Day 55-3 – Telling others the story of Justus’ journey

Today was another day of getting used to a new norm. Kelli and I were in Lakewood today, but our hearts were at Randall. Of course, I’ve had a little more acclimating than Kelli, so it was a much tougher day for her. As we hunker down for a long journey, we are again grateful that we get to take this journey. We talked about how differently today could have been and prayed a prayer for those parents and families who have and are living that reality. Of course, for us, the challenge of this new normal is still so very real. But we felt very blessed to be eating lunch at one of our favorite places in Steilacoom – The Topside Restaurant. If you’ve never eaten there, we highly recommend it. But it was a chance for Kelli and I to steal away a moment and plan out our priorities for re-entry.

We were sitting enjoying the sunshine (yes there is sunshine in Washington!), looking out on a beautiful view of Puget Sound. When the waitress came up to our table we had a sense she wanted to say more than, “What would you like to drink today?” And sure enough, she is part of #TeamJustus. She shared some sweet thoughts and encouraging words. Kelli cried and I hid behind my sunglasses! It was a scene that has happened a few times to us already. In each case the people sharing apologize profusely, fearful they are crossing a line of sorts. I thought it was worth sharing our thoughts on this – in case we run into you!

If you would have run into us in the middle of those darkest days, the last thing I would have wanted to do was rehash the details of Justus’ crisis. In fact, that was the reason for the post. I know I had some close friends and even family that messaged me wanting to know how the boy was doing. All I could muster as a response was to tell them to, “Read the post.” I felt horrible doing it, but we had so little capacity during that time to engage with people on any level. I remember early in August, I was still responsible for running our Church’s Family Reunion (August 7-9). Months of preparation with my team for what promised to be an amazing weekend together as a church family. The week of the reunion, I was still in denial. Thankfully, wise and compassionate friends (in the church we often refer to each other as brothers and sisters as modeled in the bible), took the reigns from me and took over the leadership. As soon as I finished unloading all the instructions I could think of for the weekend, I practically broke. It was the first time I realized, I didn’t have the capacity to plan lunch, much less plan an entire weekend.

All that to say, that was then, this is now. Will I ever tire of retelling Justus stories? Maybe. But for now, we are so thankful to be through the eye of the storm. We know there is much ahead. The other thing that isn’t lost on us is the reality that we would never have made it through the darkness, without God and without the amazing support of #TeamJustus. I’ve thought a lot about others that are trying to make it through crisis without that kind of support. I know some families are private and so they weather the storm alone. Others are just in a situation where they don’t have anyone to journey with them. It’s not my place to judge; but I couldn’t have made it through that way. So please join me in praying for those families in crisis, that by choice or by circumstance, find themselves journeying alone. In Psalms 34:18 we read this, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

For me, now that we are through the worst of it (as far as we know); the last thing I want to do is act as if I’m all I need. Remember… “Remember in the light what got you through the darkness.” God used you to get us through the darkness. Now that there’s a little light… I remember! So please come hug us. We’d love to say thank-you. And if we can ever be an encouragement to you, then we’d love to be that too. We love hearing your connection to #TeamJustus and how his story has impacted your life.

So Justus had another great and busy day. We did get a little word on his surgery. He will have his flap put back on (don’t ask me why they call it a flap… it’s a piece of his skull!) Tuesday, October 27th. A lot will happen between now and then, but it’s good to know a date to look forward to. At that time he will return to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and the same Neurosurgeon who did the original operation will finish the job. Hopefully after a very short stay (as little as a day post-op) he will return to Randall to continue his boot camp (did I say that?) with his PT/OT/ST (physical/occupational/speech therapy). Continued prayer for Justus’ rehab is very much needed and so appreciated. Please keep praying for wisdom for Jason and Alyse. They must keep adjusting their life to accommodate the changing reality for Justus, balancing rehab, Amaya, work, and overnight stays. These are all workable issues, but prayer would be appreciated. And when you are done praying, if you see us walk by, please say hi! We love and appreciate you #TeamJustus.