Tuesday, October 9, 2012

He Goes Boldly...

I help him step out of the truck, curbside at the front door of his middle school building, among the crowd of students waiting for the doors to open.  The usual greeting of the teacher or classroom aide who I hand him off to is not yet present.  It’s the day after a holiday and we have arrived earlier than usual.  I don’t wait.  As my 14 year old steps onto the sidewalk he turns and I help him put on his backpack.  I look one more time as the early crowd files in, take a solid breath, and ask him, “Do you remember where your classroom is?”  He points toward the door.  I say to him, “Alright, then go there.  Have a good day.” Off he lurches toward the door in his Corban style of walk.  I walk back around to the driver’s side but I don’t jump into the cab just yet.  I pause with one hand on the door and watch my son with cerebral palsy disappear around the corner of the entrance leading into the front door.  He goes boldly.  I wait for just a little longer then I get into the truck and slowly drive away.  My eyes glance into the mirror to see behind me, looking for him in case he decided to bolt back out of the school.  Then I go boldly.  The fear that wants to grip my heart tightly, loosens as I pry its fingers away and steel myself to the truth that I cannot always guide his every step.  Some days it seems easy to go boldly; some days, not so much.

Today…you go boldly.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Father Flattery

Father Flattery is this guy that I see occasionally; seen awkwardly at times.  Then a void will pass before he suddenly pops back into my life.  His most recent visitation was two weeks ago while I was working in the yard and looked up to see him standing on my front porch. He’s a small figure of a man, full of energy going off in different directions, his grin infectious.

I was honing my skills in using the week fork which is a sharpened V-shaped metal tip mounted to a three foot wooden handle, the right length for prying up those most stubborn weeds.  I had mounded up a large pile of weeds from the Bermuda when I happened to look up and see Flattery standing on the porch, leaning on the wooden colonial rail.  He’d been watching me for how long I don’t know but he was waiting for the look.  That’s when he made his move and stepping off the porch he made his way carefully down the steep driveway.

I can’t say that I blame him for standing on the porch, in the shade, because one look at my sweat covered face and clothes would give a normal person pause about coming out into the direct sun.  Flattery was now standing beside me and motioning for a turn with the weed fork, I handed the tool over to him and stepped back to watch.  Carefully and with two hands just as he had seen me wield the instrument he dug into the Bermuda, pushing the sharp tip into a green mass.  Then stooping over while holding the handle with his left hand he reached with his right near the metal prongs and pulled up a small patch of grass.  It was not weeds mind you, it was grass. 

I stood there, sweating, watching, returning Flattery’s smile as he turned his face to look over his shoulder at me with an expectant look.  The sound he made could be audible to anyone but only translated by me into the statement which he was making…”See dad, I can do it too.”

I am sometimes desperate for Father Flattery to show up but then sometimes I see him even when I’m not looking for him.  I think his message to me is to be expectant.  I wonder what Father Flattery’s message to you might be?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Shaping the lens...

Dr Angel Hernandez with Corban
two days after brain surgery
These photos are from 2005 when Corban was 6 years old.  It was his second brain surgery at Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.  The man shown is Dr. Angel Hernandez, a pediatric neurologist who directs Corban's neuroscience care still today.  The surgeries were performed by neurosurgeons Dr David Donahue and Dr Johnnie Honeycutt.

Six years later the scar is still visible though not as easy to see.  It's a simple reminder of a season of multifarious thoughts and feelings and it's times like this that bring out the boldness in me.  I remember following Dr Donahue out of preop to say that I had one more question I didn't want to ask in front of my wife.  He leaned his head to hear and I asked, "After this surgery will Corban be able to play the piano?"  He looked at me as I continued, "because he couldn't play it before."  A smile cracked across his caring face and while shaking his head, said, "That's bad, that's really bad."  And those are the last words I said to the man who was about to remove half of my son's right hemisphere.  But I knew the words on his mind were the ones he heard while praying over Corban earlier that November morning.

Imagine handing your child over to another while giving them permission to remove a portion of the brain and asking them to hand your child back to you the same as before, only better.  This is a part of the lens crafter's work as he increases my vision. 
Esther Amate, RN, EMU nurse and Betsy Bowen, CCLS,
have a laugh with Corban

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Will Corb run part 2...

Corban’s cousins, Hunter, eight years and Hayden, six years, head off down the long gravel driveway on their bikes, headed for the road. Corb takes off on foot, running as best he can, catches a toe, lands chest first. I walk over and call to him at which time he gives me that look that I know to be one of pain and basically a cry for HELP! Little arm outstretched, palm facing out shows me the gray dust from the gravel with a slight nick from a sharp rock or two. Lifting him up I ask if he wants to go down the road with the boys. He nods affirmative. Off we go, father and son, looking longingly to the boys riding on the road. We get to where they were, but they are now further along the road, turning around and heading back to us they pass, and so we turn only to walk back to them and this continues for several minutes. I feel Corb rest his head on the top of my head, arms draped to the sides.

