I really didn’t want to go. But I’d never consider not showing up.
My twin sister’s husband had been diagnosed with lung cancer. I didn’t want Gayle to sit through surgery alone, so I flew up to be with her.
My little sister also came. And Gayle’s daughter, Kate. And her boyfriend, Alex.
The time was an odd mix of silliness and stress. One minute we’d be telling family stories to Alex, whom we’d just met. Laughing over family quirks and trying to one-up each other with “remember when?” comments.
The next moment we’d be gathered in prayer because surgery hadn’t started and we didn’t know why.
John, Gayle’s husband, came through with flying colors, having had a lobe removed from his right lung. They won’t know for a few days the condition of the lymph nodes they took out. We’re all hoping for the best.
Here’s the kicker: With every little victory we saw, something came along to knock us back a step. As well as John did in surgery, they couldn’t get his epidural to work right, so he was in incredible pain for two days. They’d get him out of bed so he’d be sitting up when the surgeon came. Said surgeon never showed up.
The contrast of good and bad was even more noticeable when we’d go from the waiting room to the ICU. We made friends with the safety officers who monitored those who came and went from the ICU. We got all five of us back there at once–a few smiles and a little kindness go a long way. But walking through the ICU, we saw two people in nearby beds who passed away in the few days we were there.
Hospitals are a microcosm of life. They’re places of miracles. Life also is full of amazing things. Waking up each day is a gift. A chance to try again. To determine to make better choices. To be intentional about living. Life is a miracle.
There is also incredible sadness wherever we go. I watched a gentleman stroke the face of a lady in ICU who was so jaundiced she looked like she’d been painted with Crayola yellow. When I went back to see John again, she was gone. Her bed stripped. Her life over. No more chances. Or choices.
Life isn’t fair.
Recognizing the existence and power of the Great Physician, relying on His skills and expertise, gives us the best Person possible to help us when life hurts.
He also rejoices with us in our efforts. Celebrating our victories with us.
We can choose to treat life like a mobile triage unit. Waiting for the next loved one to be ill or die. Or focus on the small victories we see each day. Choosing to live in the moment with the hope that comes from knowing God.
Focus on pain and hurt? Or joy and hope?
I want to be better at choosing hope.