Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“I have often dreamed of a far off place,
Where a hero’s welcome would be waiting for me,
Where the crowds will cheer when they see my face,
And a voice keeps saying this is where I’m meant to.”
“Go the Distance” (Hercules—Walt Disney Pictures)
As I lifted her head up off my shoulder I could see that Ellie Kate’s eyes were wide-open, and that she wasn’t breathing.
Our younger Granddaughter, Ellie Kate, has had worse moments—life-threatening moments—in the journey of her young life. But even knowing that didn’t serve to make yesterday’s moment any less scary for me or her older sister, Hannah at the time those events were rapidly unfolding.
Ellie Kate was silently gasping for air—choking on a cracker which had lodged in her windpipe—after she thumped her head on the floor in an unceremonious conclusion to a spontaneous attempt at a cartwheel off the footstool she had been sitting on.
She’s fine now. But yesterday—for a brief moment which seemed much longer—Hannah and I were scrambling to make things right for her.
A few thumps with the palm of my hand on Ellie Kate’s back while dangling her upside down from my arms served to dislodge the now unwelcome cracker pieces. Then we were greeted with some welcome noise in the form of sobs into my shoulder. We addressed the bump she had experienced with a cold, soft compress held on her head—just so—by Gran. Then a sippy-cup of ice-water from Hannah and the three of us snuggling together to watch Focus on the Family’s “Adventures in Odyssey” seemed to settle her a bit more.
And finally, some sage advice from a dear friend—our son’s now-retired but long-time-pediatrician whose cell phone number is on my speed dial—allayed Granddaddy’s concerns about her ultimate recovery.
This Thursday, August 27, will mark five years since we waited anxiously throughout the early morning hours in an empty lobby of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa for the news of Ellie Kate’s birth. Instead, the news which came was of a labored delivery and ultimate Caesarean section resulting in our younger Granddaughter being confined for five days in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit.
Maybe that’s why today Ellie Kate scales the face of cabinets to sit on counter tops while hard floor tile waits below to catch any slip or misstep. Maybe that’s why she often refuses help saying “I can do it.” Maybe that’s why she unexpectedly launches her precious-little-self into cartwheels off of footstools.
But yesterday she couldn’t do it. She came up short. Way short.
She has before, but then I’m sure we can all identity with similar moments.
Yet even though I worry about and wish she would not do some of the things she does which create anxious moments for her Granddaddy and others, I realize that there is a bigger picture in all of that for all of us to embrace and understand. Not one of showing off or acting braggadocio that some of us do by taking unnecessary risks to try to get someone’s attention or demonstrate our worth to others or even ourselves. Ellie Kate of course doesn’t do that.
But a desire to try, to reach out, to become all you can be. That’s what Ellie Kate does. She probably doesn’t evaluate it from that perspective—but she does leave a trail for each of us to consider following in our own lives…
“I’ll be there someday, I can go the distance,
I will find my way if I can be strong,
I know every mile will be worth my while,
When I go the distance
I’ll be right where I belong.”
She’s not without her moments of caution and concern, though. Actually for me, those are welcome “breaths-of-fresh-air” indicating some degree of self-preservation. But she tries, she reaches, she’s even stubborn at times with her reliance on self—coupled with a beginning belief and understanding that God created her special and precious.
What about you? What “counter tops” have you always wanted to scale? What pathways have you always dreamed of following to some far off place, but your “better judgment” held you back from taking that first step? What footstools have you wanted to cartwheel from? What’s holding you back? Of course, you may bump your head, fall from the climb, or hit a detour or ditch along the way…but surely there will be someone to pick you up, a bridge to cross, or something to encourage you and to set your foot back on the pathway toward all you were created to be.
“And I won’t look back, I can go the distance,
And I’ll stay on track, no I won’t accept defeat,
It’s an uphill slope, but I won’t lose hope,
Till I go the distance and my journey is complete.”
The journey your life was meant to follow is before you. You are the only one who can travel it…the only one who can live it. That’s the way God intended it.
Isn’t that right, Ellie?
Oh, and Happy Birthday to you, our dear and precious Ellie Kate!
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2009. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.