At the risk of sounding a bit clichéd, when we moved to the seemingly quiet and unprovakable township of Walker’s Vale, Pennsylvania in the summer of 2006, we envisioned a new start. Unexpectedly and quite abruptly however, our journey became a life altering event for all three of us. No, that may be putting it mildly. Perhaps "metamorphosis" may be a more appropriate word, and to some extent "actual".
I was a tired and a bit overwhelmed father, husband, churchgoer, and whatever else can fit into the mold of a forty-one year old burnt out "family man." My wife of eleven years was as appealing and unwavering as ever, even in the face of having to find new employment, raise a child with a handicap, and perform the often unthankful duties of being a mother. After being part of an “unfortunate situation” orchestrated by the doctor who was eliminating positions and cutting costs due to changes in the malpractice laws in our former state, Maria wasn’t bitter. "God always has something better," she would say. I at the time, however, did not believe that. I had eventually grown quite cynical and tired of the "lemons to lemonade" philosophy, especially after our daughter Liza was given the devastating diagnosis of a rare form of autism.
My daughter then, was the one single force in my polluted view of the universe that was unspoiled and purely uncorrupt. Since Maria had worked regular hectic hours for her former private medical practice, many times it was I as the primary caregiver for our daughter. I didn’t mind at all of course, though at times I did struggle. Liza needed parental support more so than a typical four year old would; so when my fledgling online sports card business began to allow me to work part time from home, we or should I say I thought a smaller home in the country would be ideal for her. My nine-to-five job was decent, the benefits were good, but my little girl needed me and I needed her. Additionally, I felt the time was right to pursue my goal of working full time at something I really enjoyed with the advantage of being my own boss. The added benefit of being there to help Liza pursue life as normally as possible would be icing on the cake.
Believing we could be free of most of the boundaries that life in the city created, would have been reason enough to move to the country. Plenty of fresh clean air, and void of the unwanted vermin that were beginning to populate in generous numbers back home, sounded wonderful to me. But then my wife was offered a position at a hospital just fifteen miles from the location of our prospective new home, only four months after she lost her job. I thought it must certainly be destiny or fate. I also heard echoing in the background of my thoughts my wife’s personal badge of honor; “God always has something better." Maybe she was on God’s personal hotline? I thought. Unfortunately my signal had been busy for years.
Although this new direction in which we were headed was a mutual consensus, and made sense for obvious reasons, it was me who pushed hard for the relocation from Delaware to Pennsylvania. Looking back, I believe it was almost an attempted escape plan, I suppose, from the cloak of heavy chains which at the time held me prisoner. Though I was steadfast in my convictions, I couldn’t ignore the guilty fact that I had my own secret agenda behind the scenes.
"The devil is in the details," at least that is what I’ve been told. I guess that could be considered another way of saying "pay attention to the little things – they matter." Now I’ve always considered that the smaller components in life are the most important because they are so often overlooked and even taken for granted. But to capture that phrase and have it take on a more physical or even literal approach would seem almost nonsensical. Then again, a lot of what I’m about to recount will seem imaginative or in the realm of fantasy or horror, but I’ll let you decide for yourself. I know that we do not war against actual flesh and blood, but sometimes the unseen can manifest itself through the visible. The devil is in the details; this I now believe.
In conclusion, after the events that occurred during the first few days we spent in Walker’s Vale, I have a renewed sense of love for my family, my life, and most importantly for my God. I pray that after reading my account you will feel the same.