My youngest sister was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes when she was seven years old. She had been sick for over a year before her illness was caught by the doctor. Mother knew Wendy was sick and pleaded with our family doctor to find out what was wrong with her youngest child. When the doctor finally decided to check for diabetes Wendy was terribly ill and there was literally no time to waste in getting her to the nearest hospital.
Mother had a very difficult time accepting Wendy's illness. I was thirteen when she was diagnosed and I still remember vividly that day. Mother had brought her home to get some things together and it was briefly explained to Terry and me what was happening, although we did not understand much past the fact that Wendy was very sick and being put into the hospital. We cried as they drove away not really knowing if we would see our little sister again.
Wendy was in the hospital while they got her sugars under control and both she and my mother were educated on how to manage and control her diabetes. It was also during this time that she was put under the care of a doctor who specialized in type one diabetes in children. After seeing Wendy for a period a time he told my parents that he felt she would benefit for a camp for diabetic children called Camp EDI, (exercise, diet and insulin). It was a two week camp that helps children learn how to manage their disease while surrounded by other children just like them so they would not be different. The camp had specially trained staff which was equipped to handle the medical needs of the children.
Now mother had not sent any of her children away to summer camp much less one with medical needs so the decision at hand was not taken without much discussion and some tears. Finally my parents decided that it would be in Wendy's best interest for them to send her to the camp. When it came time to break the news about camp to Wendy, she was heartbroken. She did not want to leave home and was understandably scared. In a very short period of time she had so much to adjust to and now as she saw it, she was being sent away. We did everything we could to convince her she would have fun and it would be an adventure but she saw right thru our plan. She begged my mom not to make her go until she had to be literally pried out of the car when we dropped her off. I can't even begin to imagine how gut wrenching that must have been for my parents.
I don't know who those two weeks were more traumatic for, my mom or Wendy. Poor little Wendy was miserable. She wrote us every day and we would get the most pitiful, sorrowful letters begging my mom to come get her. She would tell us how sad she was and how she missed us all. She would not engage in any of the activities nor would she have anything to do with any of the children. She would always conclude her letters by telling us she would see us soon and would be waiting at the entrance of the camp with her suitcase waiting for us. Mom would read the letters out loud to Terry and me and all three of us would be crying. When dad would get home from work we would beg him to take us to pick her up and bring her home. Dad did his best to practice tuff love, openly siding with the doctor who convinced my parents that camp was the best thing they could do for Wendy. And while he never said so, I know telling my mom we had to leave her was very hard for him.
We all managed to survive those two weeks and finally the day came to pick Wendy up. I think back on that day all these years later and I still remember how glad she was to see us. She had forgotten about all the tears and homesickness because all that mattered that day was that she was safe again with her family. And I can't help but think if that isn't how Jesus feels about us. If He doesn't sit by the gates and watch longingly for us to come to Him. To hear Him calling to us to come to Him so He can give us rest and we can live with Him forever and never again have to be homesick.
Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.