How often do we long to be where someone else is, but we just cannot seem to get there without a lot of pain and frustration? Quite often, I’m thinking. We see friends advancing along at what would compare to our movement as light speed, and about the time we get to where they were, they are further down the road. Maybe with our jobs or finances or marriage or family or our worship we wish to be further down the road, with friends, not playing catch up. How great is it to have a father that calls out to us, lifts us up, dusts us off, carries us on his shoulders to get to where we need to be. It seems to be at that one moment, that point of realizing our helplessness that He comes, and is now able to give us what we need to get further on down the road. Funny how often I forget how I got there and start longing to be somewhere else. If I can just be patient, He will give me what is right for me. He will place me on the road in a safe spot where I can be happy, where I can see improvement. The road is still gravel it’s just not where I started out.

So I ask Corb if he’s having a good time on the road, up on my shoulders, and I feel his affirmative nod, hear a sigh. He’s all good knowing that even if he can’t be what he wants to be on his own terms, his Father will help him get there. Oh, to have his heart everyday and to be able to give my Father the affirmative nod when he asks if I’m happy.

October 2003

Brian Herrian <'((><

Will Corb run...

For the past few years now I have been watching my son's progress towards normality. I've come to realize that one of us has changed. Either he has, or I have, or both of us have, and it's probably been the latter.

Will he run? Yes he will. Corb will run, that is. Oh to have his heart. He loves wide open spaces. You can see the adrenaline release in his body when he hits the open flats...the aisle of home depot, the back yard, the fields at Integrity park. He runs, headlong, out of control, characteristically with one arm out in front and the other pointing back and down as if holding onto the reigns of some imaginary horse, galloping at top speed. Running across level ground is one thing but uneven ground is another. Subtle changes in the hard packed soil are barely noted in my walk, but to him they hold skin changing possibilities. Scuffed knees or elbows have begun to form and yet he still runs, falls, headlong onto the hard surface, catching himself with his chest. Tears should come soon but instead you hear laughter. He's not laughing at the crash and burn so much as he is at the ability to just run. Un-encumbered (wearing braces?), taking great strides (tight muscled gait). He runs, not away from something but to something? To freedom? To Joy? To Pain? Not to pain, for in spite of pain, he runs. He runs as if to find something, looking for it, expecting to find it whatever it is. Runs, falls, laughs, picks himself up off the ground, doesn't look back, runs again. Oh, to have his heart right now. To have his heart that says no matter what calamity comes my way I will get back up and keep going for it. To have his determination that he will get the important job done. To have his resilience...face the pain and go for it again. To be free. Free from what people think and wired into what Father thinks. To know the heart of God. To have the spirit in you so tight that you try to communicate, the message but the message just doesn't come out in understandable language. To know with certainty that the Father is walking or running beside you. Could it be that the laughter from falling onto hard packed ground is because he is falling into the arms of the Father and I just don't see it? Could it be the angels given charge over Corb are also falling and laughing. Is that normal? If that is normal, give me all of that you have left.

October 2003

Brian Herrian <'((><

We fall down...

On Wednesday when I went to Dayspring, the after school care place, to pick up Corban he was surrounded by a gang of boys, as usual. They were doing more than just kicking the ball around though. As I watched them and listened to what they were saying, they were encouraging Corban to run, to kick, to make the imaginary goal and as usual when I come into the yard, I say in a very loud voice, "Where's my Corban!" to which his reply is to run a few steps toward me then spinning and running as fast as he can in the opposite direction, arms flailing accompanied by squeals of excitement. I chase after him and the squeals continue. He wants me to pick him up and I go to hug him. Mom says not to carry him around in front of the other boys so we usually walk out on our own but always hand in hand. On this particular day, there were three boys that stayed with him on our chase around the yard and as they ran they were saying, "Go Corban." "Run fast." and then as if planned but it couldn't have been, they fell down, in succession, mumbling something as they did. They were not making fun of him, they were making him normal. Every day I am surprised for some reason at the types of people who love my son. He will be just fine, no matter what happens. I have to start accepting that I think.

October 2004

Brian Herrian <'((><

Deep Healing...

A very precise surgeon has cut a hole in my boy's skull and has plans to cut into his brain...that sounds like the opposite of healing to me but that is what his goal is in doing it. Cutting deep through a hard surface in order to help start a road to healing. That's what God does in my heart, he cuts deep through the hard stuff and keeps cutting...all in the name of healing. And just like my boy who still musters a smile and bounces on the bed with glee when he see's friendly faces, I want to see God in all of this. My Father has nothing but love for me.

November 2004

Brian Herrian <'((><