and now my life-song sings [repost]
reposted from Monday, April 16th 2007, and now my life song sings: a story of my senior year
man, its been a wierd year. so many things, some seemingly good, some seemingly bad. when i stop and look back at what has happened to me this year, it brings back a specific memmory that sets the stage for everything that follows.
att he end of last year, i was sooo excited. junior year was almost over, Amor mission trip was coming up, summer was almost here! Everyhing was falling into place for the following year, everything was awesome. i was waling to class one morning outside when i ran into a friend and we started talking about church the following year. well, i was talking about the idea i had for the Middle School group, she was looking at me with a funky look on her face. that was odd. well, that night, Ben, my youth pastor, called me up and said “hey, i need to talk, can you some over?” i said “no i can’t, but how about tomorrow?” he said sure. the next day i pulled up at his house, and we sat down and he told me that he had been fired and was no longer apart of our church. at that moment, everything that i had thought about the my future next year and everything i had planned at the church immediately got put on hold and i felt like a large piece of me had been ripped out of my heart without mercy or remorse and a giant whole was left in its place. my heart sank when i learned that Ben and his family would be moving away from Hemet. this, as i look back, was the begining of a long road of events that would unfold over the next few months.
in july, the heart of the summer, we went to my diabetes doctor and told him about a new problem i was having. i had just gotten back from a pission trip in Mexico and ever since i got back i had been having servere musce spasms on my arms and legs. my muscles would randomly flex and it would cause my arms to jerk drastically, which in turn freaked the heck out of my mom. along with the arm and leg-jerking, my bouts of hypoglycemia were becoming lower and more frequent. the doctor said that this is very probable evidence of me having an insulinoma, a tumor of insulin-producing cells on my pancreas. he ordered a ct scan to view the pancreas and hopefully get a glimpse of this insulinoma.
The CT scan came back inconclusive because the guy running the scan really didnt know what he was doing. with a lot of frustrating talk from my doctor (including a lengthy description of how this was evidence of the floundering helth-care system), he ordered me to have an endoscopy. This is a big word that means they stick a camera on a stick down my throat and look around. this was to come in october. apparently, speed is not a word in the health-care vocabulary.
in the beginning of august i had been running around at school one day during registration getting ready for my senior year at Hemet High. getting my t-shirt, getting my schedual, my parking pass, my books, all that fun stuff. after registration i went over to a friend of mines house to hang out. while i was there, She pulled me into her office and said “Josh, God as a message for you. i’ve been getting this message for you for the past couple of days but i didnt know how to telly ou, i still don’t so, i guess i’ll just say it. you are going to be put through the refiners fire this year. god is going to refine you into the person you are supposed to be. now, im not sure what that means, maybe you do… but that is the message that i have on my heart to tell you.”
i was shocked. what did that mean? was it really from God? why a fire? is it going to be a fire? i was full of questons and confusion, but i did know one thing: when this year was over i was going to be different. but what did that mean?
well, after that my year started off pretty much like the previus years: chambers rehearsal before school started for 2 weeks, the first day of school, the school food, yada yada yada. BUT, this year was different… this year was SENIOR YEAR!!!!! i didnt come to school till 9am, i had a 2 hour break between 3 and 5th period… I only had 2 academic classes… IT WAS AWESOME!!!
then came the end of august, during seussical auditions. that wednesday there was a freak storm across the valley. hemet high flooded, the commons was under water, it was crazy! i didnt realise how crazy it really was untill i went home that night arond six o’clock and found out that the storm had ripped the eves off of the roof and flooded my entire house. within a day my room had become a breeding ground for mold, and the wals were litterally squishy to the touch. my life, for the next two months, had changed dramatically. My family had to move to a motel on the other side of town. I luckily was able to move to a friends house, but this still ended up being a difficult transition from what i had been used to. i forced myself to look at everything with a “could be worse” perspective, partly because there were some good things, but mainly because if i hadn’t i probably would have killed something.
