I could go on and on about how breathtakingly awful it is to watch your precious only child suffer terrible pain because of a surgery you signed off on. I could tell you how awful it was getting no sleep while holding your baby as he screams at 4am. I could try to express to you the anguish of allowing your sugar-free, gluten-free, nearly dairy-free son eat Bomb Pops and Icees by the dozen…
…but I won’t.
What I will tell you is what I learned from this little experience thanks to some kind and helpful words of Pastor Steven Furtick from the Elevation Church podcast (which I enjoyed listening to during my long and sleepless nights) that perfectly echoed what I was experiencing. The message one particular incredibly early morning (or far too late night) was not to focus on the “What if?” but to focus on the “Even if…”
If you know me, then you know What-If Monsters are kind of my jam. I enjoy playing out my wildest fears in a What-If fashion. As Abe was wheeled into surgery I What-Ifed he was allergic to the anesthesia? What if he can’t eat for weeks and loses too much weight? What if he doesn’t recover his voice after the surgery and he sounds like a smurf forever?
Of course, there were the serious What-If Monsters, too. What if he doesn’t wake up from surgery? What if he is brain damaged?
So as I laid in bed that night asking myself, “What if he never sleeps through the night again?” I heard Pastor Steven Furtick say, “Not ‘what if?’ Say ‘even if’.” His message basically stated to me in that moment that even if Abe was allergic to anesthesia, even if he didn’t recover his voice, even if he (GOD forbid) he didn’t wake up…I would be ok. Life would be ok. I have faith and love and a future. He reminded me that if I’m going to play the “What if” game, I have to play it out to the end and then some. I have to go from What If something happens to Even If something happens, I will be ok.
This was kind of life-changing. Because instead of just playing a What If to the end, you spin it on its head. Because Even If that happens, everything will be fine. We spend most of our time worrying about things that never even happen, and the BLINDSIDED by things that we never even considered. And through the worst of the worst things, everything eventually ends up being fine. Sometimes it’s a new kind of fine, sometimes the “normal” changes from what you’re used to, but then it becomes a new normal. Even if it happens, I will be ok.
I laid there in bed thinking about my major What Ifs. What if Abe doesn’t sleep again for 3 months and I don’t get a good night’s sleep for 3 months either?
Well, even if he doesn’t sleep again for 3 months, he will eventually sleep again. And in the mean time, I will be OK.
Not to mention, some of those nights in the next 3 months his dad will have him which is AUTOMATIC sleeping time.
Plus, he always sleeps through the night. There is really no reason that he wouldn’t sleep SOMETIME within the next three months…
And there ya have it. My Even If led me to, “Eh, that’s not even a real possibility anyway.”That seemed to be the running theme when I Even-Ifed something.
What if his voice never comes back the right way?
Well, even if his voice doesn’t come back the right way, there are plenty of speech pathologists in the world. And in the mean time, I will be ok.
Not to mention, my ex mother-in-law was a speech pathologist. She could help him.
Plus, a speech pathologist will eventually be able to correct the issue.
Eh. That’s not even a real possibility anyway.
Go ahead. Try it. Don’t just fight the What-If Monsters. Invite in the Even-If Fairies.
I dunno, I’m still working on which mythical creature belongs with the whole “Even-If” idea.