When your doctor tells you that you must have major surgery and that you will recover but that it will take two months or more, you cannot help but pause. You start asking questions fast. Is this necessary? Is there some other way? Could we reevaluate this? The answers come. You must have this surgery to solve the issues that put you in the doctor’s office to begin with. So, you make plans. You prepare those around you. You get people to schedule to help. You pack for the hospital stay. And, as a person of faith, you pray that you will be able to handle what is coming.
Waking up after the surgery, you are disorientated and there are complete strangers poking and lifting you. You look around and three angels, your people, sit in the chairs in the room. It all becomes a muddle as you fall back asleep wondering how the next days are going to go. Every time you wake up, they ask you how your pain is and you can’t tell. Nothing seems to not ache. And it hits you, in one of your more cognitive moments, is this an example of Christ’s suffering? Could this be a time for you to learn what His agony was like?
You let that go quickly because suffering in pain does not make you very popular. Besides, you are not SO holy that you would be good in physical distress. But the thoughts keep coming to you, especially when you pray. So, you give in and try to understand how this suffering can bring you closer to understanding the Cross. And you discover that pain is a nuisance. It binds you. It disturbs you. It grieves you. When people ask you how you are you repeat the same phrase hoping that they will just go away because you need to suffer alone. And again, you think of Jesus and how pain is isolating and emotional. No one can take away the pain.
Medication is a good thing. It’s amazing how medicine can change searing pain to a dull throb. Company is a healing wonder. People taking a moment to make a meal or do the dishes easies the pressure. Reading is a distracting consumer of time. Fiction about Newfoundland during 9/11, the writings of John XXIII, and a variety of things you don’t commit to reading in normal times all pass your way. Strange how they all have some form of suffering to their tales.
Jesus didn’t have any pain killers. He had some friends but they were unable to comfort him. Jesus could not be distracted. His mission was clear. Trust through this agony. Believe the Father’s plan for the pain. And there is the question. What is the Father’s plan for the pain? Will you walk out of this dying to yourself and be better? Will you now trust God, who is in our suffering, and know more of my Savior? Will you stop being ungrateful, unkind, and unavailable to others? Dozens of questions come to mind.
The contradictions of being under the influence of time and medication takes a toll on you. Should you really be reflecting on your life as you recover? Is this a good time for self-contemplation? And then you hear yourself laugh and you realize what God’s plan for your pain has been; to remember that the Cross is about love and that love is always around us, even in our pain. So, you sleep trusting and looking to the next day and the next plan.
By Guest Blogger Monica J. Simmons:
– Member of St. Michael Church, Motley.
– Crookston Native, Twins Fan, Nap Taker
– Has been in Youth Ministry for so long she forgets
– College & High School Grad, Perfect Attendance in 1st Grade
– Bible Camper, Retreat Admirer, Funniest Person in her home
– Single because Drums demand attention
– Wants a large dog really badly