It won’t be the last difficult conversation we will have with Chase. It also was not the first, but by far, the most trying. As a parent, it wounds your heart to initiate a discussion that will bring hurt and disappointment, even while understanding that it is for their good, their well-being , an unsatisfactory salve for the organ beating inside of you.
During the last seven weeks of recovery from an injury, Chase has never felt self-pity. His demeanor remained upbeat even as he watched games from the view of a wheelchair, an outlook that stayed positive while missing out on numerous end of school events. Even when I wanted to question our circumstances or allow fear to drive the unknowns, a glance in my son’s direction at the wry, sly grin that characterizes his personality and all futile, senseless thoughts would immediately evaporate away.
This laid back patient offset a high strung caregiver, allowing days together at home to be ones of easy companionship and enjoyment, a modern day miracle amid the throes of thirteen year old hormones and a pre-menopausal mom.
Chase is passionate about the sport of Lacrosse. Free time is devoted to practicing stick skills and net shots in the yard or studying strategies and plays through the games he watches in person or on TV. This past Fall, he was selected for an Atlanta travel team that would play in tournaments all over the Southeast this summer, culminating the season in Baltimore, Maryland, where he would play against some of the best in the nation.
Not only will Chase not be able to participate in Lacrosse this summer, it is very possible that he may never play the sport, or any other, ever again. Only time will reveal the full extent of recovery, but at the very least he is a year away from participating in any type of sport involving contact.
Every parent wants their child to find their passion, the endeavor that they were born to do, that sweet spot that brings them joy, fulfillment and purpose. Our bank accounts hope that these aspirations earn college scholarships, whether from the field or the classroom, a secondary gain from witnessing a child pursue their dreams.
While I would like for Chase to join the chess club or debate team, activities where brain injuries are non-existent, my desires, unfortunately do not match those of his. He is at his best when on a field, sprinting towards a goal, long legs moving with ease and determination. If lacrosse were a love language, his heart would spill over full.
Thus, the distress of the difficult discussion we would have with our son.
With wholehearted compassion similar to his bedside manner, my husband sat down with Chase and explained the unlikelihood of returning to the sport. In a shaky voice, John reminded our son of God’s unfailing love and that while it seemed hard and unfair and disappointing, the circumstances would one day be understood and used for good.
Chase listened with tears streaming down his face, nodding his acceptance of what had been dealt him. The boyish face looked directly at his dad and with earnest eyes that gave a glimpse of the man he will become, Chase responded, “It’s okay, dad. Don’t be upset. I would do it all again, I would stay exactly where I am today, if it meant that somebody got to know Jesus a little better because of it.”
It would appear that Chase found his true passion after all.