|One cannot fully appreciate what they have accomplished until they look down and see just how far they've come...|
|The journey of a thousand curse words & complaints begins with a single selfie...|
This is my step.
And why that despite so very many thoughtful friends urging me to write a book, I could never. I am constantly growing, maturing, changing. On each of my blogs, I strive to be relevant - and in doing so that often means going back and reading what I shared - and adding to it wisdom learned - thoughts made clearer. As long as there is breath in me, there will never be a "the end" and a period. Nothing in my life is that definite. Finite.
These blogs, my facebook posts, are my ministry,
But I digress.
Back to my mountain...
My Navy-son took us to a remote training location used for teaching SERE students how to "Survive" "Evade" "Resist" and "Escape" enemy capture. When they say "Remote" - they really do mean "R-E-M-O-T-E" ---as in no trails in the mountain. No facilities, no help, no one anywhere near there, nothing. While he could not tell us anything about his training or experience in SERE as a student or now as an instructor, it was an awesome experience to see a glimpse of where he spent, and spends, his time in the Navy! Todd and I have loved that aspect of our son's Navy journey -- that we have made it a priority to at least be near, if not where, the most torturous parts of his journey occurred. We spent a week on the very beach and the very jetty and the very ocean that he endured BUD/S "Hell Week" on, over, and in. We spent an entire day on the very mountain he had to survive SERE school "finals week" on.
It's probably a good thing that I didn't fully comprehend what exactly Matt meant when he told us he was taking us to the mountains in the Navy remote training site for a hiking adventure. He wanted to take us to the peak where there is a rock and an American Flag and a book that the few who make it there sign their name in.
If you look at the pictures at the beginning of this writing, the last one is from where we began our journey. The highest of the peaks you see waaaayyyyy behind us was our destination. The flag, the book, was on that highest peak. But first we would have to follow a sandy riverbed that was challenging in itself. Walking a few miles in soft sand that slowly inclined was not the easiest way to begin an arduous hike up a mountain with no trail.
I guess to describe our little group hiking would be to say that Matt scaled the mountain like a "graceful gazelle" and I felt more like a heaving hippo having a heart attack with each step. Todd was in beast mode somewhere in between!
There was no shade on the path we were on. I can't say trail because there was no trail. We just had to literally forge our way there by following natural erosion openings in the brush and rocks. That there was no shade and that Todd was getting altitude sickness necessitated that we had to make the decision to go back down after we reached the first of many "false peaks" before reaching "the" peak. We were close, but no cigar. I asked Matt how much farther, and he would look at his gadget and assure us, "one mile...". I think though, that was more "as the crow flies" than "as the fish crawls!" Team Guppy is all for one and one for all. There would be no leaving anyone behind. While I do feel that eventually I would have made it with Matt being a "Suck it up buttercup!" drill sergeant, we would have had to have begun our journey much earlier to allow for my inch-worm crawling and clawing my way to the top. At my pace we would have reached the peak near sunset, and we had no flashlights to help guide our way back down!
While I was disappointed that we had to turn back - once I dared stand up at the peak we did make it to - the view around me was just breathtaking. The first two pictures above are the view from where we did make it.
I could be nothing but proud of making it that far. As hard as it was, as terrified as I was in climbing the steep parts, it was so worth it.
And I think that is the point that was so profound to me. That was such a personal "a-ha" moment for me in my "Life with Autism, Seizures, and a side of PANDAS."
When Brandon was diagnosed with all that he is diagnosed with because of his vaccine injury, it was like someone dropped us off at that remote training site. No trail, no map, no help, no nothing. With few exceptions, we were simply left to forge our own trail and painstakingly find a way to the peak of that mountain of healing, independence, -- whatever the goal may be for each vaccine-injured person.
As the title of my blog states, very much a journey from hell to HOPEISM.
So very often in this journey and the one that day on the mountain, I felt I could not go one more step. Endure one more moment. One more second, minute, day, week, month, year.
Yet like that day for me on the mountain, as hard as it was, as scared of heights as I am, I did manage to crawl one more step than I thought I could.
And I was so proud of that.
None of us on this journey give ourselves enough credit for that.
Most, like me, give ourselves no credit.
All we see is the climb.
Never the view.
I think for the first time in this life, that day on that mountain, I understood exactly how Brandon's life has forged my own.
Not that "we" in this life of vaccine injury are any better than anyone else - but we are deeper.
We are much deeper.
The realization of that seemed to take a world of inadequacy off my shoulders. It was no longer seeing all that I can't do or be because of the constraints of vaccine injury - it was look at how much we dare to do with the few precious moments we have free from the constraints of caring for someone with vaccine injury. We do more, feel more, embrace more, endure more, and are thankful for more.
A New Year's Devotional from Max Lucado was titled, "A View of Heaven" and described this personal discovery I had so perfectly. Those who do not live the life we must will be inspired by his words no doubt.
But to those who live the life that I live --
I hope it serves to bless you in knowing just how deep you are. How you already know and experience the last sentence in what I am about to share...with each skill learned, each new morning of hopeism you wake up with after each sleepless night of hell, each new treatment that works, each healing experienced...each day on your journey...
A View of Heaven...
I will make all things new. New hope. New faith. And most of all new love. The love before which all other loves pale. The love you have sought in a thousand ports in a thousand nights. This love of mine, will be yours...
Max Lucado reflects on those truths:
What a mountain!
Jesus will be there...
Believe me when I say that it will be worth it.
No cost is too high.
Whatever it takes, do it.
It will be worth it.
One view of the peak will justify the pain of the path.
I cannot put adequately into words what that day on that mountain and that morning reading those above words meant to me.
How it changed me and the view I had of the drudgery of my daily life.
All I could focus on in 2017 was the pain of the path.
Then on 12/27/17 at the very end of the year, that mountain, those words.
Finally, I could appreciate that one look at the view.
All the good that this "Life with Autism, Seizures, and a side of PANDAS" has brought to our life that truly counts...
And for but just a brief moment in time, forget about the pain of the path.
~ ~ ~
They don't know how to do it.
And above all - they never wanted to have to.
Unlike Team Guppy that day, they didn't choose to go to a remote training site and climb a mountain with no trail and no map and no help and no peak in sight.
They weren't given a choice.
They had to find a way up that mountain.
And no matter how long it takes, how many setbacks, quitting and going back down is never an option to reaching that peak.
That peak where each of our children's names are written in the blood, sweat, and tears of those who never left their child behind. Of those who carried them, albeit kicking and screaming, all the way from hell to HOPEISM.
And who do it each and every moment of each and every day.
What we attempted that day was good.
That our Navy-son Matt actually made it there was better.
But what each warrior parent does each and every day in caring for their child with vaccine injury, autism, --- is far GREATER.
|Few names are in this book at the peak of "SERE Mountain" at the Remote Navy Training Site. While I did not make it to do that, I can smile in that perhaps my name is written in a more important book: God's book of eternal life.|
|My Navy-son Matthew did make it to the peak.|
|I may not have made it to "the" peak, but the view from the peak I did make it to was pretty amazing...|
|Navy-Matt at the peak.|