Morning Reflections After Surgery

“But as for me, I will sing about your power.  Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.  For You have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress.  O my strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.”  Psalm 59:16-17 (NLT)

My husband has been enduring an increased amount of physical pain in his back for the past couple of years.  He underwent a series of medical procedures prior to the decision of surgery, for other methods needed to be exhausted before the risks of surgery were considered on a  man in his “vintage” years.  Although he was in tremendous pain, especially the last few months, I would have to name that section of our life together as “the best of times and the worst of times.”  Of course when someone is hurting so much, it is just terrible to watch and not be able to ease the physical suffering. That is the worst part.  But the best part is the sweetness of spirit and genuine appreciation that was shown and expressed toward God and for one another and the people in our lives.  My husband’s faith in the Lord’s goodness stayed strong.  There are some great memories of walks we took in a garage sale wheelchair we found and he restored (complete with oak arms).  The walks and little inclines in our neighborhood sidewalks gave me some much needed physical exercise.  He benefited from getting out in the fresh air and we explored streets and cul-de-sacs we hadn’t visited since the houses were built some years ago.  The encouraging words and short visits with people along the way brightened those days and we thoroughly enjoyed our time together.  Since we were new to this wheelchair thing, we looked pretty silly on one trip to a large grocery store as my husband had me push him in the wheelchair, and he put his feet up on the shopping cart and reached up to steer it.  It made kind of a long train to which one six year old looked upon with wonder and said, “ah – awesome!”  Each time I felt a little self-conscious about looking a little out-of- place (not about the wheelchair, but about the “wheelchair train”) I’d look at my husband and he was just smiling and enjoying being out and exchanging cheerful words with the other shoppers.  I just love him, I thought, and then we’d move on. That was the “best of times” part.

And so when surgery was imminent, we realized things could go really well, or not.  We acknowledged that God is good, whatever way this goes, holding on to His promise to be with us always.  Our dear family helped us with many practical things and our circle of family, friends and spiritual family held us up in prayer and we definitely felt that reality.  The surgery going well was a real gift.  I was made mindful that others who at a similar place in life do not have the same outcome and sometimes the mystery and workings of God are hard to grasp.  I was reminded of the Scripture that tells us to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”  I have to say the people in our lives do this very well.  Being in ministry we often are in the place of weeping with others for life has many challenges and difficult times.  But for now in this time and this place, it is a time for rejoicing and we are appreciative of this gift of health at this time. Recovery in such matters goes on for some weeks and months, but each day is a present and we can say with the Psalmist, “O my strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.”

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