Two weeks ago yesterday I was awakened to someone yelling, “Breathe, Shannon! Breathe!!” I complied. And then “Cough, Shannon! Cough!” Again, I complied.
“Are we done?” I asked.
“Yep, we’re all done,” the voice said.
I started to get up off the gurney. That’s all I remember.
Then suddenly I was crossing the threshold of a hospital room.
And, just as suddenly, my in-laws and kids were in the room with my husband, and someone had offered me a bite of the driest breakfast muffin on earth accompanied by the driest slice of cantaloupe on earth.
The final image was that of a blue-eyed dark-haired physical therapist who had come to rouse me out of bed for a few hops, skip and a jump down the corridor. Once my eyes opened to her fuzzy face, I heard her say “Hi” to which I responded with a little wave. As my eyelids dropped shut again, she turned round and left the room.
All of these things happened over a nine-hour period. I remember only a cumulative ten minutes of the span.
Anyway, today, 15 days later, I will be attempting to ride my bike. I won’t be going anywhere; the bike is set on a wind trainer.
“Impressive. Most impressive.”
That was Darth. Good buddy of mine.
I’d be lying if I told you it’s been smooth sailing since I arrived home 12 days ago. By home-day three I was entertaining serious doubts about whether I have what it takes to suffer, which now in hindsight I understand is the point. If I felt I could handle it, it wouldn’t be suffering, right? It would just be a momentary inconvenient circumstance with a promising upside. So suffering involves serious doubt and often leads to a bout of hopelessness followed by fear. Thank God it was just one day.
By home-day four, my trajectory of pain began a rapid decline, partly because my body is apparently of the quick-healing sort, and partly because I had learned how to better care for myself. My family was grateful for my turn toward hopefulness.
But here’s the thing. I can already see that the sky has opened. The lid that’s been on my life for the past 3 years is gone. Now it’s just a matter of walking through the next gate. Sounds simple enough.
And this is where the testing begins.
Will I walk through the gate? Will I build up steam and eagerly run into the field beyond the gate to find the treasure for which I would sell everything I own in order to return and buy the entire plot of land? Will I receive this gift of healing and appropriate all of its implications for what my now different future could be? Will I use this good for His glory?
Or will I stay huddled in my house, only venturing out to the back patio for my daily time of silence and solitude among the birds and lawnmower men in the neighborhood?
Or God forbid, will I allow my once self-absorbed obsession with physical fitness creep back in and distract me from the journey forward? Ugh. That sounds so shallow. But it’s real.
Sometimes I scare myself. But I also know that God leaves no stone unturned, and I can trust Him to keep me on course.
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.