Time and Faith: A Personal Memoir
A year and a half ago, my daughter suffered a horrific car accident. My wife and I got the call from the ICU in the middle of the night on Tuesday, and we spent the next 16 hours driving thru the night and day to Madison, Wisconsin. My daughter spent 6 days in the round-the-clock-care ICU and another 3 weeks in the Trauma Care Unit. I remember the police officer who was first on the scene where my little girl was pinned in a crushed car, unconscious and bleeding with bones sticking out of her body. He told us, “As I walked to the bottom of that gully, I was certain that this was going to be a fatality.”
All of our lives changed that night. In the days that followed, we wondered if our daughter would ever return to a state where she did not require constant care. As for me, I traded in my retirement to become her dedicated care-giver, coach and transportation. There were trying days of ups and downs during the slow and painful periods of healing and rehabilitation. In those early months of darkness, surgeries, and constant rehabilitation, I used to tell my daughter “time and faith”. Though probably not from my coaching, she eventually found the faith and demonstrated strength that I never saw in her before. On the one-year anniversary of her accident, we all went out for sushi to commemorate how far she had come. During the dinner, she said, “I shouldn’t have survived that crash, but I did. God wanted me to live, because I believe he has a plan for me.”
Around this time, she had, amongst many doctors and specialists, been seeing a neuro-ophthalmologist for her double-vision. At this particular visit, she had been hoping that the doctor would tell her that her damaged optical-nerves were now stable enough for her to finally get the eye-surgery that could correct her double-vision. She needed a small victory. Unfortunately, the doctor said they are still in a state of flux. My daughter was very depressed after this visit, and I reminded her of “time and faith”. It did little to console her.
Yesterday, my daughter visited that same neuro-ophthalmologist. A few months ago, she finally had that corrective surgery, and yesterday the specialist told her that her eyes are “great”, and there is no need for her to see him again. Of course, I just had to remind her of that previous visit, when she was so depressed and wondered if she’d ever have normal eyesight again.
I view that earlier disappointing visit as “Point A” on a timeline, or a line-graph; a low point in your life, perhaps even a time of hopelessness. I viewed the happy visit yesterday as “Point B” on that same timeline; a point where things finally got better. I attempted to share this perspective with my daughter and reminded her of “time and faith”, because now, she can look back on her own timeline and hopefully realize that time and faith are real.
Today, while she is still unable to drive, my daughter works at a daycare center where in addition to her highly praised care of the children, she designs and teaches weekly music classes and pre-school computer classes that bring in additional revenue for the center, and the kids love them! She is also taking and excelling at college courses, as she looks forward to eventually earning her degree in childhood education. It may take her a little longer than the typical student, but I doubt a day goes by where she’s not grateful for the second chance she’s been given.
This morning, as I dragged myself out of bed as I do every day at 5:50 AM, I wondered sadly if I will ever get to enjoy my retirement years? But then, I thought, time and faith. In fact, I thought specifically about my daughter’s timeline with the neuro-ophthalmologist, because it wasn’t only her victory, it was mine too, because I had the privilege to witness in real life that which I preach about. And you know what? I relaxed and immediately felt better. I even went so far as to wonder, is this God’s plan for me? My second chance?
We all have multiple instances of Points A & B in our lives. Perhaps what we don’t do often enough, is to pause and remember them. On this Thanksgiving day, I plan to be thankful for the times in my life when I was at my lowest of lows; my Point-A’s. Because without those Point-A’s, I would never have known and appreciated my Point-B’s; the times when things actually did get better. These are the times that nourished my faith.
The next time I’m frustrated, sad, or angry, whether it’s road rage or political angst or feeling crushed by some weight on my shoulders, I hope I can remember that I have a choice. I can invite myself to my own pity party and lash out in a way that does nobody any good, or I can think about my daughter’s courage, and I can remember Time and Faith. Happy Thanksgiving homies.