We were about to finish dinner, I measured Vince’s blood oxygen level, it was perfect. And then I suddenly notice that something is not right, he has started crying. I ask if something is hurting, but he is signaling no. He says: Dad. I tell him Dad is having dinner with a colleague, and he is coming home soon. The crying continues and gets stronger, and I start joking that he only wants Dad, but now the irony doesn’t seem to work. Then I see it is turning into a crying fit. This has never happened before; Vince is a very calm and attentive little boy, even adult-like a bit who is able to assess the way things go. But now it is turning into a tantrum. I become imperious, telling him he needs to stop, or if he keeps going like this, we will have to suction a lot of secretion, and he has been much more sensitive to that since his chest surgery. But the crying keeps getting stronger, Vince’s limbs go cold, his blood oxygen level drops rapidly, and I just stand there helplessly, asking Jesus to help.

You could ask me now why He didn’t help and why He didn’t stop Vince’s crying sooner, so I wouldn’t have had to give him extra oxygen later. But I prayed when I saw that there was a problem. And on top of that I started the day by praying with my friend to ask for blessings on our families.

But God is not a wish basket from which we can pull a joker card any time we want. He teaches us love in a much more tender way. He desires for us to develop the kind of love that comes from our own decision, which makes us steadfast and doesn’t waver despite the present difficulties.  If you are curious about the type of love that is not of man, you can find it in 1 Corinthians 13, it is very complex! Perfect love doesn’t stand loftiness, the way I was when I thought I was the only one capable of handling Vince’s care. This time Vince chose his Dad, for the first time really after five years.

Real love ceases the moment the slightest form of anger appears. When I pulled out my educational intent to explain Vince why he shouldn’t cry (because the more secretion I would have to suction from his trach the more painful it would be for him), I was so full of anger due to my helplessness, I felt I could have smashed something. I prayed, but the love I portrayed in the name of care was only human. I wanted to solve the problem out of strength.

In spite of all this God helped, because His provision is without limits. He showed me that what I give is not love, but the one He does. Things could have ended with us running to the hospital as Vince’s blood oxygen level keeps dropping. By the time we get there he is exhausted, placed in the ICU, poked with needles to get the IV going, and in the meantime us parents fall apart, don’t sleep through another night and wait a week to come out of the hospital.

God’s grace is enormous, so it didn’t happen like that. Thank you Heavenly Father for your care and teaching me love at the same time!

I have seen it when a child drops down on the mall floor and his/her mother doesn’t even know how to react to the situation. There are a lot of possible solutions, but when everyone turns in for the night, it remains a simple tantrum, and all is forgotten by the next day. I was also part of this tantrum that every five-year-old does to test their parents’ limits. For us the ‘only’ difference was that the stake was not a toy that didn’t get purchased but the question whether my son gets oxygen or not.  However, people can really only learn when they experience great loss and that hurts deeply! This hurt me very much, hurt again, so I read the teaching afresh:

 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8