Today was probably the most bizarre day I've had. That should tell you something, since I attended a state college. No wait...college still had today beat. Oh nevermind, I'll just get to it!
I spent the entire afternoon in a hospital emergency room with a woman I never met. Well, this woman and my very dear friend. What began as one friend (me!)offering to accompany the other (her!) while she delivered church Thanksgiving baskets to families...suddenly became a medical emergency.
Because this gal's family couldn't get to the hospital for several hours, it meant that my friend and I were to take over all the typical hospital accomplice duties like accompany her to registration, intake, triage, etc. We didn't mind, of course. All that mattered was, and is, her well being. We both felt blessed to be called by God in that exact moment to serve in that capacity, and we'd do it again in a heartbeat.
There were times she was able to articulate rather clearly. She shared that she suffers from a chronic disease, that times are very hard, that she never thought she'd be in this place in life at her age, that nothing ended up like she thought it would, that she was so, so depressed. I stood there looking in her eyes, catching glimpses of when she was fully and totally with me, as well as when she was in that other, more incoherent, slurry speech riddled place. And while her story is SO not about me, I find myself reflecting on everything she said.
I get the whole "chronic disease, how did I get here, this is not the way I imagined life" theme. And the more I listened and digested, the more afraid I got. Enter "What If" game! I ran it all through my head...what if this is me in 20 years? What if my health gets to be such that I can no longer work, my husband's no longer a part of my life, and I find myself being helped out of my home by a stranger I met seconds earlier? What if my stress reaches stroke level? What if my kids are hours from being able to be there for me? What if I'm a burden to them and they actually want to be hours away? The "What If" game never made it to television because, quite frankly, it sucks. In fact, it reaches an unsurpassed level of suckdom. Yet I continue to play on certain occasions.
My little game was momentarily interrupted when the nurse introduced us to the television remote on behalf of our patient, who had fallen asleep. Even in her restful state, she appeared so worn down by life. I decided to put on a channel that played Christian music, turn it down to a relaxing level, and place the speaker next to her. When the staff came to take her down for a CT scan, she awoke and commented on the beautiful "inspirational" music...said she recognized the songs and really liked them. My friend and I spent a couple of hours in the empty hospital room, awaiting her return. As she was wheeled back in to await the results, the first thing she said was that she was glad we were there. The second thing, "where is that music? I really want my music".
As she asked that, I didn't see tears, nor apparent worries. It was plain to see that she was receiving God's comfort, and it came in the form of Christian music. That's when it hit me.
Yep, I know about chronic disease. I don't know how I got here and sure didn't expect this from my life. Times get hard. But I do believe the age old "God only gives us what we can handle" line. Then I really got to thinking...I just might be stubborn enough, strong enough, and dog gone it, crazy enough to get through this according to His plan. Kind of like Stuart Smalley meets the Bible! I believe that if continue to draw close to God, He will comfort me. I saw it in action today, through the eyes of a woman enduring her afflictions. Just another example of how God is good...all the time.