As many of my readers know I have been on a hiatus from blogging because I am in the throws of sleep deprivation, diaper changing, and serious cuddling. We have been on an even more intense roller coaster than the typical parents of a newborn the past few months as our son was born with a severe congenital heart defect (HLHS) requiring open heart surgery days after birth, with several more surgeries anticipated. We have experienced some new lows in life perhaps, but don’t feel sorry for us . . . after all we have one of God’s greatest gifts- a baby! So here we are adjusting to our “new life.” And I can’t get that Darryl Worley song out of my head, Awful Beautiful Life.
“I love this crazy, tragic, sometimes almost magic, awful, beautiful life.”
Crazy– My first night home after being away for a month and we get locked out of the house, so without my husband around and night falling I have to pop off the screen and send my 4 year old through the window to let us in!
Tragic– My precious little one week old baby had to have a grueling open heart surgery, where there was so much swelling in his chest the surgeons didn’t even close his chest wound for 3 days.
Almost Magic– some call it magic . . I call it God. As I saw my son Ian laying mostly motionless due to heavy sedatives that kept him sleeping, I will admit I found it hard to pray. We knew about his heart condition for 4 months before his birth and we prayed like never before that God would heal his heart. I put Ian and our family 100% in God’s hands and I really had nothing new to say. But what I did was sing to Ian songs from the church hymnal (Breaking Bread). Here are some of the lyrics, “Here I am standing right beside you”, “Be not afraid, I go before you always come follow me and I will give you rest”, “I love you and you are mine ….” I sang these songs in hopes of somehow comforting Ian, but it was through these songs that God comforted me. I had nothing to say, but God had something he wanted me to hear! We were able to see God’s fingerprints everywhere. Some call it magic or coincidence, but we know it is God, hence why some call them Godincidences.
Awful– We have always felt a strong sense that God has a purpose for Ian’s life not his death, but it was an awful feeling when the medical team had to switch from sedating him to paralyzing him in order to prevent Ian’s blood oxygen levels from going dangerously low.
Beautiful– Is it obvious that being able to share in God’s creative genius is a beautiful thing? It is a simple joy to fall peacefully asleep with the literal fruits of your labor in your arms. Though some people may not see the beauty in a newborn baby, it is likely because it is a love unknown to them. Like the Grinch whose heart is two sizes too small, but experiences the true joy of giving and then his heart grows two sizes too big, having children does this in a way that is hard to explain to someone on the outside looking in. There is no doubt you give of yourself nurturing a child, but remarkably when you look at the big picture you get back more than you put in as you watch your children blossom then bloom before your eyes!
Life may not always be easy or perfect, but it is worth living and worth saving. As I mentioned, throughout this ordeal I have put my son and our family in God’s hands. I came across a beautiful quote of Mother Teresa’s, “I am like a little pencil, God does the writing, God does the thinking.” I love this because when we put ourselves in God’s hands we think of Him holding us and comforting us, but like a pencil he also uses us as an instrument. Do we understand it? Not always, but it is actually overwhelmingly humbling to be used by God. So I realize I am not called to always understand, God does the thinking! I am only called to trust God and His divine plan. Give God your trust and He will give you His peace.
This blog may be too subtly pro-life, so I’ll wrap up spelling it out. There is no situation a child could be brought into that is so difficult abortion is the best choice. Life is beautiful. Whether one is handicapped, poor, conceived in rape, or normal, life may at times be crazy, tragic, or even awful. But life is also beautiful; and discovering that beauty in an adverse circumstance is magical. And there are many people living a normal life that never get to touch a magic like that. No matter what the “defect” we assume too much to decide for another person their life isn’t worth living. And we rob the world of the gifts they’d bring. Look at Ian’s smile and know that babies love life! If Baby was given the choice, I’d venture to say they would get on that roller coaster and hold on tight!
Irene QualmanMay 15, 2015
So beautifully put. Has really helped me so much Emily to apply it to my life also.
Steve SebergerMay 15, 2015
I read this to my Saturday morning men’s group, who have all been praying for you and for Ian, and they all liked it as much as I do. Thanks for sharing your gifts…your writing talent, but also your beautiful little boy. I wish you didn’t have to go through all this hassle of oxygen and feeding tubes and 14-hour trips to L.A., but I’m glad that you see that even with all that, you are truly blessed with this precious gift of life. He’s beautiful–even with tubes taped to his face.
My friend Greg, who has an awesome homemade playground on his property, said that he looks forward to the day that Paul and Matt’s kids can come visit again, but especially to the day that Ian comes there to play. Your little boy blue (with brown eyes) is already an inspiration to many. God love you all.
Linda NaugleMay 15, 2015
Life is not always easy but Ian has a spot in hundreds of peoples lives. I got a letter from the Capuchin-Franciscan Friars in Mt.Calvary,Wisconsin who I asked to pray for all of you
for a full year..Here is what they said: “Thank You for using our spiritual enrollment cards which act as a messenger of God’s love and constant care for the family of Scott.Emily,Charlotte, Siena and Sebastian Naugle.” “Praying for you and your loved ones will lift many spirits and warm many hearts.”
When we set our own feelings, emotions aside. In prayer..we can feel the Love of Christ
washing over us and Peace flows like a river.
Karen SimkinsMay 15, 2015
Who knew you were a country music fan… oh yeah, right … from Iowa! Just kidding, I love that music and I loved the lyrics, and the little ole’ fella shakin’a’leg! You are so right. Life is crazy, tragic, sometimes almost magic, awful … and always beautiful ! And what those miss who try to control it instead of handing it over to God. HE makes it all even more beautiful if we let him. Hey, do you know about the “First 1000 Days”? Here’s a link. (hint: add the 270 days in the womb to the first two years, 365×2 … = ?? ) http://www.archdpdx.org/jprespect/1000-Days.html We’ll talk about it at the meeting tomorrow night and maybe, just maybe, you’ll start hearing sound bites about it on S&L radio! Praying for you all, your sweet Ian, your sweet little girls, the sweet (albeit-sleep deprived!) Momma and very-handy-baseball-player Daddy!