(I’d like to welcome guest blogger Katie Wetherbee. Katie and I were acquainted through a mutual friend after finding out that her daughter combats Moyamoya disease, like our daughter Polly. Thank you Katie for your heartfelt post. I found it touching, honest, and encouraging. Enjoy everyone!)
No stranger to brokenness, a guest post by Katie Wetherbee
I glanced out my home office window, and saw my 12 year-old.
Her snow hat was askew and her back was hunched under the weight of her backpack, filled to overflowing with binders and books. I noticed that she was clutching a package with both arms, cradling it protectively. On her face, a look of panic and distress belied her purposeful, quick gait.
I opened the door and, seeing the unshed tears in her eyes, knew that something had gone horribly wrong.
She began to sob, still clutching the precious package.
“I made you a present in my art class. It was for Christmas and today I was allowed to bring it home. And it fell off of the shelf my locker, and I couldn’t grab it and it smashed into pieces.”
The sobs overtook her, and her little body trembled. Her grief and disappointment flowed into me, caught by the reservoir that holds the sorrows in a mother’s heart. As I held her, I grieved this broken treasure, knowing how precious it was to her. Knowing that once again, brokenness had bitten her.
She is no stranger to brokenness, this daughter of mine….
Broken blood vessels had resulted in a stroke, which resulted in difficulty with walking, speaking, writing and learning…and more brokenness…
Broken dreams. Broken friendships. Broken promises.
And today, a broken art project, because she was still not used to fingers that didn’t work as quickly as they should.
Through her tears, she continued. “It crashed on the floor in the hallway and I didn’t know what to do. Keaton saw me and I told her ‘I made this for mommy.’ So she just helped me pick up all the pieces and put them in my bag.”
“I’ll help you put it all together,” I offered.
“NO!” her eyes bright with brave determination. I am going to put them together with Daddy, because it is a present for you.”
Later that night, she and Tom disappeared into the basement, armed with newspaper, glue, and courage. As they worked together, I could hear them murmuring with an unmistakable tone of hope. An engineer (and a master at puzzles!),Tom would be able to make sense of the broken pieces and visualize the “whole” in order to put it back together. I knew his patience would soothe her as they worked. When they were finished, the project was hidden away to dry, and later wrapped and placed gently under the Christmas tree.
On Christmas morning, hers was the first present I opened. She looked at me expectantly, proud of the project, but worried, clearly, that the brokenness had ruined it.
“It’s beautiful,” I told her.
And it is.
It hangs on my wall where I can see it each morning as I wake, reminding me to have fingers like Keaton, that willingly pick up the pieces… courage, like my daughter, to face brokenness with bravery… and vision, like the Father, who can see the wholeness in shards of glass, and lovingly, patiently puts the pieces together.
A lifelong Christian, Katie has enjoyed a variety of volunteer positions in churches. She has taught both Sunday School and Vacation Bible School as well as volunteering in high school and middle school youth groups. She and her husband started a Young Couples group in two churches. In addition, Katie has served on Christian Education Committees and as a Sunday School Superintendent. Now Director of Education for Key Ministry, Katie is thrilled to combine her passion for families affected by disabilities with her faith in Christ. With Key Ministry, Katie has presented at Ohio Joni and Friends seminars, the Accessibility Summit at McLean Bible Church, The Tough Ministries Conference in Houston, and the Access Conference at Northland Church in Orlando.
Katie’s most important credential is her “MBA:” She is MOM to Bill and Annie. Katie and her husband, Tom, live with their two teenagers in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.