Thursday, November 10, 2011

The God of quarterbacks

By Matt Peppley (Anna's daddy)

Okay – I'm going to get a little philosophical here. I'm sure the only reason I passed philosophy in college was because the professor played baseball with my dad when they were in college, but that doesn't mean I can't get philosophical, right?

So, here we go. The interesting thing about decisions is that lots of people will give you advice on what you should do, whether or not you ask them. But – here's the interesting part – none of those same people will make the decision for you, no matter how much you ask. Why is that? Simply put (here's the philosophy part…), because no one wants to make tough decisions! Especially if there is something major on the line – like life or death. After all, what if that person is wrong and death ensues? Who wants to live with that, right?

That being said, some people are paid to make decisions. Quarterbacks on the football field, firemen in a burning building, case workers in the system, and surgeons hovering over an operating table. These people typically relish what they do. Interesting, fun, challenging, whatever it is that drives them to do what they do, they often are successful at what they do.

Sadly, Alissa and I are neither getting paid to make this decision, nor are we relishing this decision we have to make for little Anna Joy. I'm sure I could ask again, but I know no one will decide for us. Sigh…

At least we have a God who is bigger than all of this. The God of the quarterback, surgeon, case worker, and fireman is the same God for Alissa, Isaac, Anna and I.

PHILOSOPHICAL SIDETRACK WARNING –Can God be the God of both the quarterback and the defensive back? If both pray, which one does he answer? If both athletes can do all things through Christ who gives them strength, what if both sides are Christians? It's too bad so many Christian athletes use that verse so often. Not only is it a self-canceling prayer (assuming someone on the other side is praying the same prayer), but it is used completely out of context. Does the athlete realize that Paul is writing about living in need and want, and being able to praise God in either situation? How does that apply to playing in an athletic competition? I'll never know and eternally regret using that verse to get through my athletic career…

Okay – okay, I'll get off my soapbox and back to Anna.

Where was I? Uhh…let's see…oh, yeah – God being our God. Actually – the above paragraph may be a good segway. God is our God in the good and bad. Alissa and I have had some good times, and this is definitely a bad time. I'm pretty sure we praised God in the good times, and as difficult as these last few months have been, we've still been able to praise God. Granted, we've questioned, cried, begged, stomped our feet in fits of temper-tantrums, and much more – but we've more or less managed to remain firmly rooted and grounded in His love.

So, after all of this rambling, I'm sure some of you are thinking: when in this great, green world is he going to get to The Decision? Sorry to say, but we haven't gotten to one as of this writing. So, you may have to wait for the next post to find out. That being said, I'll give you my thoughts.

Mind you, I haven't articulated these to my wife yet, but I'll let her read this before we post it. So sometime after it's posted, we might be able to give you an answer. BUT – we do have until Nov 16. You might have to wait for then to find out. So there. Neener-neener.

Here are my thoughts: Just this afternoon Isaac sat in his chair, happily and messily devouring a peanut butter and honey sandwich, goldfish crackers, and mac and cheese. As he yammered, I stopped, grabbed my wife, and gave her a hug. As we held each other I started to cry. All I could think was "I don't want to lose her." Anna – not Alissa. Well, I don't want to lose her either, but I was thinking about Anna when I was hugging Alissa. If you didn't follow that, it's okay. I don't think I do either…

Well, I told Alissa I didn't want to lose Anna. So she started crying too. Isaac, for his credit, kept yammering and playing with his food. Alissa said she didn't want to lose our baby girl either. She said she keeps picturing another blondie running around with Isaac here at the house.

It was sometime during that long hug and tear-filled exchange that I decided I wanted to do everything I could to provide that dream for my wife, myself, and Isaac all to enjoy.
A little while later, I sat on one of our comfy couches (the ones I purchased all by myself before Alissa and I ever met – and yes, I'm really proud of them, and still ecstatic that Liss has let me keep them this long), I watched Alissa sitting on the floor amidst a pile of baby shower gifts. She was sorting through them. Isaac sat next to her, intensely interested in everything she was doing. She instructed him on what tape was after he pulled off a rather long strip of it. She asked him to throw away something in the garbage (which he did! So cute!). She showed him this and that, interacting with him as she went through Anna's presents. And I couldn't help but think: what a good mom! I hope she gets to do that with Anna too!

Bam! Another confirmation moment that I wanna help little Anna Joy if I can.

If I can…such simple little words, yet - - not so simple. What can I do, after all? Probably the hardest thing I can imagine, I guess: just let the doctors take her right after she's born, hook her up to a bunch of wires, and put her in a warmed plastic box. Hold her in my arms? Nope. Cradle her in my warm embrace? Nope. Let her fall asleep on my chest? Nope.

I suppose there is another thing I can do. I can still wait on my God, the God of the quarterback, defensive back, the surgeon, the fireman. Oh – and the case worker too. Even though the doctors still tell us she has problems, God could still heal her. It's still possible that when she's born, the hospital staff will look at her and say "uhh…she's turning pink. She's not supposed to do that! Let's take a look (short interlude while they get the ultrasound wand out, squirt some jelly on her chest, and fine tune the instrument on her heart). Oh, my gosh, she has a whole heart! And her veins are dumping right into the heart, just like it's supposed to! Look, there's that one vein that was supposed to be obstructed, but it's not even connected anymore! I guess her body doesn't need it anymore!"

Then Randy dances a jig, Katie checks on Alissa to make sure she's okay, and Joe collapses in a heap of blubbering tears, and Isaac just yammers on, quite oblivious to the drama happening around him. Anna's placed in her momma's arms and her dad just sits back and smiles. He was, after all, a quarterback. And since God is the God of quarterbacks…

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