My littlest brother, Joshua, was born with a condition called tricuspid atresia. More information on that can be found at this link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002100/. He has already had two surgeries, one at nine days, the second at six months. On July 31 he will go in for what should be the last. It's called the Fontan Procedure.
It's been three years since I last felt this kind of desperate, emotional stress. I always knew that he would need another surgery, but I had forgotten the fear that comes with it. It is constantly at the back of my mind, whispering of the fragility of life.
He is so small. He is so innocent. He is so full of joy and everything that is good. He loves parrots and trucks and Buzz Lightyear. Why him?
Logically I know there is nothing I can do, but my heart weeps to aid him. I want to lie down on the operating table and let them cut open my chest. Leave his alone. Let me feel the pain, let him be healed.
He is not afraid. He doesn't understand what is risked, what is out of necessity coming. I do, and I am. I am too afraid to pace, too frightened to cry. Every prayer I offer is pleading and urgent and focused. "Bless Joshua. Bless Joshua. Lord, bless Joshua." Over and over.
The doctors stand ready to do battle with my brother's heart, wielding their tools like swords against the grasping fingers of Death. I want a way to offer myself, to turn to that cold, black figure and tell him, "I willingly go with you. He is not yours. He will stay and laugh and grow. Take me."
If I die, let me die. Let him live. Bring him home. Bring him home. Bring him home.
We have another month yet. And I have faith in both the skill of the surgeons and the wisdom of my Father and His plan. But it is hard, and I am afraid.