This past summer, my family–Bob, Garrett 9, Julia 8, Ryan 7, and I–spent a couple months at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. We enjoyed day after day of water, waves, sand, surf, and sun until 1:00am on Sunday, July 25th, when we had a little emergency of our own.
Ryan, then 6, had a seizure. (While it caught us off guard, it didn’t come as a complete surprise. Ryan was diagnosed as an infant with a congenital brain malformation; we were told back then he had a 50/50 chance of developing seizures.)
Ryan was transported by ambulance to the local hospital and then flown to A.I. Dupont Hospital for children in Wilmington, DE because of its remarkable pediatric neurology department and because he had been in a seizure for a dangerously long time–1 hour and 45 minutes.
When Ryan woke up later that same morning in the pediatric intensive care unit, he asked why he was in the hospital and how he got there. We briefly explained to him that his brain “paused,” just like a DVD, and stopped communicating to his body and that he wasn’t able to respond to anything.
“So,” we said, “you had to be taken to the hospital, first by ambulance then by helicopter.” Ryan’s next question was, “How am I getting home?” We told him “in Daddy’s car, which is here because we had to drive up separately.” Ryan, who happened to be born on 9/11, LOVES rescue vehicles, and–quite ironically–had prayed with me many a time for the men and women who work all night to keep us safe, said very seriously, “Well, that’s not fair; I want to go back the same way I came–first on a helicopter, then on an ambulance!”
Well, Lance, upon hearing what Ryan said, without delay, called up a very small airport in Western New York and hired a helicopter to take Ryan for the ride he didn’t remember.
This is where evidence of God’s orchestrating all of these events comes into play. Our entire “Snyder Family”–Mom, Dad, Morgan, Cherie, Joshua and Abigail, Parker, Kasia (with baby on board!), Lance, Francine, my five–and my mom’s sister Vikki were due to travel to Chautauqua Lake, New York for a family reunion on Saturday, July 31st–just six days away! (Chautauqua is where, back in the 80’s and early 90’s, my family owned a condo and we spent many wonderful weekends together.)
Ryan was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday, July 27th. We went back to the beach to pack up. On Thursday we traveled to our home in Maryland and on Friday, the 30th, we were on our way to Pittsburgh! (Thank God Ryan took well to his medicine; there was no time to play around with that if we wanted to make the trip. And for those of you who know me and how deeply I love my family, I was determined to make the trip!)
Another disaster we managed to avoid, believe it or not, was a tornado that came off Chautauqua Lake and right up through the “M” building of Chautauqua Lake Estates, leaving our old condo with the most damage! This tornado happened on Saturday, July 24th, the day before Ryan’s seizure. Had my parents booked condos in the “M” building, for old times’ sake, we would never have made it to the reunion either. You see, God definitely wanted that reunion to happen!
Lance not only made Ryan’s wish come true; he gave the entire family an opportunity to ride in a helicopter! Would you believe the first three up in the air were Lance, Ryan, and I? (This is a small miracle in and of itself, as my last “wild ride” was with Bob on a roller coaster about 16 years back that left me on the couch for days! That was literally the last time I willingly got on a nauseating ride just so I wouldn’t look like the wimp that I am when it comes to such things!) But, when it came to having the first honorary ride with my brother and my son, there was something compelling me to go for it. I did and am I ever glad!
Up in that helicopter, to my surprise, it was quite calm and relaxing; not nauseating at all. (It was also very symbolic, as we flew over all the areas we used to explore as a family back in the day.)
Up, high above the trees and lake, above seemingly everything, the following scripture verse kept coming to mind:
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Is 40:31
I knew then, in my heart, more than a simple propeller was keeping us in flight. I also believe now, looking back, that God was preparing my heart for what was to come…
So, when I got Mom’s call on Friday, October 8th, telling me that Lance was admitted to St. Margaret’s ER and would be transported to Shadyside Hospital where there was a highly esteemed neurological department, you can imagine where my mind went–back to July when it was my son in the neuro ICU and back to August when it was Lance who made my little boy’s dream come true.
Lance, I only wish I could now, in turn, make it all better for you. While I can’t, I know who can. And He, who carried us in flight that day, still is holding you this day.
Lance, I believe in you. We all do.