The IV pole moved slowly, propelled by a pale child with sunken eyes ringed with dark circles. The bright pink cap on her head masked the reality that she is temporarily bald. This precious young one is fighting a life-threatening illness.

We noticed her as we made our way through the hallways of the Children’s Hospital to visit our young grandson. There were others with similar characteristics, and their own IV poles dripping life into them through a maze of tubes. Adults, looking very weary of the journey through hard places and uncertainty, accompanied them.

lingering in the not knowings and in betweens

Inside the room of our little one, things seemed eerily calm. The lights were dimmed and Mommy Jenna spoke softly. Our grandson slept fitfully, under the influence of strong medicine to keep him mostly sedated and silent. He had undergone a battery of tests that day and the day before. His little body was weary, but in too much pain to sleep on his own.

We felt a lot of unknowns that night. What was making little Oscar so sick? Why weren’t the tests locating these bacteria? What cocktail of drugs would bring his high fever down? Maybe emergency exploratory surgery was needed.

My fear began to run wild circles around my heart and hopped on a roller coaster in my head. It was evident my grandson was a very sick little boy. What if they couldn’t find out how to make him well? … slowly the “what if’s” began to overtake me.

My heart connected more deeply with the weary faces and hospital-gowned children pushing their metal stickman IV pole. I knew their fear, the fear of the unknown.

As I tried to settle my body and heart back at home, fear taunted me. I could let it have its way or I could instead believe. I could believe God’s goodness is for me. I could believe that even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (certainly a good description of how I felt hours before in the hospital hallways), God is with me.

I wanted to just speak the words of faith, pronounce my believing and offer little Oscar to God. Could I really say and mean, “Oscar belongs to you God and I trust Your journey for him, even if it means taking him Home now.” No, I couldn’t say that and mean it. Not right then.

I could let fear take me into those dark places of doubt and those places of begging God for a deal. I wanted control. I wanted goodness to win. And I wanted Oscar to be well.

As the battle raged in my mind, I looked for places to be grateful. Oscar has a family who loves him greatly. Mommy was able to be by Oscar’s side the entire hospital stay and daddy came often. Oscar’s extended family, both biological and their church community were there to offer whatever help was needed. Oscar had a team of doctors and nurses working with him under clean, sterile conditions. All the medicines and equipment he might need were readily available.

Slowly gratitude began to diffuse my fear. As I focused on goodness, fear became less fierce. Eventually my mind rested and I slept.

Each day brought small movement forward away from the nasty virus that invaded Oscar’s body. It was four days before we were certain he was on a healing path. God was merciful to us. A visit with Oscar just a few days home from his hospital stay found him back to being a busy two-year old, full of life.

Life is precious and fragile. It’s a gift from God that I have no control over. I see the smiling face of my healthy Oscar. I remember the gaunt faces of uncertainty and weariness as they are still journeying through the land of the “unknowns”. I am more sensitive to the hearts and the stories of those behind those faces.

I didn’t immediately relinquish control to God. I did eventually. To share a paraphrase of my evening’s blessing from Susie Larson, Even when we walk through the deepest valley, He is right there with us, close beside us. He corrects and directs, guides and provides, and He’ll never forsake us.


valerie avery Valerie Avery treasures the journey of embracing all God has gifted her with including creating art and beauty using fibers, beads and nature. The bond of 46 years of marriage has created a legacy as mother to 5 and “Grammie” to 20. She is venturing into the world of writing and is grateful for a place to share stories of growth and hope.  You can read more here.
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