A Heart Broken Open

14 April MMXVI

Last Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I found ourselves in Urgent Care with our then four-year-old. She had been repeatedly vomiting for over 24 hours and we were getting concerned.

For several hours, the life was frightened out of us. X rays were done looking for “abdominal masses” and there was mention of brain tumors causing uncontrolled vomiting. I held my tiny sick girl in a gurney with Jimmy in a small chair next to us for what seemed like an eternity. I kept vigil watching the door to the room we were in that was not much larger than a closet… hyper aware that each time it cracked open we might receive news that would jerk the rug out from under us and change our lives forever. I clearly remember that swallowing was an effort during those hours and that I had to consciously remember to breathe.

By the very early morning hours a doctor who ended up looking a lot like an angel to me entered the room to tell us that none of the scary things they were looking for had been found…that our girl was going to be fine after some rest and a lot of fluids.

Within no time our baby was chomping chips with her Godmother and enjoying the fuss that was being made over her. Once she was snuggled in to rest in front of “Frozen” with a tiara on her head, I fell apart.

This was not unexpected. I typically navigate crisis with a perhaps too- stoic calm. But when its threat passes, I collapse.

The tears came the morning after our urgent care trip. And they came and they came and they did not stop. For days they did not stop.

In an attempt to comfort me, Jimmy reminded and re-reminded me that our baby girl was FINE. He did not understand my ceaseless tears. I did not understand them either.

It took several days before I could somewhat begin to put their source into words. I attempted to explain them to one who rarely needs me to explain myself. I confided in a dear, maternal friend that what my husband did not understand was that my tears were no longer only for our baby who was okay. They were for the babies who weren’t and for their Mamas who had to helplessly witness them suffer knowing there was nothing in the world they could do about it. Something deep within me was grieving for sick children I did not even know and my heart was breaking over and over again for their mothers. I could not get past the heart break and I did not know why.

Until a few weeks later when Song-Felicity’s file showed up in my email in box. Until I learned her story…how she had a heart that was too sick for her China family to fix with their resources and how she had been left when she was nine months old out of a desperate hope that someone could give her the medical care that they could not. I was beginning to glimpse that God had allowed me to taste the anguish of watching my daughter briefly suffer so that He could break my heart open enough to receive her sister into it from across the world.

The part of my heart that broke open that frightening night will now perpetually break some. A space was cracked open within it that cannot be closed this side of eternity. And the font of tears that springs up from that break within me will always remain just beneath my surface leaking out due to nothing more than a thought of Song-Felicity’s China family or the multitudes of families so very much like them.

I suspect that I may never cease contemplating how my heart was broken open for one daughter so that it could receive another one…how in a single evening in a sterile closet of a room God prepared me to recognize and receive the daughter He had already chosen for me across the world…the one He was only days away from revealing to me. And it makes me ponder what remains within me that needs to break open so that I can recognize all that He still desires me to.

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