My Own Words

Waiting is Hard

I’ve had a paralyzed vocal chord for 69 days. I had surgery to remove a potato sized mass in my chest that was compressing my windpipe and threatening to close off my airway eventually. It was an involved surgery — my chest was split open at the sternum. And, apparently, the mass was reluctant to leave.

The kicker was that this mass was likely pressed right up against one of the nerves that helps control my vocal chord. So, for 69 days I’ve sounded like a bad Batman impersonation (think Christian Bale) or one or Marge’s sisters from the Simpsons.

In two days, I have an appointment with an ENT specialist to address all of this, and hopefully restore my voice. There are all sorts of questions about the prognosis — Is this temporary or permanent? Will I ever regain my speaking voice? How about my singing voice? What procedures could restore my voice if this is permanent?

And for the past 69 days (plus at least two more), these questions have been like an army of Schrodinger’s Cats — unresolved, unanswerable, little bundles of yes/no/both/neither/maybe-something-else. All of the awesomeness of quantum phenomena, and their odd “I don’t exist until observed” behaviors, is being essentially being ruined by the fact that I simply can’t observe them until I see the doctor. I can theorize all that I want. I can do a lot of research. I can revisit and rehash everything that my surgeons have said.

But we aren’t opening any cat boxes until July 13, 2017. Nothing can be known until then.

As a man of faith, I feel like I am supposed to embrace these mysteries. I should be trusting that God is using them for my good. My response should be some combination of peaceful acceptance and faith-filled expectation of miraculous healing.

Frankly, I’m just tired. I’m tired of not knowing. I’m tired of sounding like this and feeling like that.

And I find a lot of comfort knowing that this is, in fact, a Biblical response. Plenty of folks in the Bible cried out “How long, O Lord?” Some of them got answers. Some of those answers were great. Others either never saw the answer or got an answer they didn’t want. And all of that together represents an accurate description of what following this path of faith looks like: Sometimes you groan and ask questions. Sometimes you get an answer. Other times? Not so much.

“Blogging wisdom” says that I should be closing this out with a lesson, a point, a teachable moment. I’m afraid you’ll have to bring your own, because I don’t have much beyond “I guess it’s OK to be frustrated and talk to God about it. Maybe you’ll get some answers.”

I used to think that I had more of this figured out, and that these things could all be explained. I would have had ideas about why I may not be hearing the answers I want or why the healing I hope for hasn’t come. But the more I look at these things, the more I have to admit that there is just a lot of “I don’t know” and mystery and stupid Schrodinger’s Cats in all of this. Maybe this will make perfect sense in hindsight. Maybe it won’t.

I’ll keep trying to be OK with that. And when I am not …

How long, O Lord?

Photo by vic_burton


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