during this time i was preparing for Seussical the Musical, th musical Hemet high was putting on this year. I had managed (in utter astonishment) that i had gotten the leading role of Horton the Elephant, heroin of the books from which the musical mainly follows. this was an incredible amoutn of work for everybody in the production. there were over 180 people involved in the making of the show, including a cast of about 75 people. the incredible time involved in having a part in this show was astonishing. i was in the theatre about 5 hours a day after school, and practiced at home (a friends house, not my home) about an hour a night. Seuss songs were in my head all day, i started to relate the Shakespear tragedy Othello to Dr. Seuss. Life, as i knew it, had become brightly painted pictures and cheesy lyrical songs dancing through my head. then, one day in october, the dancers missed a step.
The endoscopy that my Edocrinologyst ordered was not really my idea of fun, but it wasn’t terible either. they put me to sleep(ish) with drugs, shoved the tube down me (i woke up a few times and tapped the doctors face, and i heard him say “oops, nurse… more drugs!”, then everything went dark again), pumped me up woth air and looked around. the procedure, which was anly supposed to take 45 minutes, took about 2 hours. it turned out that the doctors found a “Large white mass” at the tail end of my pancreas. they took ten biopses (all of which came back inconclusive) and sent me home. My Endocrinologyst said that this was probably the insulinoma that we had been looking for and he sent me to the Chief of Pediatric Surgery, Dr. Don Moores.
Seussical came of Unbelievably well! the book was amazing, the show was incredible… it was the perfect validation of all of our hard work paying off. i felt so special every night when i walked out onto the stage at curtain call and hear that applause, saw those faces when i went out to meet friends afterwords. even now i am still recieving praise for my performance. i couldnt believe it. i had become “THE GUY” of theatre. people around school were coming up to me and talking to me and i had NO idea who they were. it was really cool! people who were in my grade that never talked to me because i was the “wierd kid” were now coming up and accepting me! but the acceptance that i had gotten would be short-lived because of what was about to happpen next in my story…
in november i got to meet with the surgeon, Dr. Moores. he told me that they would be opening me up, gently moving aside my stomach, intestines, and a few other organs to get to where my pancreas was, and then tey were going to cut off half of it. the recovery time, he said, would be about 8 weeks, and ther were all these complicatons that could happen. well, by the end of the meeting we decided to go ahead with the surgery, and we schedualed it for december 15th.
During the months of August through November i had ran into a road-block with the new youth leadership at my church. we were not able to communicate, I had trouble accepting the changes they were making to the ministry, and i didnt appreciate the level of disrespect people were showing during youth group, but i really didnt know how to voice the issues i was facing. well, at the end of november i had to stop being a part of the Youth Band because of Gig season with Chambers. Gig season was a blast this year, expecially now that i had a car! traveling around with Anthony, Brad and eth was so much fun! Driving with the windows down, blasting Hawk Nelson as loud as we could… IT WAS AWESOME!!!
But halfway through gig season, on December 15th, the day of surgery had come upon us. We showed up at Loma Linda University Medical Center at about 5:45 am, I got dressed (well, technically I got mostly undressed. I went from wearing pjs and boxers and stuff to were nothing but a gown… yay), and got into the bed. My mom said I was freaking out. They gave me a few doses of versed and I was pretty doped up J. About 7:30 they wheeled me back into a room that was white and blue and that was it. Blue cabenets and sheets, white floors and countertops. The last thing I remember is them putting in my epideral… and then the next thing I remember is waking up in the post-op recovery room.
I was in the hospital for 9 days, got released 2 days before Christmas. Christmas sucked last year. I could hardly move, I didn’t eat, and at the end of he day I took an antibiotic without eating enough food and I succumbed to projectile vomiting… YAY! Recovery was a long and drawn out process, I couldn’t really do much other than sit in the house and maybe walk around a little bit.
During this time, at the hospital and afterward, I thought that God had abandoned me. That He was not there, and I was alone. I Got so angry at god that I was in the situation that I was in, and I got so MAD at Him for letting get into that situation, I felt so bad that I just knew God must have left me.
