When I was a teenager, my family often took day hikes into the foothills surrounding the Tucson, Arizona dessert. We would start early in the morning so we could reach higher elevations before the desert heat settled over the valleys below. Ever the eager child, I would sometimes forge ahead of the rest of the group. I experienced the meaning of the word trailblazer, for often in those early morning hours, my body would break through cobwebs strung across the narrow trail. I could also call back to the others to tell them what wonderful vistas lay ahead.
This past week, I have taken the roll of trailblazer for my daughter. As I mentioned in a recent post, she had eye surgery to help correct a genetic eye defect. I have this same defect and had the same surgery three years ago. The surgery is brand new, in fact, when I had surgery, the procedure had just come out of the beta stage. The results of my surgery were above and beyond what even the doctors had hoped for. My visual acuity doubled. Daily headaches I have experienced all my life vanished. My night vision increased enough that I no longer have to depend on others or a white cane after dark.
Several posts earlier, I wrote of the emotion I felt when my daughter entered the surgical unit as a baby. This time, I can honestly say, I felt no fear and no anxiety for Christine. Neither did she. Why? I had been through the surgery. I knew what would happen. I knew what to expect. And I knew, to use a well used turn of phrase, the gain was worth the pain. Over the last two weeks, she and I have been able to compare notes on our mutual recoveries. I know what questions to ask her about what she is seeing. I am able to be compassionate with her because I know, oh I know, how scratchy and uncomfortable and how downright painful this recovery period can be and I can tell her what will help get her through. Several times Christine has expressed gratitude that I have gone before her, how that has made the process so much easier for her.
Several days after surgery and, not lost on me, several days after Easter, that familiar emotional wave of new comprehension hit me once again. Jesus has gone before us through the jowls of death, to burst forth on the other side to new life. He is victorious over death. He has suffered, oh, so terribly. He can identify with any suffering we might face. He can confidently lead us through because He’s been there, He’s done it, and He overcame it. There is indeed life on the other side of the grave and He’ll lead us there, reassuring us at every step.
“Therefore,” says the writer of Hebrews, “since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus, the son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess (Hebrew 4:14).”
As teachers, we are trailblazers for our children. We teach the sound doctrine of the Word of God. We teach through our experiences by showing them through our lives how we have broken through the cobwebs and entanglements of life to put into practice the teaching of Christ. We mentor the children God has put us in charge of, letting them know with confidence that God is powerful, that God is loving, and that we know, oh do we know, that He will bring us safely to the other side of life.
As the song Steve Green sings says, “May those who come behind us find us faithful.”
Our family would again appreciate your prayers and your patience for the irregular posting of this blog. It's now my husband's turn for eye surgery. While his eye muscle surgery is not for the same condition (nystagmus), it will still be the same procedure. His eyes have slowly misalligned over the years to the point that heavy prisms no longer him in brining images together. I look forward to what new concepts God will bring my way this time!