and knew the Lord—standing over Ben one year ago, placing hands on him and beseeching God for healing. I remember that. But I hang my head as I realize that I haven’t consistently remembered to connect the dots between those prayers and Ben’s recovery. That is a line superintended by God.

If we expected a different endpoint two weeks ago, we were trying to connect the wrong dot…and forgetting Who’s charting the path.