Friday, September 28, 2007

My dad had surgery yesterday. It was a simple day surgery to remove his gall bladder. I am sure he would resent me calling it a "simple" surgery, since he is still in pain and is pretty bruised and swollen today. But nevertheless, his words the night before the surgery were, "Honey, it's no big deal."

So I sent the girls to pre-school yesterday and asked my director to pretty please make a way for someone else to accompany my 4 year old class to the apple orchard all morning so that I could have the day off to be with my parents at the hospital. In all honesty, I was probably a little too excited about the prospect of a "day off " given the pretense of the day. The night before, I took my tote/purse down from the top of the closet and transferred all of my purse necessities into it. I also added a couple of magazines, a book, and some apples that I needed to cut out for my school scrapbooks. On my way to drop off the girls at school, I picked up some Starbucks and headed for the hospital. I also dressed up because I love dressing up, but never do because it just isn't practical when dealing with 4 year olds, mine or otherwise.

If you'd seen me walking through the parking lot you'd have thought that I was headed for a vacation, except it was the hospital parking lot and not the airport parking lot. Mom and Dad were already there and they actually got Dad into surgery early! After they took him back, Mom and I were ushered into the family waiting room. We were supposed to wait for the doctor to finish surgery and then he would come out and talk to us. This was great in theory except that there were no chairs. So we signed in, left our cell phone number, and headed to the cafeteria. After a while we decided to try the waiting room again. The crowd had thinned a bit and we found two seats together. I settled in and commenced my favorite activity while waiting. . .people watching. And let me tell you, there were some people to watch!

It occurred to me that a hospital waiting room is one of life's great levelers. Every one's in the same boat. Young, old . . . rich, poor . . . natural hair, purple hair . . . ear rings, nose rings, there's not a lot separating our circumstances. We are all concerned about our loved one. We are all there filling the role as caregiver, we will all be dispensing pain medication in a matter of hours. We are all at the mercy of the hospital staff. Everyone has to wait, everyone has to give up control. Everyone has put something else on hold so they could be present.

And then I witnessed a difference in one family over all the others. We watched a family wait to find out if their wife, sister, daughter would reject her new kidney or not, a simple day surgery turned into life and death. We watch their chruch family gather around and offer strength and support as they waited. We watched as a doctor friend went back and forth with updates from the unexpectedly long surgery. We listened as they repeated like a mantra, "God will take care of her." The difference for them was that they were allowing God to carry them through the current crisis. I don't know the hearts of the rest of the people in the waiting room, but that family was very obviously different from the rest of us. As Christians, we aren't promised a get out of life free pass. We will still face tragedy, sadness and grief in our life. But we are promised the arms, legs, shoulders, strength, endurance, grace, and peace to make it through the darkest nightmares. And it is in those dark moments that our faith shines the brightest and makes us look supernaturally different from the rest of the world. And it's the only difference that matters.

8 comments:

Mrs. Brownstone @ XBOX Wife said...

I'm glad to hear that your dad's surgery went well!

Larissa said...

That was a really good post...how true!

I had my gallbladder out a few years ago. I have never been so glad to have something out of me in my life, besides a baby I guess.

Lisa said...

Wow, what wonderful observations. Glad your Dad came through alright and has a speedy recovery. Surgery is never fun no matter what it is. Also, never something to take lightly. What an example the group you mentioned set. That is awesome. Hope your weekend is going well.............oh and you made me crave a starbucks-thanks a lot!

Cindy said...

What a great post, friend. I hope that if I am in a hospital waiting room, I might be set apart because of my trust and peace in Him.

Hope your dad is continuing to do well.

Misty said...

I had a similar epiphany, once, in a waiting room similar to the sounds of yours. It is a great leveler... And it never occured to me, before reading your post, what an incredibly powerful force that one families example of faith and steadfastness- while their hearts struggle- could change the lives of many broken and fearful fellow strugglers! Thank God that, even in our hardest moments, he is so faithful to work for the Good...
this was a really great post!

Laci said...

Soo was she okay? It's like a movie with out the ending!

SJ said...

Great post! Glad your dad is recovering well...no surgery is fun, even if it's "no big deal."

jen at Conversations said...

laci, I don't know if she is OK. We left to go back and see Dad before her surgery was over.