Knowing that Michael has been struggling and in the hospital for the past three weeks has brought such sadness to my heart. Knowing the struggle it’s been for his family has added to that as well. And when I went up to visit awhile back, it was so very sad to see firsthand Michael, at the hospital, again hooked up to machines and struggling.
When you’re going through a difficult time, everything in life seems heavy. It’s hard to see hope and discouragement seems to settle in with an uncomfortable familiarity. But even in these times, we can fix our eyes on Jesus. We can know with certainty that He is faithful to His promises and that He is working good.
I texted with Sally a few nights ago. She shared that Michael will be transitioning out of the hospital after this weekend and that he will be heading to a new brain injury rehab facility upstate. We knew this was coming, but in her messages, I could feel that this transition was going to be difficult. It meant that Michael would now be over three hours away. While his immediate family will be moving up with him, of course it now means lots of transitions for everyone.
My stomach tied in knots thinking about Michael moving away. Over the past year, we’ve been able to see him well throughout his recovery with its ups and downs. But with him moving so far, I knew that our time seeing him would be much more limited. My heart was again saddened for his parents and his sister, wondering how this would affect them all. And finally, the uncertainties of the future seemed overwhelming as I tried to piece everything together in my mind.
But thankfully, this life is not all up to me to figure out. Thankfully, I realized, as we often do, how little control I had, but that I knew exactly who was in control. I slowly was reminded that God, who has been with Michael this entire time, would indeed continue to be with him and his family, in this new chapter of his story.
This morning, Jeremy and I drove up to Stony Brook Hospital to see Michael. And when we walked into the room, and we saw our dear friend Michael looking much better and much more peaceful, it was a beautiful relief. We met our friend Emily there, who was also visiting and caught up with Aunt Krisha who has lovingly and faithfully stayed with Michael each Friday morning. Our visit left me hope filled. Michael was resting most of the time we were there, but woke up at the beginning and then more towards the end. When we greeted him, we got to hear some of his vocal sounds and this was so sweet to my ears. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard Michael’s voice and it was very encouraging. We also got to hear it again at the end of our visit. Jeremy was praying for him, and he made noises again and again, this was so good to hear.
In Psalms, there is a chapter of verses that talks about the struggles we may go through. David writes, “O Lord my God I called to you for help and you healed me.” Later he shares, “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” He finishes the chapter by saying, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.”
Life holds moments of sorrow. But God will continue to bring joy. Today, driving home from the hospital, I thought about the Einfeldts. While sad that we would not be able to see them as often, I started to pray for the new traumatic brain injury rehab center that Michael would be at. I prayed for the new people that Michael and his family would encounter. Instead of being sad, I was hopeful. Hopeful that Michael might have a much better year filled with new therapies and new people to help him. I was hopeful that since the facility is much bigger, that Michael and his family might be able to encounter new resources that will help support their entire family. I found joy in knowing that God will continue to work in and for Michael and his family.
I know there are so many that have followed Michael throughout this journey. Would you once again, join me in praying for his family? Right now the plan is for Michael to leave on Monday for Upstate New York. His family will join him and we can pray for them all and the changes that this will bring. God has been with Michael the entire time. He’s worked on his behalf and I believe that He will continue to work great things into Michael’s life. When I softly shared these truths with Michael today during our visit, I was so thankful to see his quick double blink of response as soon as I said the words. It gave me great comfort that Michael knows that God is with him and I pray that this is something that he and his family will always know.
In some ways, today felt like and end to a very long chapter of Michael’s recovery story. But I know that it’s not an end, but a beginning. I will continue to share updates as I’m able and I know that our family looks forward to going up to visit Michael after he is settled in to his new facility. Thank you so much for reading and praying and for being a part of Michael’s journey as well.