When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Life has given us a bushel of lemons so we are on a lemonade trip (and I don’t mean an electric kool-aid kind of trip).
As I had mentioned in my last blog, we were all set to settle into life in Nashville when some hard facts faced us. Getting our little Jack his needed treatment on state insurance was a gamble with odds not in our favor. With Jack’s heart disease he can go from reasonably healthy to critical in little time, shorter time than it takes insurance to decide whether they will cover a trip to Boston Children’s Hospital. Jack’s pulmonary veins, even as I sit here watching him play, are slowly closing. Waiting on insurance is not an option. The only guarantee for us is to reside in Massachusetts so that our insurance will cover all of Jack’s Boston appointments and procedures. We’ve wracked our brains and, short of becoming enormously wealthy with the nations best insurance, we can only think of one solution: we have to move back to Massachusetts.
Next week we have an appointment for Jack to have his pulmonary veins dilated with a balloon catheter in Boston. Time again to sojourn across the states.
On a rainy Sunday we packed our trailer, clambered into our Yukon and drove away from Tennessee with heavy hearts. The rain came in torrents which complemented our blues. Through Tennessee and into Virginia we drove until we could drive no more. We then stopped at a Walmart parking lot. A little known trick that many full time RVers and truckers know, you can stay in most Walmart parking lots overnight for free. When a person uses their rig without hooking up to power or water it is called “boondocking”. We do that a lot when we are traveling. State parks and some businesses allow boondocking and we take advantage of it as much as we can. Sleeping in a Walmart parking lot is neither glamorous nor is it wonderfully fun but it is a great resource.
Picture this. It’s been a long day of driving, you have remnants of the vomit from one or two car sick children splattered on your clothes and you get to look forward to sleeping in a parking lot. Nothing says cozy like sleeping under the buzzing fluorescent glow of a Walmart sign.
I cooked our dinner in said parking lot and was feeling morose and down right sorry for myself. Poor pregnant Amy, slaving over a tiny stove in a tiny trailer in a Walmart parking lot. As often happens with self-pity, my thoughts dragged me deeper and deeper into an ugly cavern of gloom. Then Andrew happened to show me a photo he saw on the Internet of an immaciated African mother giving her skeleton of a child some dirty water to drink. I stared at the image of these two humans who are under the same sun as I, breathing the same air and looking up at the same stars and yet so utterly and desperately without the things that I have in abundance every day. My self pity smashed to the floor. How could I feel sorry for myself? Sure, our life isn’t glamorous by western standards but my kids have all of their basic needs met and that’s much more than many mothers around the world are able provide. I cannot imagine having to tell my child that there will be no food today. I’ve never been in that position before. God used the reality of what many others have to face on a daily basis to shake me awake, knocking the scales off of my eyes and showing me the enormity of my blessings.
The next day I awoke, still in the same parking lot and still heading for a state I don’t want to live in. But the rain had cleared away and thankfulness for my calling replaced sadness about my circumstances. Andrew and I got the rig and our kids ready for another day of driving and decided to take the long way to Massachusetts. We decided to take a difficult turn of events and use it as an opportunity.
So here we are in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Our trailer is placed, quite literally, in a plot of land where the great battle took place. This morning I tip toed out of bed to the table near the window. I pulled up the shades to see the naked, budless trees of the forest outside draped heavily with fog. I sipped my tea, staring out into the solemn, haunted wood and could almost imagine the weary faces of union soldiers emerging from them. I am living an adventurous life and am seeing things many never have. God is kind to me.
Today we took the kids to a museum where we saw hundreds of civil war artifacts. We drove through the battlefield and the woods where the blood of tens of thousands of men soaked the ground red during the war between the states. This overly emotional pregnant history nerd was near tears more than once at the honor of being in such a hallowed place. If all of the hard things we face with Jack’s disease had never happened I would still be in Small Town, California wishing I could see the world. God takes the ashes and makes beauty.
And so tomorrow we will load up and head further north through the New York countryside, something I have always wanted to do. Then through Albany and to Massachusetts where we will settle into a campsite to call home for a while. We will take Jack to his procedure and pray that they become fewer. We will look for work and a rental house before the winter blizzards come. We will press on and keep striving (and frequently failing) to live out the gospel to our children. God is good when I know it and when I don’t.
So cheers, you fellow lemonade drinkers because I know that life has given you your fair share of lemons too.
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