We sit and we wait. We have been doing an awful lot of that lately. Today we are waiting for our son, P.J., to come out of surgery. For the past five days, we’ve been waiting for him to come out of a coma. For the past nine days, we have been waiting to see if he would live or die. For the past 19 years, we have been waiting to see what God would have in store for him someday.
On the evening of January 11th, P.J. suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 70% of his body. I hope to share with you through my blog, the details of his journey… the things I might not provide in a quick update… the emotions that our family members and close friends have been experiencing over these past 9 days and will experience over the next however many days, months, or years there will be on his road to recovery.
Before I tell you about the last nine days, here are some things you might like to know about the first 19 years of his life. In the spring of 1992, I met a lady at my company picnic. She was dating one of my coworkers and had joined him for the event and shared with me that she worked for an attorney who handled adoptions. One thing led to another, and less than a week later, we were making arrangements to adopt a baby… a baby boy who was due in 3 short months. WOW!
In August of that year, we became the proud parents of Philip James… Philip, meaning “lover of horses” and James, meaning “supplanter” – P.J. for short. P.J. quickly became our world. For the first seven years of his life, he was an only child. In 1999, when his baby brother Joshua came along, lots of things changed, but our love for this child grew stronger and stronger. Even at such a young age, he was a good big brother with a huge heart. Josh was a preemie and had to have many blood tests during the first couple of weeks of his life to monitor his bilirubin levels, and P.J. hated being there when Josh had to get “stuck.”
We had a perfect family unit — two beautiful boys and lots of love to go around. P.J. had a great childhood, playing T-ball, softball, soccer, and all the things boys like to do. When he reached his teens, he shot up over night and his physical appearance drastically changed. He became quite the looker (even if I do say so myself) and has always known how to use his charms to his advantage. He quickly learned that his sparkling eyes were a very effective way to manipulate me, and he’s used that against me ever since!
The last few years have been a struggle for P.J. to find his purpose and love himself. It baffles me sometimes how a boy that has so much going for him and is loved by so many people, could doubt himself so much. But I believe the enemy knows the threat P.J. imposes and has been trying to defeat him all this time. The good news is that God is on his side.
For the past nine days as we have waited for answers, our emotions have been up and down and all over the place. We’ve mostly received discouraging news… more damage than was originally thought, slow and little brain activity, lack of response, pneumonia, elevated heart rate, and body temperature issues (too low sometimes, too high other times). As we begin to get some encouragement from the neurological improvements over the last two days, we are cautiously optimistic as to what the future holds.
They say burns are the most excruciating of all injuries. They say losing your child is the worst pain a parent could ever experience. Here’s the conflict… What could be worse? Knowing your child is alive but in excruciating pain, or knowing that he’d be at peace with his heavenly father who loves him more than even you if you were willing to give him up. We are overwhelmed… overwhelmed with the current issues, overwhelmed with what the future holds, and overwhelmed with the number of people who have stepped up to help us in so many ways, offering childcare, help at home, financial support, blood donations, prayers, and more. We are blessed by the stories that family and friends are sharing about the amazing ways this child has helped them over the years… we had no idea.
These are the early days of P.J.’s journey to recovery, and yet the lives that have been touched and the hearts that have been opened are countless. Philip… lover of horses. James… supplanter. A supplanter is one who follows. The bible tells us in the book of John, that Philip, who later became an apostle, was skeptical at first. On the other hand, James, one of the sons of Zebedee, was one of the first to be called to follow Jesus. We believe that as P.J. sleeps right now, Jesus is saying “Come and follow me.” We look forward to learning in what direction the Lord will take him, and just how many more lives he will touch as his journey continues.
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