Sunday, July 24, 2016

If You Wouldn't or Couldn't Anymore

Do you ever have those moments when you receive everything you already have as a gift anew?

For the last six weeks, I've had a knot and swelling under my left arm.  For the last two weeks, I started to worry.  This week, I had a mammogram, ultrasound, and blood work and all is well. 

All.  Is.  Well.

I work with and for people who have a story that ends much differently than mine, but begins much the same.  I see them in the hospital, sometimes abandoned by the ones they love, fighting for their lives against cancer or other life-altering diagnoses.

In my work, I always try to imagine what it would be like to be in my patient's "shoes", although they are seldom wearing any.  Usually, something more like non-skid socks. 

For the last couple of weeks, my imagination has been very busy doing what imaginations do.  But, I've been imagining for myself, as well as all of the others.  I don't consider myself to be a hypochondriac, but I definitely know enough to have a dangerous thought life.  Even without a medical background, Google can scare the hell out of anybody. 

In its bleakest moment, my imagination leaves kids behind and prior to that, imagines being on the outside of the life I've created, looking in.  Too sick to participate, but well enough to see.  This is confirmed in the stories of people I've visited with - people whose imaginations have been laid off because reality has no need of them. 

What if, what if, what if...

And in the middle of a string of what ifs, I remembered a very special patient who was struggling with cancer and has since passed away.  She told me when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, that she invited God to "show off" in her.  She gave Him total permission to use everything about her suffering for His Glory.  So, I borrowed her prayer, in my not-knowing.

Only God is not "showing off" in my suffering, but very hopefully, through my health.  How often is our health "wasted" on carrying out the activities of daily living?  Not wasted because we're doing things that don't need to be done  (Lord knows that dishes and laundry and grocery shopping and all the rest have to be done!), but because we're not grateful that we're able to do them!

Can you imagine yourself in a hospital bed for a day?  A week?  Months on end?  Can you imagine coming home afterward, restored and rejoicing in your ability to do the same things that you loathe doing today?

I can and I am. 

And this is why I'm writing today - To live in the reality that in a moment, we would give anything to have what we already have and to do what we're already doing, if only we thought that we wouldn't or couldn't anymore. 


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