Where to Turn When Life Tumbles and Scrawls Red

Photo: StudioTempura, Creative Commons, cc license

It was the red crayon scribbled against his tiny head of summer blonde hair that got me.

I tried to make light of it. “Let’s color purple on Morgan’s head when we get home,” I grinned conspiratorially to my five year old son, winking at him.

Red crayon marked in detailed measurements where the brain wave imaging scanners would be placed. Glenn, the electrode-attaching technician at the epilepsy center, picked up another long wire, detangling it from the rest, and affixed it with clear glue to my son’s head.

“See this?” he asked Daniel, “This is gecko tape, made just like gecko toes, to stick to things without pulling hair afterwards.” He laid a piece of light blue tape on the back of my son’s hand, and spread its pair across an electrode.

Soon twenty-five wires rose spider-webbed and -orbed from my son’s head. Daniel clutched a small brown bear, looking tiny on a long white hospital bed. His blue and black sweatshirt was a soothing blanket about his chest. I adjusted a pillow and lay down beside him for the hour-long test. Lights flashed, blinked, and strobed into his face. Soon, the lights went off, and he could curl up carefully and try to sleep.

“It is actually perfect if he falls asleep,” Glenn said, tapping keys into his computer and telling me about his son, daughter, and this career. I listened, responded, and then we fell into silence as I snuggled up against my tiny young son. The medical technician watched the screen capture brain waves in irregular waves and frequencies, and I stared at my son’s chest, rising in short breaths. Daniel slept, and my eyes caressed his cheek, his long eye lashes, and his pointed lips.

The seizure this Tuesday morning took us by surprise. Nothing like that had ever happened to him or us before, and I raced down the steps after him. He lay crumpled on the ground face-down, until I turned him over. Glassy-eyed and lock-jawed, with stiff arms, he stared past me eerily, and I called for help. Later as he came out of it, our chests grew tight as we searched the internet for similar symptoms, and called his doctor.

On the way to the EEG, Daniel and I talked alone in the car. He was examining the dry body of a dead bee we had found, as it tipped and slid across a random dirty plate we found on the car floor. We examined the fuzzy yellow and black body, while I warned him to steer clear of the stinger, and we talked about what a cool Creator our God is.

“Mom, why did God make bees to have stingers?” he asked as the freeway sped by.

“You know, bees only need stingers to defend themselves and their home,” I mused aloud. “I bet when God first made them, they didn’t need to have stingers. There wasn’t any death or sickness or sad things then. The bees didn’t need to defend themselves or their homes. It was only later, when Adam and Eve were tricked by the evil one, ate from that one tree, and brought sin into the world that things changed. I bet bees got their stingers after that,” I said.

Daniel smiled and sighed happily. “I love God!” he exclaimed. We talked about how cool heaven is going to be one day, and the great thing that God loves us so much, and is right here with us.

“And you know what? God has cool plans for you to do while you’re here,” I stated.

The highway coiled around a castle-like cathedral, leaned against some museums and parking ramps, before pulling docilely into a pay lot. I pushed a button, grabbed my ticket, and we drove in.

That night friends and family called, and one or two set up meals. Our family of five hugged each other close, unwrapped ominous-looking bulky new medicines, and read instructions with tight-chests. Throughout that night and the next day, (and as we now await Friday’s MRI), our Creator whispered a song in my head, ancient lyrics that spoke calm into my fearful mind.

“When I am afraid, I will trust in youand “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you, O God, are with me.”

And the Creator of the bumble-bee has plans for my wee summer blonde one, and for us, and for you, my friend. His heart can be trusted.

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  1. Aunt Dino on June 19, 2014 at 1:09 am

    God is good, all the time. Love you guys.

  2. Lisa Miller-Pelkey on June 19, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    sooooooo beautiful my friend… we are joining you in prayer.

  3. Lisa Miller-Pelkey on June 19, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Ceil on June 19, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Jennifer! Oh my, you and your son and family are automatically placed on my prayer list. God bless you as you share your strength and faith in this time of questions and a little anxiety too.

    God give you all you need to deal with the unknown, and give you reason to celebrate when the tests are done!

  5. Bill (cycleguy) on June 20, 2014 at 1:23 am

    Been on vacation Jennifer so haven't commented anywhere but wanted to here. You guys are in my prayers.

  6. Jennifer Dougan on June 20, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Dino, thank you. Love to you,


  7. Jennifer Dougan on June 20, 2014 at 4:29 pm


    Thank you, friend. For the prayer, the encouragement.

    Jennifer Dougan

  8. Jennifer Dougan on June 20, 2014 at 4:35 pm


    Thank you! We'd love to be on that prayer list, and are so thankful for the prayer cover we are feeling from friends and family already. God did a neat thing just this morning in getting the sedation crew set up for my son's MRI, after it looked like it would fall through.

    Blessings to you and your family this week too,
    Thank you,
    Jennifer Dougan

  9. Jennifer Dougan on June 20, 2014 at 4:39 pm


    May you and your wife have a wonderfully-relaxing vacation! May it be rejuvenating and renewing.

    Thanks for popping in to pray and leave a note for us yesterday. That was thoughtful.

    Jennifer Dougan

  10. Floyd on June 20, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    I hear the words of our Father, even in your time of need. I'm praying for your son along with you and all of your family.

  11. Unknown on June 20, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Jennifer, we are joining you and your family in prayer, and sending many heart hugs your way. As the Mommy of a son who became ill with a rare and scary illness at the age of 8, I know that fear. I'm here if you want to talk. Heart Hugs, Shelly <3

  12. Cheryl Barker on June 27, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Jennifer, so sorry to hear of this worry concerning your little boy. I pray that God will give the doctors wisdom to correctly diagnose what's going on and get the problem addressed quickly. Sending hugs and prayers!

  13. Jennifer Dougan on June 29, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Thanks, Floyd.

    Jennifer Dougan

  14. Jennifer Dougan on June 29, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Thank you, Cheryl. The MRI came back clear so that's the best results. We have had some tight-chestedness off and on these last two weeks. He is starting some daily anti-seizure meds now. That brings me mixed emotions too, and I'm thankful for prayer cover.

    Jennifer Dougan

  15. Jennifer Dougan on June 29, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Shelly at Renewed Daily,

    Thank you! Thanks for your tender compassion and for reaching out to us in this uncertain time.

    Popping over to talk more,
    Jennifer Dougan

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