Today, the Proverbs 31 daily devotional, written by Marybeth Whalen, was about fear. Having faced every woman’s greatest fear, (the death of her spouse) I know this subject all too well. That’s why I’ve written a book on the topic. Inside, the first chapter opens with my story. While I can’t share it in its entirety, I’ve can give you the story at a glance.
“My life was a fairytale. First, I became a wife and now I was a mother. I was living my childhood dream just as I had planned… until the night Porter didn’t come home.
Dinner was getting cold. I was pacing the floor with the baby on my hip wondering where he could be, when my father knocked at the door. Immediately, I could tell something was wrong. “What is it, Dad,” I asked cautiously?
“Porter has been in an accident,” he said with regret.
I didn’t stop to consider that Porter could be seriously hurt. That was simply out of the question. Instead, I quickly phoned a friend to keep the baby and concentrated on packing the diaper bag with everything our son might need.
Once our son was settled at the babysitter’s house and Dad and I were on were on way to the hospital, there was nothing else to occupy my mind. I couldn’t help but think about the accident. “How bad is it?” I asked dad, searching for clues in his face.
“I really don’t know. I think…well…what I mean is I’m not clear about what happened. The neighbors said there was… uh…some sort of explosion. We’ll know more when we get there,” he replied, stumbling over every word.
Earlier that morning, Porter had gone to my brother-in-law’s house to help him waterproof his basement. The day before, my brother-in-law had dug a seven-foot ditch around the foundation of the house with a backhoe so that Porter could apply the waterproofing substance to the outside wall. Realizing the substance was highly flammable, Porter felt confident that working outdoors would allow the fumes to escape preventing any danger. Unfortunately, as they worked the fumes mounted in the ditch. With only five feet left to finish, the outside heating and air conditioning unit clicked on igniting the fumes and the ditch exploded. The blast of fire left Porter and our brother-in-law badly burned over the majority of their bodies.
When my dad and I arrived at the Burn Center, my mom and sister were already there. The nurse escorted all of us to a small room where the doctor tried to prepare us for what we were about to see. His explanation was quick and to the point. My brother-in-law had been burned over 40% of his body, yet they expected full recovery. On the other hand, my husband had been burned over 80% of his body both inside and out. They gave him a fifty-fifty chance to survive.
To prevent blood poisoning, the doctor preformed a surgery called skin grafting. The wait was long. It was so long that my mother became suspicious of the elapsed time. She encouraged us to eat the sandwiches our church family had brought. It was the last time that I remember eating for a long while.
Later, the doctor, still in his surgical clothes, walked slowly into the waiting room with his head hung low and his shoulders slouched. No one spoke a word. He slowly bent down in front of my chair and began confirming my worst fears. “In the middle of surgery Porter went into cardiac arrest,” he explained as gently as he could. “His burned body was unable to withstand the trauma of surgery and it shut down.”
When the funeral was over and the people were gone, I found myself alone, a new mother, and a widow at the age of twenty-one. How would I get through this crisis?
The newspapers called me a survivor. On most days I didn’t feel like a survivor, but I had survived. I had lived through my worst fear. But that didn’t mean I would never fear losing another loved one. I do. That’s not all. Every time someone fails to call me when they are running late, I begin to worry that the worst has happened. Is it right for me to be concerned? Are my fears legitimate? Probably so, but the good news is I don’t have to live afraid and neither do you.
Our present day fears are fueled by our past experiences. Nevertheless, God doesn’t want us to go through the rest of our lives justifying our fears. Nor does He want us to live behind some protective wall that shields us from what might happen. God wants to teach us that it’s safe to trust Him. Even if we don’t have all the answers our past will never make sense until we invite God into our present. Then we will see He has been there all along.”
© 2009 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.