"Have you ever played the game “Never Have I Ever”? I think I first played it a youth camp and I’ve played it countless times since then. It’s played in a circle with a chair for each person. There’s a person standing in the middle of the circle. The person in the middle says “Never have I ever (fill in the blank)”. An example would be, “never have I ever been to Disney World”. Then everyone in the circle that has been to Disney World must hop up and find another seat, including the person in the middle. Hopefully, the person in the middle finds a seat and a new person gets stuck in the middle.
Two years ago, I would have played the game like this – never have I ever received a phone call on an early Saturday morning with such devastating news, never have I ever watched my brother struggle to breathe, never have I ever learned how to move a person in a wheelchair up and down stairs, never have I ever celebrated Thanksgiving in one of the top rehabilitation hospitals in the country, and never have I ever signed papers making me Power of Attorney over my brother while my dad made a trip back home from Atlanta because he could make decisions for himself.
Two years later my responses are very different. I have received a phone call on an early Saturday morning with devastating news, I have watched my brother struggle to breathe, I have learned how to move a person in a wheelchair up and down stairs, I have celebrated Thanksgiving in one of the top rehabilitation hospitals in the country, and I have been given temporary Power of Attorney over my brother because he was unable to make decisions for himself at that time.
In some regards, two years has seemed like a really long time. There have been countless decisions made, countless changes have occurred, and countless phone calls made with family members, friends, insurance companies, and the like. Our lives have been changed and regardless of whether our Heavenly Father sees fit to heal Ryan’s body on this side of heaven or not, the last two years of our lives have been drastically different than we could have ever imagined.
Never have I ever thought any of these events would occur in my life, but they have. At times, we wished we could have reversed time and changed everything. Other times, we have dwelled in the moment and soaked up every minute of it. And still other moments have found us wallowing in circumstances, feeling like we were drowning at times with no way out.
Regardless of all the details, life is different for all of us. Just the other day I noticed a woman park in a handicapped spot and step out of her car in her stilettos and walk into a building. I felt my blood boil but two years ago, I probably wouldn’t have given it second thought. We live differently, we think differently, and we act differently, all because of an event that happened two years ago.
So many things have changed, yet there is one thing that hasn’t changed at all. We still find our hope in a Creator that despite our overwhelming circumstances is still with us every step of the way. He has extended grace to each of us with each new obstacle that has occurred. He has loved us despite our questions of why, when, and how. People have been placed in our path to help us along the way, not because of coincidence, but because the Lord sent them our way. We press on because we know that Ryan will be healed one day, perhaps this side of heaven and perhaps not. Regardless, we know that God works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). So despite all the differences and changes that we never could have imagined taking place in our lives over the past two years, we will seek to love Him and follow Him and allow Him to carry us through."