7.26.2009

One Week Later

What a week it's been. I continue to be moved by all of the thoughts, prayers, and well wishes we have received - friends and colleagues of mine reaching out to me, as well as family members and the Taiwanese community in the Bay Area looking out for my family. We always say it shouldn't take a tragedy to realize these sorts of things, but such events do demonstrate just how deep and wide is the love we are privileged to be in the middle of, and for that I am thankful.

My mom had a successful surgery yesterday to realign her vertebrae, and will require at least three months of complete immobility in the head and neck area to stabilize the area. Long term, it appears she will be paralyzed from the chest down, so some choices will have to be made as far as what her living arrangements are. My dad had his last surgery the day before, and will need about 10 days to recuperate, after which he will likely be sent home and a visiting nurse sort of situation arranged. My sister was discharged middle of last week and is home with her husband, the both of them just trying to juggle all of these logistical to-do's with their own need to heal and process. So everyone's hopefully done with the critical procedures that they needed, and are in an extending waiting period of giving their bodies time to rest.

The incident that started all of this happened in an instant but has changed everything. For us here in Philadelphia, that change is, somewhat mercifully, extended over a longer period. The shock of the initial news gave way, over the course of the week, to different thoughts concerning my parents and their well-being, including the acceptance of the loss of many aspects of our relationship that are now no longer possible. And, when we see them next, that will represent yet another stage in that grieving process.

I left the nest relatively early, going to college so far away from home; and yet, even as a grown adult with his own family, I look to my parents for support on so many levels. The car accident changes this equilibrium, but I do not yet know what the new equilibrium will look and feel like. It is scary and I wish it wasn't so, but it is what it is.

I have come to learn that our world is like a bubble, within which we understand
how things work. Every so often, tragedy pierces that bubble, and we are forced towards one of three outcomes. We can let all the air seep out, and think the whole world a chaotic mess either governed by a God who isn't all-powerful or all-loving, or else not governed by any sort of god at all. Or we can feverishly rebuild that bubble, reinforcing it against future piercings but simultaneously closing ourselves off to new experiences. Or we can let God build us a new and bigger bubble, big enough to include that painful piercing and still have room to accept His goodness and love.

Tragedy crashing into our world is no fun at all, and the losses are real and they are painful. But we do not often have the choice to let them in or not. We do have the choice to let them be used to grow ourselves a new and bigger understanding of our world. That's what I'm trying to choose now.
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