Natalie and I left Mitchell’s room as he drifted to sleep. Mitchell was slipping away. Everything was escalating and we knew time was running out. We both sat in the hall just outside his room and wept. Our tears came from a well of the deepest sorrows. I eventually looked to my weary wife … exhausted, frightened and heavy with grief. My heart broke even more because I knew this woman, who has the tenderest of hearts, loved her little boy in ways only a mother can know. The “fix it” father in me desperately wanted to make it all go away, but I could not.
There were many occasions that I prayed to God “Please, no.” I petitioned over and over that somehow … some way … my son would be spared. Yet, every medical intervention was riddled with peril. Too much was happening, too late. Every path was a dark path. Even still our prayers continued, “Please, no.”
At some point during my wrestle of the soul I received a distinct impression. After I had cried out what felt a million-and-one times “please no” I was finally answered with “please know”. What followed was a most unique spiritual experience. A peace and understanding had fallen upon my wife and me; and while we didn't have words to describe what we were feeling, we had a strong sense that we were being told “Please know, everything is as it’s meant to be. I've got this.”
Over the years I have come to understand that mortality, our life on earth, is a schooling the soul. It is an education that takes a lifetime to complete. There are books to study, things we must do, knowledge and faith we must acquire … and there are tests. Oh, there are tests.
There are tests of prosperity; what we do when the sun is shining and our pockets full or overflowing. There are tests of faith; what we do when the lights go out. Test of hardship; how we respond to our difficulties. Test of anonymity; what we do when nobody is watching. So many experiences we encounter … so many learnings, if we become students of the soul.
When I consider this hardship I pray that the child in my heart can rise above this profound sorrow. I know I can. And I will. But losing my son has broken every bone in my body, wrenched my soul and pulverized my heart. With all that I understand and have felt spiritually my heart still cries out for my son and I miss him terribly.
This hardship has taught me, however, that while I may plea to God “please no” … if the answer is no, I must change my plea to “please help me know.” That is the foundation upon which we grow.