I have just said good-bye to my husband. They have wheeled him away to have his shoulder rebuilt. This is elective surgery. He doesn’t have to have it done. After all the surgeries and procedures he has had; why elect to have more? Ah, the pain. This pain has grown from an intermittent annoyance to constant bringing sleepless nights and tired, absentminded days. Something had to be done, right?
I sit in the surgical waiting room, alone with my fears.
It’s a fairly new procedure, with a fairly new doctor in town. Will there be complications? He’s had heart issues – can his heart handle anesthesia, surgery, recovery? His sister has dementia which seemed to become exacerbated after knee surgery – will Thad follow that same path? How will his recovery be? Will he be able to handle the painful rehab that is required? Will the outcome be comparable to his expectations? Will I be able to properly care for him? Will I have patience for the patient whom I love more than myself? Do we both have the stamina for this next long haul to wellness?
My head is swirling with fear, uncertainty, insecurity and I am exhausted before we’ve even started. I close my eyes in an attempt to devoid myself of all things medical. I try to empty my mind and focus on my breathing – willing it to slow down.
Lord, are you There? Are you with the anesthesiologist as he administers the magic sleeping potion? Let his mind and expertise be solely on his work. Are you with the nurses as they prepare Thad for surgery? May they bring gentleness, kindness, and a wealth of experience in their care for him. Are you with the surgeon guiding his hands, his trained mind and skills that you have given him as gifts to share with those he treats? May he utilize those gifts with grace and wisdom. Do you have your arms around my husband-your child, rocking him gently in your love? Are you there, Lord?
Yes, He answers. I am here. I created each of my children to do wondrous things with the talents I have given them. I am with them throughout their thoughts, their words, and their actions. I hold Thad under my wings as a mother bird protects her young. He slumbers in my protective love.
And I am here with you as well. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
I can feel my breathing slow but I am not ready to open my eyes – to let in the world around me. For I have stolen refuge within my God. To seek His strength to be within me, and His words to coat me in a suite of armor that I might be and share His light in what is a dark and scary corridor in my life.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
I sigh in resignation of my fears, and in relief of anticipation of “what ifs”. I open my eyes and step back into the present world. But I do not take on the qualities of this life. “I have set the Lord before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8
In a few hours Thad will be wheeled out, dopey and probably in pain, but hopefully with a bionic shoulder that will eventually move freely and painlessly. Though the journey may be long and arduous before us; we are not afraid. For the company of God sustains us and is steadfast. And through Him all things are possible.