Then I started to get better… little by little, I got better… and I could walk a little more, and I could go out with friends, and I could go to school a few hours a day, and I could go out MORE with friends, and I could spend MORE time at school… and I could eat more… and I was doing SO MUCH BETTER!
I tried out for the play The Miracle Worker, I got the part of Captain Keller, one of the leads… and I felt like I was on top of the world, I felt like I was finally getting back to who I was before……. And this was the problem I think. I had not learned anything out of the situation I was in, and then came another curveball.
I had been doing good, so GOOD! The pain medication was going down, the pain was going down… I was almost done. We were almost done. The Doctors were talking about the last visit I would have to make. And then suddenly… the pain came back again… slowly, ever so slowly…I stated to get sharp shoots of pain, then a dull ache constantly, then BIG sharp pains. And I told God (ok, im listening). The pain kept getting bad, until I told my mom I had to go back into the doctor or he had to give me some type of medication to handle this pain.
Well… I had a CT scan done and I was sent directly to the ER, and from the ER to a 26-day stay at Loma Linda Medical Center. Through this time at the hospital, I finally had time to, for lack of a better word, shut up, and listen up. Finally, I stopped talking… I stopped trying to have everything figured out, I stopped trying to understand everything, stopped dictating my life, and MOST of all, I stopped telling myself what God was saying and actually listened to what He was saying.
And finally, I started hearing Hi whispers. They were really only that, whispers at first, whispers of humility, of circumstance. And then, one day I heard God as clearly as a shout. God was saying to me something that I had heard and preached many times before, but apparently it never stuck or never made an impact until now, but finally god shouted at me and I heard it. I actually heard it. God was saying “every situation is a possibility for you to Honor God. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, good, bad, ugly, whatever, if you are a Christian it is your responsibility to use this situation to honor and glorify God, glorify He that is Worthy. It doesn’t matter whether you are getting a new car, giving away food at a homeless shelter, taking a test, or sitting in the hospital in loads of pain and overcome in frustration, it is your responsibility to give Honor and Glory to God through the way you handle going through that situation and the manner in which to interact with others.
I know it sounds simple, and I had told this to people before, and I thout I knew it, but it didn’t stick until god told it to me. And really, he didn’t scream it, he just spoke… but it literally knocked the wind out of me. In every situation, no matter what the circumstance, Give Honor and Glory to God through your actions and your thoughts. See, God Is always around, and its hard to really acknowledge that he is there, but he is. And it is every Christians responsibility to honor Him with every second of our lives, no matter what situation we are in. for the situation is not what matters, it is God that matters. Situations come and go, emotions come and go. The only unchanging objects in every situation you have are you and God. Everything else is changing. And we are called to Honor god with every moment of our lives, and honoring Him means Trusting in His love and power yes… but it also means trusting in His will. His will is not easy to live in, but there is no more amazing place to be than with Him, doing His will for your life. Even if His will takes you to a circumstance that might hurt.
man, looking back on what I have gone through this year, I can see how I have gone from feeling likeall i needed was God, to thinking I didn’t even need god, to times when I knew he was there and bad things were happening and times when bad things happened and I didn’t feel his presence, and now I can see how God has used the circumstances of my past and has humbled me. He has taught me that without Him I am truly nothing, and that no matter what obstacle I face, what new great thing has happened to me, or something cool I have done, or applause that is given to me, all of that is nothing more that pure blessing. Rick warren once said “You never know that God is all you need until God is all you have got”. I thought I knew what that meant before, but as I sit here, not sure what the future will bring, and not really having anyone around me that can help me, I look to God andi know that He is my only hope for Salvation and I look at Jesus Christ, and I see in Him my only hope for salvation, my only was to get to the Father, and my closest friend, without whom I am just dust, here one day, blown away the next. But with Jesus with me, I am significantly insignificant.
who am I to be loved this way?