the doors of life

The faster I ran, the further away the hospital room door seemed. I was living though one of those surreal moments when your adrenaline is pumping so heavily that the rest of the world seems to slow down around you even as you do everything in your power to speed things up. The extra time that this adrenaline rush afforded me gave me the opportunity to contemplate just how much my life would change the instant that I stepped through the door that I was rushing toward.

The U.S. Army has a number of what are called “Lock-Down” schools. Much like Basic Training, when you are sent to one of these schools you find that you are allowed only limited contact with the outside world, including your family and friends. I was attending one of these schools in March of 2002 when I received a Red Cross emergency message. Because of the limited contact allowed in a Lock-Down school, should one of your family members have an emergency, they are instructed to contact the Red Cross, who in turn contacts the Commanding Officer of your particular school so that a determination can be made regarding your ability to leave the school briefly to help with the emergency. Late one evening just prior to “lights-out” I found myself staring at one of these messages which simply read: “Your wife is in the hospital. She has lost the baby and is dying herself.” Half-an-hour later, I was running through Flowers Hospital in Dothan, Alabama trying desperately to get to the side of my dying wife.

Kate and I had been excited about the birth of Megan. We were looking forward to adding a new member to our family as much as any couple could. We had moved into a bigger home, decorated a nursery, and had even bought quite a few infant clothes in anticipation of Megan’s homecoming. As I ran toward that hospital room door, I was still in the midst of trying to process what it meant to lose our unborn child and could not even begin to wrap my mind around what would happen if I were to lose Kate as well. In that moment, there was only one thing that I knew for certain…the moment that I stepped through that door; life was going to change forever.

When I finally walked through that door, I was immediately confronted with a scene that I could have in no way prepared myself for. There in the hospital bed seated right next to Samantha was my very pregnant wife…and both of them were eating ice cream. Kate had endured an abruption, and while that condition is serious, it was nowhere near as serious as the message that I had received earlier that evening had indicated. I sat down on the bed and threw my arms around my wonderfully healthy and pregnant wife who…for the life of her…couldn’t figure out why I was crying so hard.

Often throughout life you will find yourself standing in front of a door. There will be doors that you are excited to walk through, and doors that you are terrified of. Sometimes you will find that those doors contain exactly what you expected them to contain. Other times you will find surprises, both good and bad. No matter the door that you find yourself standing in front of and regardless of what that door contains, the one thing that you can be sure of is that God is already standing on the other side of it, ready and waiting with open arms to walk with you through the change that your door represents. We all have to live through change…there is no choice about that…but we don’t have to live through it alone.

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