We'd just gotten home from town and I wasn't prepared for her reaction.
All the little ones were helping to carry the fruits and veggies into the house. Naam, at only 3, is our youngest girl and she patiently waited for her tiny armload. But as she turned to walk her burden to the house, someone told her it was for daddy.
Her eyes grew wide and her mouth dropped open as she began screaming because she was scared. Scared of daddy, which is not at all normal for any of the kids who love him so much.
His accident happened just over a week ago, and while he's been home for a few days now and his wounds are rapidly healing, she can't shake the trauma she experienced hearing he'd been in a wreck and couldn't come home. Her little brain clearly couldn't process the situation and our attempts to explain had fallen short.
But also, she thought he had died.
It took awhile for that fact to become clear. That first night some of the girls cried themselves to sleep because of what had happened to Robbie. Hannah was home with them and she thought they were just upset by the accident. But it went deeper. They thought they'd lost him and he wasn't coming home at all. Their little worlds, which had already known so much loss, were shaken.
But it gets worse.
The second day in the hospital, as Robbie was waiting for surgery, his pain was managed to the point that we decided to video call home so the kids could see him. We wanted them to have the assurance that, while he was injured, God was taking care of him.
It was lunchtime when we called and our American boys were first to come to Hannah's phone to say hi to him. He chatted for a brief minute and then laid his head back because the exertion had exhausted him. Apparently this happened exactly as the little girls made their way to the phone and what they saw was daddy on a hospital bed with his head back and eyes closed.
They thought they were seeing him dead but we still didn't realize this.
So Robbie had his surgery and got settled in a hospital room. The next day, we video called again and this time they saw him, also on a hospital bed, but with his eyes open. They were alarmed but didn't speak of it. The silent little processors of their minds were working through what their eyes thought they were seeing. Daddy awake from the dead.
The following day, sweet Awa asked Hannah, "Did Daddy open his eyes again today?" And that's when the pieces started to come together. She realized what they'd been thinking and it all began to make sense as to why they were so out of sorts and upset. She assured the girls Daddy was alive and doing well and that he'd be home soon. They were happy, but still hesitant.
And Naam, days after his return, is still scared of him. She still refuses to get too close or to touch him.
It just keeps making me think about how so many of the fears that plague us are actually because we just can't process the situations before us. Details are missing or there are unknowns or things don't make sense to our minds and so we fear what we can't understand. We waste so much time frozen because what could happen might happen. We waste days where we should be embracing what we do have before we don't have it.
Tomorrow isn't guaranteed and, in some ways, that's a gift to us. Because if we knew we would wake up tomorrow and everyone we loved would be well and safe and things would be exactly as we expected them to be, we wouldn't value the moment we were in, knowing it could be snatched away.
We all live with the knowledge that life here is literally a vapor. What we do with that knowledge is what makes all the difference.
If we push it from our minds and pretend it's not true, we risk leaving things unsaid and undone. If we dwell on it, the joy of life will be sucked from us. But if we hold that reality loosely in our hearts, we'll grip a little tighter to the moments we've been blessed with. We'll value today for the gift that it is.
Naam is afraid of something she can't understand and it's holding her back from the Papa she adores. The enemy will hold her there as long as he can, trying to steal her peace and break her trust in the man who's worked so hard to earn it.
But aren't we all Naam?
We're being sold lies about who God is and who He isn't. We're being fed confusion as to where He came from and how we got here. But if we hold steady to the truth we have access to, and we keep our eyes on the evidence of His love, we have no reason to fear the parts we can't understand.
It'll all be revealed in the end and we'll be glad we trusted when we couldn't yet see.