Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Message in the Sand
The local section of our daily newspaper ran a story today entitled:
Message in the Sand. The piece described incredibly artistic sand sculptures under development this week on our local beaches. Below are pictures from the Daily News by Nick Tomecek from a piece on fighting back against oil companies with peaceful protest and Mark Kulaw's picture of them working on the sculpture.
Showing the immeasurable beauty and diverse pursuits available to visitors of our fine fishing village turned fashionable vacation destination, the main focus of the project was on making the statement about how we have clearly come so far since the devastating BP oil spill that brought our local economy to it's knees this same time last year, leaving so many out of work and crumbling long time profitable businesses. A shock to our economy and an even bigger shock to us that what drew us all to settle here and value the area might be so easily jeopardized...and not by the hurricanes we usually work so hard to prepare for. The hurricanes were hard enough to deal with but we never prepared for this. The clean-up and restoration efforts made to return our snow white beaches and emerald waters to their immaculate and ephemeral state are quite obvious to the locals, renewing in us a more appreciative and protective attitude towards the incredibly beautiful place we call home. In this story, I could not help but find parallels to my own family's journey this year.
I remember hearing the news of the oil spill and although it was all over the television and noone could speak of anything else, I had too much "else" to think of at the time. I was sitting in a chair in the ICU by my 1 month old son's bedside, after what had been the hardest month of my life. That morning they had approached us about placing a G tube in our baby to feed him. They also planned to wrap his stomach around his esophagus to prevent reflux, of which he had never experienced. They told us they felt his diagnosis and the source of his symptoms was encephalopathy, a very vague term that basically meant brain dysfunction of some unknown origin, hypoxic event or disease or deficit. I was a crumbling mess.
This broken mess we were surrounded with was not unlike what had happened to our region after the BP explosion spontaneously caused massive damage with 100s of thousands of gallons of oil gushing into our prized Gulf waters and stealing the life blood of so many.
At that same time, Sam was my life blood.. my little angel hanging on in a storm of horrible events. I could not find it in me to even begin to grasp how much our lives changed in those moments after his birth. But God knew that as his children, we would eventually experience dramatic change of some form or another and, yes, pain but also hope and ultimately.. renewed life. And nothing could be truer. I am not the same mother I was in that cold hospital room, dealing with utter disbelief and weakness. I was the "why me" that I never wanted to be. But you have to be broken to be built anew and like the beautiful coastline and the wildlife that is struggling to return stronger this summer, we will overcome these unexpected and disastrous changes. We will be stronger for it and we will have stronger faith about what really matters in our lives.
In our community there were many people who have lived 2 miles from the beach for years but never really walked across the street to admire the beauty of crashing waves or to hike along the bayou and see gators basking in the sun.. it was just part of the background..taken for granted. Well, now they are sinking their toes in the sand. I hear it everyday. They are reclaiming the warm feelings of what brought them here or (as is the case with many military retirees) what made them stay.
I am not yet fully able to appreciate the whole meaning of Sam's journey but I do know it has changed my family and we are so much more appreciative of the gifts God grants us each day. The next step is finding a way to process some of the underlying unanswered questions and anger. It is buried so deep and yet, ever present in my mind. The "whys" and "what-ifs" could drive a person insane. So I park them in a closet and in my prayers I try not to ask God questions that won't heal Samuel or my family.
Our gulfcoast community is also still dealing with this raw emotion of anger as evidenced by the near daily articles about the wildlife damage left unchecked and although there are no tar balls or visible evidence of the muck and oil on our beaches or in the water..the muck is still hitting our pocketbooks and causing anguish as people try to feed their families. The anger is visible in the words of those navigating the complicated, slow BP claims process and then there are the frustrations over who is responsible for our lost wildlife or who will make sure it never happens again. Some of this will just have to work out in time. And that is the message in the sand for me today. We must give God some time to bring the shores up and rinse everything clean.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Status on Samuel: He is still having problems relating to the latest illness but in some ways seems to be turning a corner for the better. He had 2 shots of antibiotics and his ears seem to be clearing but the GI issues persist and he is very dehydrated despite the large volumes of fluids and continuous feeds he is receiving. Praying for relief from the abdominal pain and less periods of respiratory distress. Hoping tomorrow he might be ready to get some fresh air after this rough week spent mainly in his crib.