Today I was riding in the car with Ben and we were talking about how he wants so desperately to work; particularly in the field of music. I wanted to encourage Ben, but at the same time I do believe that one of the reasons he’s been seizure free for so long is because he doesn’t have the stress of working. In an effort to help him understand the unbelievable challenge of the past two years, I strongly stated: “You don’t really understand how difficult it’s been with you working and having seizures. The past two years have been hell!” (profanity used to emphasize my point). I didn’t know if my words would upset him or discourage him. But Ben just looked at me for just a moment, and responded with an ironic smile, “Maybe Hell is worse.”
I share this story to illustrate what a wonderful, positive attitude Ben has had for the past few weeks. The kids and I have been moving full-throttle ahead going back to school and to work, while Ben is, well…home. He is not working, he’s not driving, and now that his brain is calm and he is fully recovered from the last round of seizures, he is starting to become genuinely bored.
“Self-pity is not a flattering accessory.”
I am so thankful for a husband who is trying hard to maintain a positive attitude and please God in this season. I am thankful that Ben is leading our family in trusting in the Lord during this time. I know that this is not an easy time for him, and that it’s hard for him not to feel self-pity. If Ben were actively having seizures, he might be able to understand a bit more why he is not working. We praise God that he’s not having seizures (yes! yes!). But it does make this time in our life somewhat perplexing for us.
Would you please pray with us that God would show Ben things that he could do in this season that would be fulfilling for him professionally, but would not lead to seizures?
I will close with some other wonderful, quirky things that Ben has said regarding his health condition. Now that I think about it, Ben does have a way with one-liners:
- One time when Ben was in the throes of a seizure cluster, our pastor was praying for him. Ben had been having seizures for days, and he was tired and worn. Our pastor gently put his hands on Ben’s shoulders and prayed to the Lord, earnestly asking God to stop all “brain activity.” Ben quickly interrupted the pastor’s prayers and cried out, “Not ALL!” (so our pastor prayed to stop abnormal brain activity)
- Another time we were in a meeting with some musicians from our church, discussing plans for our Music Academy Summer Musical. Everyone in the room knew Ben well and was familiar with his memory problems. One person referred to how we had done things the previous year, and the director said “Oh well…hindsight is 20/20.” Ben looked at her angrily and strongly stated, “Not for EVERYONE, Patti!”
- A few weeks after he had his status seizures in 2004 and lost his memory, Ben and I were in the house with some friends. There was a lull in the conversation during which Ben violently sneezed. His sneeze was so loud and forceful that we all looked up, rather shocked. Ben also looked surprised, and then proclaimed loudly, “My memory is back!”
Thank you, God. For laughter in the midst of tears. For joy drawn from Your presence never leaving or forsaking us.