We had just moved Stephanie out of her condo for the summer, and all of us were together the other night at the dinner table. She has just completed her first year of Medical School and so I asked her, “Steph, of all the things you have learned recently, is there anything that you found unique and unusual?”
As you might imagine, there were many things that fit that query. She then gave a little chuckle and began explaining in terms even I could understand that there is a hormone called oxytocin which produces two results at the same time–one effect is immediate and the other is more long term. It is the hormone that causes contractions to take during labor. And, uniquely, it induces a state of amnesia.
Now why in the world would a single hormone do this? Two seemingly unrelated effects. Well, it is possible that if women did not benefit from the amnesia of that particular hormone, the pain being so great, most women might only have one child. The hormone needed to induce contractions (and pain) also dulls the memory of that pain. It does not take the pain away, just helps mamas forget it.
It is not in our human nature to enjoy pain or suffering—our own or that of others, especially our children. And even though Cammie is now 24, soon to be 25 on the 9th of June, she is no less our child now than she has ever been. She goes in for surgery tomorrow, Tuesday morning, to remove most (and possibly all) of her right lung. This is her 12th surgery or invasive procedure. The problem is, there is no hormone that prevents her from remembering the pain of those past surgeries (and some of them were very painful). Nor is there anything that blocks or diminishes her parent’s emotional anguish when they watch her wince or writhe.
There is no hormone for this like oxytocin. But we know this: God is good. And His grace is sufficient. We know it because we have experienced it eleven times before.
Steve Van Rooy
PS A number of folks have asked how Cammie is doing with all of this. I gave it some thought and the title of a book that came out some years ago came to mind. It is Stephen Ambrose’s book about the Lewis and Clark expedition that took place 200 years ago. The title of that book is: Undaunted Courage. I thought of that title because that is exactly what she is exhibiting