Late one summer afternoon, I was standing in the kitchen washing dishes. I could see my boys, six and nine, through the kitchen window attempting to play Wiffle ball in our big backyard. My husband, who was seldom home with his family, just happened to be there that day, stretched out, elbow on the arm of the couch, relaxing and watching TV.
I’d had a migraine all day but felt I couldn’t go lay down because of all the housework yet to be done. Instead, I kept telling myself, “I’ll be all right. I just need to make it till bedtime, get some sleep and I’ll be fine.”
Suddenly, my six-year-old ran screaming into the house. His brother followed after him crying loudly. My three-year-old daughter, though not knowing what had happened, very quickly added her voice to the chorus. It took a bit of time and effort to gather-up the details amidst all that surround-sound screaming.
My six-year-old had somehow managed to float the perfect pitch, which his brother landed squarely with the bat. That little, plastic, Wiffle ball flew right back toward him and hit hard, smack in the center of his eye. Finally understanding what had happened, I looked into his pupil, and I could see a large ball of blood inside. With all the nonstop screaming, the intense migraine, and the adrenaline shock of the moment, I struggled against feeling overwhelmed.
During the unfolding of this traumatic event, my husband simply chose to observe us all in silence from his reclined position on the couch. His unchanged posture and emotionless expression struck me as coldly indifferent and disinterested. He made no effort to comfort his frightened children or get involved in any way. Finally, I said, “Would you please get up and come look at this?” He walked over, looked at his son’s eye and said, “I don’t see anything. You’re just imagining it. There’s no blood there.” Even though he was color blind, he refused to take my word for it. He simply walked away and resumed reclining on the couch.
While the children continued to scream, cry and cling to my legs, he and I argued back and forth on how to proceed; he wanted just to leave it alone, and I wanted to call a doctor for advice. Though my husband seemed to have little trouble spending money on himself, I was often forced to battle his reluctance to spend money on his family. This time, however, I simply made the call to make the call; I finally just grabbed-up the phone and dialed the doctor, who told us to come to the emergency room right away. We all immediately left for the hospital.
On the ride to the ER, and throughout the examination, my son never once ceased his screaming. The doctor looked at me and with sadness in his voice he said, “His retina is detached. He’ll most likely be blind in that eye for the rest of his life.” The doctor then arranged for a room, and I stayed with my son in the hospital while my husband went home with our other two, still-crying children.
Both of my son’s eyes were covered in bandages and he was given a sedative, which could not be administered orally because he couldn’t stop screaming from the pain, yet it appeared to have no effect.
I sat beside his bed for hours listening to him scream, my heart in anguish, my head pounding. It finally occurred to me to pray, and so I said this silent prayer: “Lord, PLEASE help him and take away his pain. Don’t let him be blind. He’s just a six-year-old, little boy. He has his whole life ahead of him, and he needs his sight.”
I had also prayed, “Please, if You NEED someone to be blind, take my sight instead!” But then, I was hit with the sudden realization that I had just thought wrongly of the Lord, as though He was a critical, demanding, angry God who just snatches things away without caring. Again in silence, I prayed, “NO!!! You are a GOOD God! No matter WHAT happens with his eye, You are a GOOD God!” Then, I just sat there at peace, listening to my son’s screams.
About ten minutes later, the screams suddenly stopped. Silence filled the room. My son then said in a quiet voice, “Mommy? My eye doesn’t hurt anymore.” Faith-giant that I am, I answered, “It’s probably the sedative that did it.” But then, he answered back with a surprising, certain conviction, “No. I think God probably did it.” And, he instantly fell asleep. I sat beside him all night.
The next morning, the doctor came in and examined my boy’s eye. He then turned to me with a shocked expression, his entire body quivering as though from an electric current. He said in an excited voice, “I don’t know WHAT happened, but his retina is attached! His eye will be fine. We’ll keep him in the hospital until all the blood has reabsorbed back into his eye, and then he can go home.” His entire eye had filled with blood; no other color but red could be seen. It took about a week to clear, and from that point on, the results of every eye exam as been 20/20.
My husband had to return to work the next day, and my little girl needed me at home, so I finally had to leave my son for a while. I spent that week driving back and forth between home and hospital. Somewhere in the midst of all that back-and-forth, my migraine finally disappeared.
When the week was over and all three kids were at last home in bed asleep, I had sat down thankful to enjoy the restored peace and quiet when my husband looked at me from his chair and said with a smirk, “Well” (long pause) “YOU certainly don’t handle yourself very well in a crisis, do you?”