Wall of Faith: Michelle
Life is one big musical. Lyrics pop into my mind to narrate life's events on a moment by moment basis. Hang around long enough and I'll break out into song--albeit it will likely be both off key and off tune. When a headlight needs replaced, I sing "We can drive it h-ome...with one headlight". When I go to pump gas in the car, I sing"Pump, pump the jam. Pump it up a little more..." When it starts to sprinkle, I hum "Drip, drip, drop little April showers" or "Raindrops on roses..." If the skies open up in a torrential downpour, I sing"Rain, rain on my face- it hasn't stopped raining for days...". And when the rain stops and the clouds break through, "I can see clearly now, the rain is gone..". And of course when the combo of sun and rain are out, "Somewhere over the rainbow...". And anytime someone says, "You're free to go", “And I'm FREE- FREE falling..." automatically plays in my head. If I get the goosebumps, "I've got chills! They're multiplying" plays. (Props and accolades to anyone who sang all those songs while reading this!) I think in song. It's a game I've played since I was little. Ally Mcbeal used to inwardly laugh when she saw a dancing baby--likewise, I smirk when a line from a song pops into my head that perfectly fits a situation.
Lately, one song has been playing through my mind like a broken record- "Home" by Chris Thomlin. It has been playing for 48 days and counting in fact. Forty-eight days and counting- that's how long we've been in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with our 32 week gestation preemie. He started out 3 lbs and 14 ounces. A resounding gush of thanks was prayed when he came out screaming-- you can't cry if you can't breathe. His lungs were strong, but a soft cleft palate was discovered moments after he was born via emergency Caesarian section. Due to the fact he was born before the suck and swallow reflex was developed and the cleft palate, learning to eat has been very difficult. He is using specialized bottles and slowly making progress. This little man has been out of the womb for over 7 weeks, but he hasn't left his NICU room once. All he knows are those same four walls.
Life in his NICU room is pretty good. It's warm. Germs are kept at bay. Mom sleeps there most nights and cuddles lots in the day. He is clean and thanks to a feeding tube he doesn't go hungry. The nurses are kind and helpful. He has a team of specialists (Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Nutritionist, Neonatologist and more) who carefully look out for his well being. And there have been visits from dearly loved ones.
There have been plenty of things that have been less than fun. There have been heel pricks and blood draws. Feeding tubes have been yanked out and put right back in. There were biliruben lights and genetic tests. Several times a day there are blood pressure and temperature checks. Milk has flooded his sinuses over and over while he is trying to learn to eat and the suppositories are no fun at all.
Then there are all the things he missed. He didn't get to
go to Easter Sunday at church or to the family gatherings that weekend. His cousins haven't met him yet because no one under the age of 18 (besides siblings) is allowed in the NICU. He hasn't felt a drop of rain or the sun on his face. He hasn't heard a dog bark or a cat meow or a bird chirp. He hasn't seen his nursery or his home.
Home. We keep telling him about it. It's this wonderful, happy place with no more needles, feeding tubes and beeping machines. There are a lot more than 4 walls. We tell him about his stroller and the walks we're going to take and the clouds, trees, flowers and animals he will see. We tell him about the car and how he gets to ride in the back seat with his big brother and the music we'll sing together along with the radio. We tell him of the books and toys at home that are waiting for him to play with and mostly we tell him of his cousins and friends he'll get to meet when he breaks out of this joint. Right now the words of a future filled with comfort, exploration and fun are just noise to our tiny baby--but soon they will be a reality.
We have similar conversations with our four year old, but they revolve around the Happiest Place on Earth. We talk about the food he can eat, the shows to watch and describe the rides in detail and the characters he could meet. We tell him about fireworks and shops filled with souvenirs. We tell him of the music and twinkle lights. He hears about airplane rides, sunshine and hotels with swimming pools. We've shown him pictures and friends who have gone recently exuberantly speak of how much fun they had.. He believes that Disneyland is amazing even though he's never been. He trusts our word. He keeps asking when he gets to go.
More importantly we tell both of them about the place that is even better than Disneyland- our true home- Heaven. We talk about being in a place with no more tears and no more sadness. We talk about the Bible characters and relatives they'll meet who have gone before. We speak of pearly gates and streets of gold. We speak of Jesus. And we tell them of the music they will help create which will be so much better than anything here on Earth. Many question the reality of life after death. They aren't sure what's to come. But we serve a God we can trust. He promised those who believe in him that he will one day take us home.
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
I got my baby's nursery ready just for him. Walls were painted. Pictures were hung. New floors and blinds were installed. The crib was assembled. Baskets of baby clothes were washed and sorted. Nesting officially took place. I can't wait for the day that I get to take him home for good. Likewise, Jesus feels the same about all those who know him. He's getting everything ready to welcome us home. I've been singing this song over my tiny baby for the past 48 days and counting... It's fitting in so many ways:
Home, where the streets are golden
Every chain is broken
Oh I wanna go, oh I wanna go
Home, where every fear is gone
I’m in Your open arms
Where I belong
Where I belong
Where I belong
I’m going home
I’m going home
I’m on my way home!
I’m goin' home!
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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