Saturday, April 24, 2010

Prayer is Awesome

My sister-in-law, Kim, told me a story tonight from her trip to Maryville, as she interviewed to attend college there just a few months ago. She went back today to make it official and sign up for classes, only to run into the same lady who interviewed her a few months ago. Part of the interview process was to write an essay, and Kim tells me she wrote about Ryan. The woman that Kim interviewed with did not admit it until today, that when she was interviewing Kim, she knew Ryan already. She is friends with someone who is friends with Chris and Pat, Gretchen. Gretchen had asked for prayers for our family, and that request reached this particular person, who told Kim today, that she keeps our family in her prayers. What an AWESOME thought to think just how far prayers can reach. Much farther than any of us imagine when they are first spoken or requested. Thank you Gretchen, for having the faith to ask for prayers on behalf of our family, and to this woman, whom I do not know, for praying faithfully for us. Thank you, Kim, for sharing the story with me. I love you!

This story prompted me, for some reason, to look back at old blog entries from when I first found out I was pregnant with Ryan. The smile on my face says it all, the words typed on the page from my heart. The end of the entry where we announced we were expecting again, talked about how we were strong in faith, and that all we really were hoping anyone would pray for, for us, was a healthy baby. When I read that, I wondered, does that mean our prayers were not answered?? It is hard admit that, no, they were not. But, that isn't the point of prayer is it?? It is not wrong to ask for what you hope for, or to let God know what is truly in your heart, even though he already knows. But, our requests may not always be His will. I think, the sooner we all let go of that need for control, the sooner we can all glorify God for all his good and spend more of our time seeking goodness in the blessings he has given and less time being angry for what we do not have. Trust, have faith, seek His plan for you, and there lies happiness.

~feeling insightful


Kim said...

I remember the day he was born: January 27, 2009. As I looked at him with his arms sprawled out and the diaper protruding over his belly button, the tubes surrounding his body were inconspicuous. Despite being five-and-a-half weeks early, Ryan was perfect, absolutely perfect.
After ten days in the hospital, Ryan came home weighing a hefty four pounds fifteen ounces. Chris and Jenn saw a bright future ahead of them, one filled with laughter at each witty comment that slipped out of his mouth, with joy in seeing his big smile once he mastered the art of shoe tying, or with the pride of watching him marry the girl of his dreams. But as days progressed, it seemed someone had hit the reverse button on Ryan’s health. His actions had minimized to simple arm movements and his cry was now a weak, soft whimper.
Concerned, Chris and Jenn took him into St. Johns Children’s Hospital in hopes of finding a cause. But after a two week stay at the hospital, Ryan returned home undiagnosed. Unable to swallow, doctors had to insert a feeding tube down his nose emptying formula into his stomach. The double chin and baby fat rolls on his arms and legs showed that weight was not the major concern for Ryan’s health. He was struggling to keep his oxygen levels up, so doctors had to place a tube in his nostrils to keep his inconsistent stats up. As I watched his chest move up and down, with each breath being a struggle, my heart broke one piece at a time. I did not understand how this could happen to my family. I did not understand how this could happen to an innocent little child.
On May 27, 2009, we received the news that completely shattered my heart. Ryan was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy: a genetic disease affecting his motor neurons, causing his muscles to deteriorate. Eight out of ten children with SMA do not live to see their first birthday. There is no cure.
Tears ran down my face and my body trembled as I tried to grasp this incomprehensible fact. Ryan, my four month old nephew is going to d- d- die? I would never get to see him crawl, walk, or even master the art of shoe tying? I would never get to teach him to kick a soccer ball or watch him tear open his monster truck on his birthday?
I felt like I was stuck in a terrible dream. I wanted to flail my limbs around like a stubborn three year old. I wanted to wail until my voice was gone. I wanted to scream at God, “How could you? He is four months old! What did he ever do to you? Who did he ever hurt? Why Ryan!?!”
As I looked into Chris and Jenn’s tear filled eyes, I saw the helplessness they felt watching their child fight to survive. I saw their trepidation at missing out on memories with their son. I saw the fear of forgetting him. I saw confusion in trying to figure out what went wrong. But I saw no anger towards God. I saw relief that when he goes, he would no longer be suffering. I saw hope that through him we can find a cure to help other children with SMA. I saw strength because they know he will be with our Creator in heaven. I still see it in them today.
On July 31, 2009, my brother and I carried Ryan’s casket down the church aisle. Knees weak and arms shaking, we placed his casket into the hearse. Then the truth hit me smack in the face. Gasping for air I fell into my brothers arms, unable to control my emotions. Ryan was gone forever.
Thinking back on that moment, I truly thought Ryan was gone forever, but as time passed my belief has altered. The anger I had at God turned into relief and joy. Ryan’s physical presence here on earth will never be felt again, but spiritually he was more alive than ever. That perfect little body I saw the day he was born is truly perfect now. I like to think God will teach him how to tie his shoes one day and that big beaming smile of pride will slide across his face; the one Chris, Jenn and I yearn to see. Maybe the angels will teach him how to play soccer and when I enter the gates of heaven, we can play. All I faithfully know is he is up in Heaven no longer suffering. Ryan Michael Hawn is now at peace through God.

Kim said...

So I know I showed you the rough draft of the essay I wrote about Ryan but I don't think I ever showed you the final copy of it. I read this essay during Writer's Week at my school and had question after question about him from teachers and other students. I also used this essay as my acceptance essay for the Physical Therapy program, which I got into, and for the scholarship, which I was a finalist in. It is definitely my best pieces of writing but then again how can it not be when you are writing about something to special....

Mary Grinstead said...

I am Gretchen's cousin, Mary. She also told me your story several months ago. At one point, information for your trivia night was posted on your page and she sent me the link. Though I wasn't able to attend,I was so touched by your story that I occasionally check back to see if there are other events. I've never commented before, as I wasn't sure you'd be comfortable with someone you haven't met knowing such a personal story. I wanted you to know that I too pray for you and I think that you have an incredible strength to reach out in your own grief and continue to help others. Both of your children are incredibly precious. God Bless!