Oh friends and family, our hearts are broken at the burning down of Paradise! I’ve been silent here with updates as we process all that has happened and finally tonight my pen is flowing and I know it’s only by God’s grace. Our family is all safe but still displaced, and waiting to get a chance to be let back into town to see what is left of their homes. So many friends lost everything. The suddenness of this tragedy paralyzes us as we try to find the words to say to comfort and ask for wisdom as we step out to give monetarily and tangibly at a time of loss and devastation.
I can’t help but notice the parallel between our “BrainStorm” and the FireStorm that ravaged Paul’s hometown just days ago. Today, November 18, marks the day 7 years ago that would change our lives forever. That day, Paul woke me up at 5 a.m. with the worst headache he’s ever had and presenting left sided weakness. He said, “Take me to the Hospital, I think I’m having a brain aneurysm!”
Days later, we got the news, while driving home with our Christmas tree strapped to the top of our Honda Odyssey, that the MRI discovered a tumor in Paul’s left frontal lobe of his brain. In a flash, our lives changed. One moment, choosing our Christmas tree, taking traditional family pictures at the farm, singing Christmas Carols…the phone rings and BAM…a storm rages out of nowhere. No warning. No time to process. No time to prepare. We were about ready to enter the “Fire Swamp”.
Every time Paul’s disease progresses, it happens very much like the first time we learned he had a tumor. Out of nowhere. Life is going along as normal, then BAM, I get a call that Paul had a seizure while talking to a patient on the phone in the Call Center. He was being taken by ambulance to Morse Ave Kaiser and you should come right away.
He hasn’t been back to work since! That was Nov. 2 of last year.
We still don’t understand why things have happened the way they have. We can’t make sense of it. There’s no pattern or rhyme or reason to it.
I miss my strong husband. I miss his voice. His singing. Even his whistling. Sometimes life sweeps away good things in the blink of an eye and there’s absolutely nothing that can be done.
This is so much like the FireStorm called the Camp Fire that swept through Paradise; has it really only been 10 days?! I can’t help but think that maybe my heartache and sorrow can bring words of comfort and encouragement to you as you process the loss of all you owned and knew in such a beautiful community of amazing people that made Paradise what it was and is. It’s okay to cry.
It’s okay to grieve.
It’s okay to think this really sucks, because it does.
It’s even okay to not have the right words to say. Like me right now, I do not have any idea what the right thing to say is to comfort someone that just lost everything.
But what I can tell you is, that as my Pauly is being pulled away from the life he once knew, we appreciate and cherish every person who has reached out and fumbled over their words to show they care. We love every time someone lets us know they are praying for us. We feel stronger every time someone says we were on their heart at a specific time and realize that was a time we were maybe shedding a tear or sobbing in our pillow.
See, my friend, NOTHING catches our ABBA Father by surprise. He knows the way through our confusing circumstances. He forges a way through flames when they surround you and you feel like this may be the end. He goes before us when we are put on hospice and told that the Doctors have no other treatment plans…this cancer is rare…we’ve tried everything…we are sorry there’s nothing more we have to offer.
Abba prepares a way as Paul’s body gets weaker by the day. Just since Yosemite, he’s lost function of his right arm and in the last week, his right leg has weakened to where tonight for the first time he requested his walker be near the bed in case he needs to get up in the middle of the night.
The Holy Spirit, our Comforter, wrapped us up in His wings tonight as Paul cried in my arms saying he doesn’t want to be a burden. I sensed it, so I asked, and the tears flowed like a river. Jesus gave my mind just what to say as I pleaded to Him for how to encourage my husband…I said, “You know what, I feel privileged to have this time with you. We need you just as you are. You are valuable and the kids and I love you very much. Even as you’re changing you are precious. You are not a Burden. You are in fact a BLESSING!”
There are several times in a day that I don’t know what to say or do, or the right decision to make. Like today, what are Paul’s wishes for his bucket list trip… what would be most fulfilling to him? All he said was “I don’t know.” Then I remembered. He wanted to go to North Shore and we ran out of time. Crap I blew it. The whole lunch at Applebee’s today I was praying for wisdom. Should I drive him up there? I asked Paul.. “I don’t know.” Hmmmm. He seems overwhelmed and tired. Probably too much.
As I let go and trusted that Abba was with me in that moment helping me, I realized that whatever was supposed to happen would be. Complete trust. Then…it happened…Paul was able to communicate that he wanted to shop at Heavenly village instead. Phew. He’s happy.
Why did I stress? Well I wanted his bucket list trip to be about him and I wanted it to be perfect. Once I leaned into the Perfect One who created the very moment I was choosing to stress within, everything relaxed and fell into place.
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He WILL direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5.
If you have experienced loss in this horrible, rare, FireStorm, I’m here to tell you that God has a path through to lead you to good things. He specializes in making miracles out of hopeless situations. He loves you so much…actually…even better…For God so loved the WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting LIFE. John 3:16.
He has life planned!
He has forgiveness planned!
He has joy planned!
He has peace planned!
He paid the price so that…whatever you’re facing…He has the VICTORY!! He goes to prepare a PLACE for you. You are not forgotten in the chaos. He plans to calm the storm. Be encouraged and may you sleep peacefully tonight. I hear Paul snoring. Thank you Jesus for deep, restful sleep for all of us! I give you all the Glory and I pray your words, not mine, are heard through this post tonight.