I am learning compassion at a higher level these days as I watch your responses to Andy and our family. You make me aware that I must pause longer and look with more truly caring eyes at the pain and struggle of others. I have been truly changed by what I have seen in all of you.
Andy continues to collect people as he has always done. It happened again yesterday. The nurse came in late last night and as he was working on Andy he made a passing comment. He said, "Andy, you really impressed Douglas" (I think that was the name). "He said he was blown away by what you said."
This visit happened on day shift while I was sleeping, so I did not really know what they were talking about. We have been visited by several high ranking officers since we have been here and I thought they were referring to another one of those visits, but after the nurse finished and left, I asked Andy who he was talking about.
He said he was a fellow solider who came to see him . Three weeks ago that soldier stepped on an explosive in Iraq, and as a result, had lost both of his legs, his left hand, and suffered "compression" and burns to his face. Andy's comment was, "Dad, I know things could be much worse for me."
I don't know what Andy said to that valiant soldier, but I know that Andy was the one who was "blown away" by this soldiers courage. He also couldn't believe how far that this man's courage and the doctors at Walter Reed had brought him in just 3 weeks. He certainly inspired Andy, the people collector, in a lot of ways.
Andy continues to improve, as well. His pancreatitus is clearing up nicely. And this morning, he sat on the "throne" (a huge adjustable cardiac chair) and they rolled him down to the barber shop for a hair cut and shave. He got back exhausted, but he won't back away from anything that moves him closer to "normal."
He is still in-and-out somewhat due to the extreme exhaustion of his last 2 month on the battlefield, the wound and the medicines. But he is making visible progress. He never complains and he seems infinitely patient with what are sometimes very slow and difficult process that he had been used to doing much faster and easier: from turning in the bed to brushing his teeth to learning to use his fingers again.
It would appear that he will be going to Florida for his initial rehab. There is a facility there that is reported to be the "best in the system." It is where most special forces are sent for their rehab (naturally that would appeal to Andy). That initial rehab should last about 4 - 6 weeks and then probably back to Texas (maybe Dallas) to complete his transition. That's about all we know at this point.
Andy, is kind of quiet (for Andy) these days. When one of the therapist asked him about it the other day he said, "I'm just working through the big things." He and I continue to talk when he wants to about the "big things." Please pray that God would give him the graceful insights that he needs at this juncture.
Andy is mostly worried about how his circumstance is impacting the lives of his family. When Andy told us that he wanted to go in the Army, I got in his way "big time." At first, I just couldn't see it. No good parent is going to easily allow their child to be put in harms way. However, as Andy and I talked and I prayed, God began to make me aware, even way back there, that there was a providence connected to Andy's life that I was not privy to and that I should get out of his way. So, I did.
I certainly never dreamed that the providence would include the events of the last few weeks. But, I am convinced that this is the very providence that God, in His kindness, did not allow me to know in advance. I could not have survived that knowledge.
But I can survive it now because I see how God is changing all of our lives for the better through Andy's circumstance. He is changing Andy, and Daniel, and Sarah and Deborah and Donna and myself. And I know that so many of you are being significantly impacted in a very personal way by what has happened. And all of this brings me back to something that I have known for some time: There is a real "chemistry" involved in spiritual awakenings.
I have often made the statement to my congregation that the Church primarily exists for a moment in time: that moment when the spiritual chemistry becomes right to truly experience God. The chemistry of the divine moment - we live a thousand ordinary days waiting on that moment to occur, the moment when circumstance, emotions, sensitivity and awareness all align themselves in just the right way to enable us to make the leap to a new and higher level of spiritual reality.
It is only in these moments, when the chemistry is right, that we make the leap of conversion or the the leap to personal empowerment in the Living Christ through the Spiritual baptism, or to a true spiritual refreshing, or revival, or a new nearness to God, to a renewed heart and commitment.
These great leaps of faith do not occur in the "ho hum" days of ordinary moments. They occur in those rare and costly moments when the spiritual chemistry is right in our lives. They occur only in those God designed moments when all is right.
For many of us, myself included, God has brought to pass this very special chemistry through Andy's circumstance, and even as we weep, we sense the dawning of a new nearness, a renewed energy, an energized commitment to experience God at a higher level.