Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Working, Waiting, Watching

I’m at an odd place here.

I started this blog to provide a place to work out some of the random thoughts that come to me while driving, while conversing, while living, and expressing them in a more cogent and complete format. I did not intend to for it to become a Me-blog, full of self-disclosure and emotional auto-surgery. Throughout most of my writing here, I have been purposely vague regarding people I love. I don’t believe that a public internet space is the best place to reveal all manner of personal details. If you review my writing carefully, you can see that I never mention the names of my family, or post pictures of them (except the ones with my bride and I mugging for the camera at In and Out Burger). There are certainly no photos of the girls, as I feel especially protective of them, particularly when it comes to cyberspace.

But now I’ve gone and done it. I posted some of my personal drama for all to see. I certainly welcome the prayers and support of my friends, as well as the strangers that have apparently found their way to my writing. Thank you all. At this point, however, I feel I owe a bit of an explanation. I’m going to attempt to provide some detail, and yet still remain fuzzy on certain parts because I still want to maintain a certain cyber-distance here. For those of you who actually do know me and my family, I welcome you to call or write, and I’m more than happy to share details with you. For the rest of you who only know me through what I write here, know that I do indeed appreciate your reading. And I do appreciate the comments and kind words offered. Nevertheless, because I’m not really trying to open the entire book of my life for the entire world, I hope that you will forgive a certain terseness of expression and imprecision on certain details.

So…what’s the problem that has created all this ruckus?

It falls into three categories. First, my business. I have been engaged in a business for 4 years now. I have seen a certain measure of success in the beginning, and the last 3 years have been an up and down ride, mostly trending down -- at least trending well below the requirements of my life. I have poured my life into this business, expended great amount of energy and effort, learned much, and used up almost every penny of my savings. In the process I have ignored much that needed doing simply for lack of funds. I have come to a point of crisis. My frustration is such that although I can’t imagine what else to do, I also can’t quite imagine continuing on as I have.

Which brings me to the second category – my finances. Suffice it to say that I have nothing left. This is a problem which can be managed if one has a) high flexibility b)low responsibility c)good prospects for the future. My problem is that I have low to moderate flexibility, high responsibility, and after so much struggle to so little effect, I am finding it difficult to envision good prospects. A friend recently suggested applying for government aid and the idea repulses me. I can’t bring myself to do it. I have been carrying debt that I cannot pay right now, my cars and my house have some serious problems with deferred maintenance, my body likewise, and I’m left deciding which bills will not get paid this month. This has been going on so long that I am left feeling drained and just tired of the struggle.

What is the third? On top of all this, my wife has been struggling with health issues for some years. We have been living for the last three under the spectre of Multiple Sclerosis. Recently, some of this came to a head when she awoke one morning unable to see from one eye. To cut through the intervening events, it appears to be uveitis (inflammation of the eye) which is usually a signal of other conditions taking place within the body. Specifically it usually points to an auto-immune condition, or a rheumatic (inflammatory illness) condition. We are not sure what this may mean in the long run, but we suspect it will not be very good. On the other hand, we may be getting just a little closer to finding out what has actually been plaguing her for all these years, and find a treatment. The greatest problem is that we simply don't know. The possibilities for this range from the deadly to the chronically inconvenient. One tries not to mentally go to the worst case scenario, for while it may be true (or may not) dwelling there yields few benefits. Yet that is where the mind tends to want to go. It is a discipline to keep a firm grip on reality yet a strong focus on the best possible outcome at all times. For my wife, this raises all kinds of questions about what she needs to do to take care of herself, including considering whether she can continue to operate our home school. These are enormous questions. Mostly, we just want her to be well because we love her.

Of course, all this comes at a price. While I am glad for the doctors and the work they have been doing, the fear created by the news they are uncovering is heightened by the fact that I have absolutely no idea of how I am going to pay for all this. We have some health insurance (for which we pay most dearly – a significant source of our financial ills) but it by no means covers everything. By the time this is all done, I could foresee this doubling or tripling our debt. I’m just making that number up, but it seems feasible. Again, this would be manageable if I could see how I could make the money to pay for it. My challenge is that I do not seem to have the wherewithal within my current business to obtain to that.

So here I am. Something’s gotta give. And perhaps something is. We have been alert and looking to see how God is working in this. We know that He seems to like to work through the agency of the people around us, but we have also tried to be alert for outright miracles. We wouldn’t put it past Him. He has a history of that sort of thing.

Today we had a most candid conversation with a man who has been a good friend, mentor and teacher throughout this process. He brought me into this business. Today he listened. He asked a few questions and learned some things of which he was not aware. He promised to work with us to find a way to make things work. This conversation has been extremely helpful.

I have found a way to possibly reduce the cost of our family health insurance. I will be pursuing that immediately.

We have been amazed at how many people have responded by pointing us to resources, people they know who know something about this sort of thing. Others have stepped up to tell us (and show us) how much they care by actually providing physical help, taking the girls so we can go to doctor’s appointments, or accompanying my wife when I cannot. Others who cannot do that have offered innumerable words of encouragement and prayer, and we are exceptionally grateful for those. In a time when we find ourselves praying more than every, we especially appreciate the prayers of others.

The medication my wife is taking is helping. Her eyesight is improving as the inflammation reduces. We have been pleased by the physicians she has been working with.

These then, are the great dragons of my life now. We work, and we work and we work. That does not stop. We also wait and wait and wait. And perhaps we learn slowly, slowly, to trust and depend not on our own arms, but on the arm of the LORD to slay them. We learn slowly, slowly to live by the power of His Spirit, and in this to ascribe to the One True and Living God the glory due Him.

1 comment:

The Scylding said...

I understand some of what you're going through: Failing business, flagging finances - yes, that was me 22 months ago - compounded by a host of other things. Also, I could not re-enter the jobmarket where I was - basically, the writing was on the wall.

Just over 12 months later, I found myself in a new country, with a good company, a reasonable salary, good medical and educational systems - and I can go on.

Trust in God. He cares for His own, and the suffering we endure is not evil in and of itself. It is His mercy.