Guarding My Heart
Edited: Please, please don't feel the need to apologize to me. You have become treasured "friends" in my life and I do not write to make you doubt your words of encouragement. I truly believe those who hurt and stung with their comments did so knowingly. They know who they are (most of them hiding behind anonymous), and this post was not written to elicit apologies from them either. I just wanted to share with you where I was and why I have not been present. You are loved.
With trembling hands and a an unsure heart I have decided to give journaling a try this morning. What an emotional week it has been. I realize I don't have to tell you that. I'm sure you have sensed how difficult it has been.
A few weeks ago a stranger(although she is no longer) picked up the phone and said, "Trish, My name is ________. I live here in Omaha and I am at the store right now and I want to know what things you need. This is what I have picked up so far and now I want to know if you need, kleenex? Ok. Do you need q-tips? Ok. How about laundry soap? Chapstick? Ok. Here are the magazines. What type do you like to read? Do you need any quarters for laundry? Oh, I know you need diet cokes. How about bottled water? Our conversation continued as she refused to take no thank you, you don't need to do this for an answer. I finally relented and allowed her to bless me. A couple of hours later she knocked on my door and came in toting all of the "necessary" items I truly did need. As she introduced herself we sat and chatted. Eventually she said something like, "I feel like I know everything about you and you don't even know me. Its kinds of weird and a little unfair." I just laughed and didn't really think too much about that statement. Over the course of our stay she has "popped" in bringing diet cokes and magazines. Cheerios and laundry soap. A friendly smile. Encouragement and support.
I have thought an awful lot about her statement this last week. I am trying to place myself in "your" shoes. Not the MAJORITY of our readers, prayer partners, and supporters, but the few who come across in their words with this feeling of "entitlement". This attitude that they know me well enough to strike with words, thoughts, opinions, and statements with no regard to the pain that may be inflicted. Often I come away from our journal stunned. Shocked. Injured. I leave shaking my head and with tears stinging my eyes as I wonder what in the world have I done to "them" to deserve that? I think to myself, "They don't even know me. They don't know my heart. My intentions. My hopes. My struggles. How can they say that to me or about me? I think I now know. They think they do know me. They must feel entitled by the glimpses into my life that I have allowed them to have. They truly feel they have the right to enlighten me on how I should be living, coping, praying, feeling, or raising my children. Is there anything wrong with that? I don't know. This is where I am struggling. I have opened PARTS, GLIMPSES, PIECES of my self to the readers of this journal.
So now I am taking time away. Time to work on "guarding my heart". Just like His word instructed me to. My heart has been left open, not guarded in any way over the course of Ashley Kate's life. Why? Because I DO NOT feel entitled. I KNOW I have been blessed in this life. I KNOW she is a gift that has been given to Dave and myself. I KNOW that she may be with us for a short time and I do not want to take her or any moment of her life for granted. I AM SO BLESSED, and I KNOW it. This knowledge has encouraged me to share what God has given to us. Ashley Kate is amazing. She is precious, and fragile, and tiny, and beautiful, and strong, and something I was not entitled to. How can I keep her to myself? God is working in her life. I don't understand the ways He has chosen to use her. I could easily share with you how badly I wish she had been given a healthy body, but this is not how He has chosen to use her life. He is using her struggles to bring glory to Him and because of this knowledge I have chosen to share her with you.
Forgiveness has not been the issue. I forgive easily because I have been forgiven much in this life. Figuring out how to guard my heart with grace and to what extent I share our family with the world is the issue. There may be times when comments trigger these times of soul searching to be done inside of myself. Just know that even while I am absent I am loving and appreciating the many, many people who pray for our Ashley. I could never express to you what YOUR presence has really meant to me.
Ashley and I are now outpatient status. I say that with much trepidation. I do not know if it will last long. She is very uncomfortable because of what has been placed into her little body. It was a communication error. It is not what we or our team of doctors expected her to return from the OR with. What do we do with it now? We are all a little unsure. She continues to swell and breathe uneasy from the pain. At what point do we decide it has to be removed? Before I left the hospital last night I repeatedly asked, "Is she safe?" The answer, "We think she is safe. She is just uncomfortable, but pulling it out now would be to rough on her." Ashely's jugular vein is bulging from the size of the catheter in it. She is swollen and bruised and to quote what our surgeon said yesterday, "They really tore her up down there." Your prayers for quick resolution would be greatly appreciated. She needs to be off of TPN, on full feeds, and not stooling out and requiring IV replacements for it to be pulled. We are getting closer, but that 20ccs is still a long ways away when you are dealing with a transplanted, injured bowel. Just know that I am very aware that we may be returning to an inpatient status quickly. I pray we don't have to, but as always I WILL do what is best for our baby.
Again, I thank you for loving us. For taking the time to read what we hold in our hearts. For praying for us even in my absence. You are loved. Trish