Don’t get ahead of God

Don’t get ahead of God. Stay present to the moment before you. 

I have needed these words this week, over and over again. A reminder to breathe, to not jump too far ahead, or to get swallowed up in fear.

This morning, as I listened to this beautiful podcast by Krista Tippett where she was  interviewing Father Gregory Boyle, I was so moved again of this concept of being present to the moment before me.  Father Gregory said:

“Whenever the desert fathers and mothers would get absolutely despondent and didn’t know how they were going to put one foot in front of the next, they had this mantra. And the mantra wasn’t “God” and the word wasn’t “Jesus.” But the word was “today.” That’s sort of the key. There’s a play off-Broadway right now called “Now. Here. This.” It’s “Now,” period, Here,” H-E-R-E, period, “This.” And that’s kind of my — that’s become my mantra. Lately, I’m big on mantras. So when I’m walking or before a kid comes into my office, I always say, “Now. Here. This, Now. Here. This.” So that I’ll be present and right here to the person in front of me.”

This weekend was filled with some encouraging steps forward for Ryan. His labs were trending in the right direction. He seemed more comfortable and a bit more stable.

But Monday morning’s rounds felt dark and disappointing.  Ryan’s blood pressure was getting lower and lower and not responding well to medications to stabilize it. Words like septic, GI bleed, and compartment syndrome were being thrown around. All of which are terrible.  Don’t get ahead of God. Stay present to the moment before you. This was my invitation as a wave of grief overwhelmed me, marked by tears and angst.

I sat near Ryan throughout the day, waiting and praying. Now. Here. This. Thankfully, by Monday evening, Ryan appeared more stable and many of the new concerns of the medical team were resolving.

At  7AM on Tuesday morning, Ryan decided he was done with the breathing tube and extubated himself. It was a little more than dramatic for all of us, including the doctors and nurses; but in the end, it was agreed to let him try breathing on his own with the support of oxygen. And he has tolerated it very well.

I could hold my baby again. Touch his face. Hear his cry. Watch him breathe.  Now. Here. This.

Ryan’s sick liver is dramatically improving (In one week, AST is down from 4000+ to 68, Bilirubin down from 19 to 9). Dialysis has been stopped, and we are giving Ryan’s kidneys a chance to prove themselves. I so want them to work. As some friends have put it, we are currently “yearning for urine.”

Not to be overshadowed by the hard, Sharon’s bone marrow is finding its new home in Ryan, and it seems to be thriving.

There is so much to hope, pray and wait for. And so we do – today.


8 thoughts on “Don’t get ahead of God

  1. Julie, I am in tears. Perfect, reliable, words for everyone as we strive in this life here on earth. I will treasure and claim, for myself, your mantra in my heart. Here…now…today…trying my best not to get ahead of God. Your precious family will continue to be in my prayers.


  2. I know you would rather crawl up in that bed and take Ryan’s suffering for him. A beautiful example of God dying in our place. Strength to go on believing, hoping and fighting for that precious boy.


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