After 1 Mile on Delight You Will Hit Tragedy   Leave a comment

My wife passed on to me this letter written by one of L’Arche’s extended family members.  I’m sure sorrow is and will be a big part of their journey, but the part described here was uplifting for me to hear.

Hello to all,

It’s funny how people in general insist that they are in control of the direction of their life.  We are just as guilty of this mentality as anyone else.  Our life might be compared to a car ride – with Patrick driving and Lisa in the passenger seat reading the road map.  Should we go North or South?  East or West?  So we consult our map and make a decision, Patrick hits the gas, turns the wheel, and off we go in the direction we planned for ourselves.  How mistaken this view is!  The reality is that we are the children in the backseat, playing with our pretend steering wheels, not even able to see over the seat in front of us!  So who is driving this car we call life?  Our Faith tells us that God is in charge of which road we take.  Sure, we might tell him what our plans are, which way we’d prefer to go, but He ultimately decides the fate of our journey.  Our challenge is to accept the path He chooses for us, and find peace and joy along the way.  So why are we sharing this with you? Well, it seems that God has decided to take us around the bend in the road that we would not have chosen for ourselves.     

We’d like to introduce you to our daughter, Annalisa.  We’ve attached a picture of our last ultrasound.  It was taken on Monday, October 25th and we hope you all will be able to view it.  At the time of the ultrasound, Lisa was 20 weeks pregnant.  In our eyes and God’s eyes, Annalisa is beautiful and perfect and God has something special in mind for her.  With that said, our daughter has a tough road ahead of her.  The ultrasound was with genetic specialist Dr. Jane Corteville from Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, and was very extensive.  Here is what she found:

Annalisa is very small for her gestational age.  She is measuring in the 5th percentile for size, with her head coming in at the 1st percentile.  She has a growth on the back of her head, as well as a cyst inside her brain.  She has a cleft lip and palate and a hole in her heart.  In addition, the arteries going to her heart are reversed, she is missing her right kidney and stomach, and she has club feet.  Dr. Corteville suspects an underdeveloped brain and that a chromosomal abnormality is causing all these defects.  We’ve done an amniocentesis and are waiting for the results.  However, the doctor has cautioned us that whatever the diagnosis, the chances of Annalisa overcoming all these birth defects are slim. 

So what can we expect?  At this point, it’s difficult to see around this bend that God has guided us toward.  Most likely we can expect Annalisa to survive to delivery.  Beyond that, the outlook is not favorable.  It’s not hard to surmise the life expectancy of a baby with a list of problems like that. 

So where do we go from here?  There is a freedom in acceptance.  We now must put our trust in God.  We simply need to sit back, relax, and let Him steer our car around this bend in the road.  Our challenge is to find peace with this path that’s been chosen for us.  Our way to peace is to celebrate the joy that Annalisa brings to our life now.  She is our daughter and she is indeed a miracle of life.  When we think of her, we do smile.  When she kicks in the womb, we rejoice.  We talk about her to others with pride.  And when she is born, we will hold her in our arms and love her.

We appreciate your prayers and support.

With love,
Patrick, Lisa, Landon, and Annalisa


Posted February 10, 2011 by janathangrace in Uncategorized

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