When the Bump in the Road becomes the Bumpy Road (Part 1)




               The road less traveled always seems to be the most adventurous, at least that’s the insight one feels when reading Robert Frost.  In the real world, the idea is always captivating, but what happens when that road less traveled is actually a very hard road to stay on?  What happens when you feel like your entire life is an off-road trip?  The bumps are exciting at first, but you are going to become very sore.
                Since August 2009 we have been “off roading it” through life.  What started as a childhood epilepsy diagnosis has grown into a lifestyle.     Ever since my son, ten at the time, stood up at dinner to laugh at his sister and impress his friend, but ended up falling head backwards into his sister’s plate, we have been living life on a very bumpy road.  I have always managed to console my spirit by saying it will pass because so many other things have “passed”.  I had cancer at 14 and while it has made an eternal impact on my life and perspective, the physical portion of that drama lasted for mainly a year.  There have been a few setbacks, but I have been able to drive back onto the ramp of life and try to keep pace with the flow of life’s traffic. 
                The last few months have taken a new turn.  In the path to get back to “normal highway” I feel as if we have just taken a wrong turn down another dirt filled back road.  After years of medicine and moments of light that seem to peak through to new hope, things began to slip.  Seizures came closer together, his learning seemed to be on the downhill curve.  Life, pre-seizures seemed to be another life that someone else had lived.  After seeing new doctors at one of the best hospitals in the country and having new tests, I have been told, “We don’t know…we don’t see cases like this very often.”  A doctor who had great expectations that the initial diagnoses was incorrect and the seizures could be stopped with an operation saw activity in my son’s brain that has puzzled even him. 
“We don’t know?”  is that an option for the best doctors?  In the days of instant everything and the best research, is that still a thing?  I know it is, but what now?  How does a 21st century person let go and be at peace with this foreign idea?  So- I pray.   Prayer is talking to God, not being an orator of religious poetics.  Talking to God as you would your friend.  He is your friend.  Spilling out your emotional guts and telling Him how hard it is and how not fair it seems.  Last night I was driving down the literal road and praying to God about this tough road and I hear these words, not audibly, but in my spirit: “They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” 
Run, I don’t run, unless being pursued by a dangerous situation, but I can relate to the idea.  Walk, I walk a lot.  Physically walk, but these words are talking about the mental and emotional part of life.  I run and walk excessively in that area.  I run to God when I see my child has fallen because of a seizure and looks like he went three rounds with Rocky.  I walk daily with the thought that at any moment it could happen.  The seizing, no breathing, scary kind of seizure or will it be the blank stare and fluttering eyes that cause him to lose his place in his schoolwork kind of seizure?  Trying to pretend life is normal but knowing lightning can strike at any moment is like driving over potholes continuously.
So down this path I go.  I know that I can cling to those words I heard in my car yesterday.  Those words that are even better if you get a running start into verse 31 by backing up to verse 28 of Isaiah chapter 40: "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.  (29) He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.  (30) Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, (31) Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (NASB)
Weary-the word itself makes me, well, weary.  Worn, EXHAUSTED.  These are the words we want relief from.  These are the things that we want to be FIXED.  What if they are never fixed in this life?  What if our manmade gods are not able to repair life’s problems?  We can white knuckle it through or we can rest while we are driving the constant rocky terrain.  We have two options: rest in the Lord or become insanely restless with life because we don’t want to go the road less traveled.  We can go kicking and screaming down the backroads or we can see life as most people zooming by never get to see it.  To you who are in a battle for the long haul: whether it is physical, like an illness or emotional, like a child who is ripping your heart into shreds.  You can stay the course!  You can gain strength, not get tired and you can soar like an eagle IF you call on your creator, your Savior!  He will give you a strength that is unexplainable and a peace that passes all understanding.  You may be on an off-road adventure that you didn’t sign up for, but you are going to be a survivalist!  You are going to have stories to tell, miracles to share, encouragement to give and a life that is so much richer than the one you could have had if you’d stayed on that smooth pavement.  As hard as life can be, hang in there traveler, you aren’t alone.
-Melissa Pyle
off road-life survival specialist

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