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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)

TITLE: About Mitchell
By Debora Dyess


‘This week's topic is "Joy ".’

I moaned and shut off the computer. Maybe I could write about someone whose name is Joy…or maybe I’ll just skip this week. It’s not like anyone’s keeping count.

I have no doubt that God is my rock and redeemer, or that Jesus is my savior and shepherd. I know the Holy Spirit lives in me. I feel His workings daily. But lately my joy has been…well, squelched.

In the past seven weeks I’ve been in a doctor’s office or lab twenty-one times. I’ve heard words like ‘tumor’ and ‘diabetes’ and ‘blood disorder’ and ‘ulcer’. I’ve watched doctors scratch their heads (no, not literally) and wonder and, I think, guess. If all this hoopla had been about me it would be one thing. But it’s my daughters, eighteen and fifteen; two different aliments, many different doctors, a bunch of bucks.

And, in the end, after seven weeks, twenty-one doctors visits, countless blood tests, tons of pills and an insurance company that really doesn’t like us anymore, the verdicts are…

“I think this is nothing but an overzealous young doctor looking for a big find with Stefanee…” (said the oncologist).

And, “Well, Meg is suffering from a couple of mean viral infections, a serious bacterial infection and a depressed immune system. The prescription regimen is eight pills a day, which is tough on a kid, but there’s no other way to get her well…”

Tough on a kid, huh?

In the middle of all this drama my oldest was arrested for theft. Four people are willing to testify that she was with them that day, but we have this wonderful opportunity to learn all about the legal system. Hooray.

My dishwasher broke, which shouldn’t be a big deal, but now I’m washing dishes for eight (which really is enough, by the way).

My husband is on the dreaded evening shift. I hate this shift. It makes me almost a single parent. And, patient though I may be, this isn’t the time to be any kind of single parent.

And the drama isn’t confined to our immediate household, either.

My sister called. Her husband, just back from Iraq, quit his job.

My best friend, who lost his mamma at the beginning of this year, called to ask for prayer for his troubled marriage.

‘Joy, huh?’ I thought as I walked away from my desk. ‘I think I’ll skip this one.’

And then the call came.

About Mitchell.

“Get to the hospital!” a terrified friend ordered my son. “Mitchell’s hurt! Real bad! Hurry!”

Currie arrived in time to watch them load Mitchell into the emergency chopper and whisk him to a larger, more capable hospital a hundred miles away. A neurosurgeon would be waiting, he was told. Our hospital grounds were full of big high school football players and friends, all crying and scared.

They drifted, first around town, and then, eventually, into our front yard. We counted almost twenty at one point, milling around, uncertain of where to put their fear or what to do with their grief.

My husband (just home from work) quietly assured them that Mitchell wouldn’t have been transported if he’d been unstable, and stability was a good sign. I went from group to group, hugging, consoling, reminding them that Mitchell had given his heart to Jesus just a few weeks before.

And we prayed. We prayed against everything I knew about brain injury; that no swelling would occur, that bleeding would be controlled. We prayed that the neurosurgeon would be competent, that he wouldn’t miss any bone fragments that pressed against Mitchell’s brain. We prayed the injury wouldn’t take Mitchell’s personality or intellect or spirit, and that recovery would be miraculous.

Around 3 AM most of them had either gone home or made pallets in our living room floor.

We drove up Sunday night and the kids were actually allowed to venture into the ICU to see him. “He looks okay,” they reported. “His face is swollen like a watermelon. It’s purple, he has this big gash on his forehead, tubes coming out…”

And he looks okay?

I had to stop later that night to ask God for forgiveness. I’d forgotten the basics—joy isn’t in the what, it’s in the Who. It doesn’t really matter what happens in our lives, but Who is in our lives.

When I forget again (I will, you know) I’ll remember Friday night.

And I’ll remember what God did.

About Mitchell.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Patricia Trimarchi05/26/06
This is great...I struggled with the topic also and did not put anything into it, but you really caught the idea from your experience...nicely written...love the title.Got lost on some characters tho...with that cleared up this is an excellent piece!
Debora Dyess05/27/06
Since this is definately not a contest winner I'd like to leave a comment on my own entry.
Mitchell got home form the out-of-town hospital on Tuesday after brain surgery on Sunday morning and went home on Wds. morning. He continues to improve, although he is 'bummed' because he cannot play any sports next school year. (Sound like a 15 year old boy to anyone else?)
His parents are not believers. He is the only Christian in the household. Please pray not only that Mitchell continues to improve but that his family see the truth behind his miraculous recovery from this life-threatening injury. Mitchell has only been a Christian for about two months and doesn't really know how to talk to them about Christ. I'm praying that this incident does the talking for him. Also pray for his girlfriend, who pulled him out of the water (jet ski accident) and carried him across the lake, unconscious, on her jet ski.
Thanks, Deb
Lois Prozorovsky05/28/06
Debbie, This IS a winner all 'round. You've gained prayer for Mitchell, his girlfriend, and his family--as well as your own. This was great testimony, and some of the most honest writing I've read!
Sharlyn Guthrie05/30/06
I really like how you told about your struggle with the topic, and then developed a story around it. Great job!