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.

What would we do without cell phones in the waiting room?

What would we do without cell phones in the waiting room?

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.

Really? Only two?

Really? Only two

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.

The sisters make a go at gaining grins.

The sisters make a go at gaining grins.

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.





12 responses »

  1. debbyshehane says:

    I’m glad you could be there. Presence is invaluable.


  2. Jonathan says:

    I would argue that hospitals are places of research, and learning, and exploration, and hard work – and that the results they achieve are because of that… but then you knew I would say that 🙂


  3. mackeylois says:

    Dayle, I have to go with you on the life isn’t fair and JESUS IS the GREAT PHYSICIAN REALLY! Also HE IS the BEST PERSON to HELP when life hurts! I’m with YOU in choosing Joy and Hope, as well!!!


  4. alice fredricks says:

    The gift of your presence is priceless. It’s Jesus “with skin on” for the hurting ones. YOU do this so well, Dayle! Love you!


  5. Sheila says:

    When you come right down to it, is there any real choice? Pain & hurt over joy & hope? I think only those who don’t know where to find the joy and hope would willfully choose to cling to the pain & hurt.


  6. Well said, “Life is a miracle.”


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