Monday, June 12, 2006

It was late, Sunday evening hours stretching into Monday morning. Brent, Deanna and Whitney are exhausted with the strain of hope - hope building, waning and building again. Lauren has finally, though reluctantly, headed back to Indiana Wesleyan University to start the school year. (She came back a few hours later.)

I had only been back at the hospital an hour or so after Brent's call that BJ's vitals were wavering, so I decided to stay in with BJ while the others sought much needed rest. Whenever it was coming it was only fleeting as wavering numbers had been too much a part of the six weeks at the hospital.

Standing by his bedside, leaning into it and holding onto his hand, arm, or brushing back his hair; looking into his face and talking to him, praying for him, hoping for him. Believing in my heart that the Lord was with him no matter what - he would come through this, after all, it seemed such an awesome ministry had been laid out for him to persue. A young man who was fully committed to serving him and truly open to his call - wherever it would take him. He was bold in his faith but humble of spirit (well, most of the time - he was a teenager).

Looking into his face I tried to recall our times together, our conversations, hikes and wrestling matches. I still found it hard to see this physically changed body as my nephew, still swollen and bruised from his battle with sickness. I walked around the bed and did the same thing from the other side, trying to stay clear so that the nurses could go about their work as they did so efficiently and lovingly. I closed my eyes.

I opened them again with just enough of a start to realize that I hadn't just blinked as I thought I had. The doctor was standing opposite me looking concerned and resigned. He was asking the nurse if the parents were here or if they had been called. NO! This can't be happening now - this weekend had brought trials but renewed hope through dire circumstances that he was going to live. But it had come down to "a matter of time".

As Brent, Deanna, Lauren, and Whitney slip in and go to his side I slip out and make three quick, hard phone calls on my cell phone - "we are losing him - now." During the last of these calls I hear weeping beyond my own and I feel the weight of it, I know.

Times like these bring such conviction, sorrow, even guilt, questions that can't be formed into words. Even as we see how the Lord uses this precious life - loss - there are still unresolved questions, feelings and pain. Through it all there is hope in the Lord, our King of Kings; knowing and trusting that His will is perfect, even when beyond our understanding, this is the only hope some days that can keep us going.

Thank you Lord Jesus for the hope that you give us, the grace you extend and for the promise of life eternal. Thank you for the knowledge that BJ and your other faithful servants who have gone home, are beyond suffering. Thank you for the knowledge that his story is part of yours.


Brad

P.S. Thank you to the blog family that has been praying for me through my surgery and recovery...it went very well and I am getting stronger.

11 Comments:

At 11:48 AM, Blogger NatenAmy said...

Brad--
It was nice to hear from you today! Nate and I are glad that you are doing well. Thank you for sharing... I can't imagine just how tough those final moments must have been for everyone, but I am glad that you were all there, as a family to support each other. That would have been important to Beej I am sure!
We will continue to pray for you as you heal... We drove by Jameson the other day and said a prayer for you in the car!
Blessings,
Amy (and Nate too)

 
At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless you...not sure why I continue to seek out this website...but I do...day after day....
Greenfield, Indiana

 
At 12:56 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

Brad, you write as eloquently as Brent! Your words brought back memories that I had pushed to the back of my head. I have tears, not for BJ, but for his family who still aches for him everyday. We know that he is truly happy and I'm sure quite busy up in Heaven!

I will continue to pray for you during your recovery! God bless.

 
At 4:40 PM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

Just the other day, my Bible reading took me to the story of a child who died. My heart immediately went out to all of the Higgins (including uncles!) and others who have lost young family members. They have a new and unwelcome insight into stories like this. Only God can turn such painful memories into tools for His glory. Thanks for sharing yours with us, Brad. And thanks for being an awesome uncle and man of God.

Carol, I continue to remember your Mom and so many others from our blessedly extended blog family. My California friend Sheryl has undergone her second (of six) chemo treatment for breast cancer. She'd be grateful for any prayers of course.

Brad, praying you're BACK to health soon. Remembering the Awe Star training in pink,

Marti

 
At 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad we can pray - and it doesn't matter what color we choose! God is amazing - He is blessing. Thank you for updating us on the trip. We appreciate it!!

 
At 12:37 AM, Anonymous kristin dutt said...

Brad--

it was great to hear from you today. such a humbling thing to hear it from a different point of view. I'm Kristin. I was part of Peru 2005. BJ was awesome. A world changer. I'm glad you're going to be sharing w/us for this month! i look forward to it!

Thanks
~kristin

 
At 7:16 AM, Blogger Gracie said...

Wow! I must say that was quite an encouragement to me. I know when things get rough in my life, I have the hardest time thanking and praising God. Thank you so much for demonstrating the way things should be! I am so glad that God led me to this site!
Gracie
ps. Glad to hear that your surgery went well!

 
At 8:50 AM, Anonymous cousin becky said...

Brad,

Thanks for sharing your perspective on the events surrounding BJ's homegoing. I know through BJ's time in the hospital you carried a lot of responsibility not only to support your brother and his family but also to keep those of us in the extended family informed with up-to-the-minute changes by making and accepting phone calls. Thank you for being such a caring and supportive example of God's grace at work even when you were hurting deeply.

On a personal level, thank you for the many, many ways that you have been an encouragement and support to me over the years.

I continue to pray for your complete healing after your surgery and for the elimination of the pain you have experienced.

Love,

Becky

 
At 10:34 AM, Blogger LisaTeegarden said...

So well said, brother Brad. I so vividly remember the evening of Sept. 25th, not wanting to leave the hospital, and not really knowing why. Then, in the night when you called....and not believing what I was hearing...and sobbing. Hitherto has the Lord helped us. What a blessing to have had Beej with us for nearly 16 years. What a special Uncle Brad he has. How we miss him. Thank you Jesus that you are continuing his ministry through so many. Thank you cousin Becky for all the help you were to mom & I, and our family during that time. LOVE YOU ALL. Lisa

 
At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brad,
As I read your message, my heart simply broke in two. Two years ago our daughter went through a serious illness, was in the hospital & rehab 107 days. There were 3 times when doctors weren't sure she would make it. No one can know the pain and struggle until you've had a loved one go through this. But she has recuperated and is back in school and doing very well. I thank God every day for what He has done. But just reading B.J.'s story makes me appreciate it even more. But yet, I'm so sad for Beej's family. I was almost there. It's SO hard to understand why these things happen. All I know is that God is still in ultimate control and some day we will know why. Your family is in our prayers

 
At 10:57 PM, Blogger Lattany said...

Each time I read the recounting of those final hours, the same feeling and emotion overtakes me. It's one of sadness but sovereignty, apprehension and omniscience, struggling but trusting, fear and faith, and then brokenness and victory.

In the past nine weeks, I at seventeen years old have been forced to make "those three phone calls" on three separate occasions when we were told that my eighteen month old nephew, Corbin, (who was on ECMO for the second time in his short life due to open-heart surgeries to correct a heart defect) was slipping away. Those words -- "it's only a matter of time". The feelings you describe are so very vivid. And yet also, the inner-war that seems to come through in some many of the posts. Faith in the midst of fear, trembling in the midst of trust, sadness yet knowledge of the Sovereign One, and the brokenness in the midst of Victory.

Lattany
Fairfax, VA, USA

 

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