In all things
Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I've entered thousands of rooms, tonight I enter hers with smile and stethoscope. That repeated question arrives on my lips. "How are you?"
She's distressed, unhappy. Hospitals, the sterile world of white, where people hear the declaration of nearing death and search for paths to delay. She was here in her bed, the receiver of more time. I am here too, as healer.
"I wish they hadn't saved me. I wish I had died." She looks down at her hands.
Her heart had slowed that day. Unresponsive to the world and the nurses who were coaxing vitality back to that great muscle, but it wasn't her time. Revived and alive she was promptly scheduled for a backup plan in the mechanics of a pacemaker.
At 84 years living, she was spry still, untouched by the usual happenings of increased age. Mother of six, having buried the seventh in results of tragedy, she was grieving her loss. Unsure, exactly why she wanted to die, but searching in her unhappiness for a reason to offer me.
Thinking back a few weeks I remembered another waiting in her bleached white bed for healing. Not even sixty, her body was a mangled mess of illness. She used her frail arms to hold head up high, her neck muscles proving ineffective. They had long been eaten by the radiation she was gifted in her teenage years. One sweet gift given, longer life with these tangled strings attached.
It ate her heart, too. Leaving it, the once vibrant core, a ball of mush.
I enter her room as healer, but she blesses me. My own healthy heart has ears and it listens to her quiet way, saying thank you for the simplest acts. I'm left in wonder. It was hard not to see her deformed bones jutting out from spine as if to break the skin and wondering if this were asked of me would I remain grateful.
I turn the pages of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and find she asks this same question. Am I really asked to be thankful for the hard and ugly things in life? Can I find joy in the pain of child death? Can God take the vile abuse of one little girl and turn that time into opportunities of thankful healing? The lists goes always on with tragedy and broken moments of every single life lived.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20 (NIV)