WHAT I KNOW



(This is an excerpt from the Intro to my next book, coming in 2017)

I’ve told the story my whole life.

My baby sister and I went with my Dad to pick up his paycheck. I was six, Rachel had just began toddling around on her chubby pink legs. We walked into an office and my dad stopped at a woman’s desk to chat.  Rachel and I headed straight for the box of toys in the corner and dug around, looking for treasures. There was a coffee machine on the shelf above our heads.
Rachel tugged on a cord and the coffee pot clattered down. She screamed while scalding dark liquid soaked her clothes. My dad was by our side in an instant. He scooped her up, ran to his truck and drove madly to the emergency room.
My sister spent months in a burn center about an hour from our home. My parents found a place to stay near the hospital, and spent every moment caring for her.
Eventually, the doctors told my parents they would need to do a procedure to pull back the damaged skin and see what was underneath. If he found more damaged and dead tissue underneath it would mean more surgeries, and her frail little body would not survive. If he found new skin underneath there was good chance for recovery. The doctor warned he would likely find more damaged tissue underneath. It would be a miracle if he saw pink.
My parents had recently converted to Christianity, and everyone we knew began praying for pink skin. After the procedure the doctor came out of surgery with tears in his eyes and told my parents he found new skin. Pink! It was a miracle, and we all rejoiced.
Eventually, my sister was sent home wearing a ‘jobst’ garment. It basically looked like a brown leotard that covered the damaged areas. My parents were under strict instructions to keep vitamin E on the burns and to keep her out of the sun and away from anything that could infect her skin. They expected her to be scarred for life; the burns covered her back and one arm and one leg. Little Rach began the long road of healing.
Today, my sister is a beautiful, strong woman. You cannot even tell she was burned. She has no memory of the incident, and every summer she turns golden brown from the sun. God completely healed her. My family will forever point to this healing as God’s provision and goodness to us.
That’s how I’ve always remembered the story. It’s how I’ve always told it. I’ve repeated it over and over, since I was six. I love telling it. We all love happy endings, right? God is good, all the time, all the time, God is good.

Until…

One day I remembered what actually happened that day. One day my story was dismantled, and my six-year-old self woke up and whispered secrets to my comfortable, confused heart.

That day something broke loose, like someone popped their finger out of a hole in my dammed-up chest and water sprayed out, thin streams at first and then a fire hose, brutally dousing every corner of my life with sticks and mud and jagged rocks.

I thought I knew so much about life and about suffering and what makes up my very own story. What I really discovered was this: I don’t know shit.


Comments

  1. Powerful story telling. Now I want another sneak peek. Love you friend 💚.

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