Ellen, last week, told me to, "Unwrap the gift," of my unexpected circumstances. And, she said, "Let God create in you."
Well, I feel like it is Christmas and I am surrounded by gifts!
"The" gift, the biggie, is simply being alive. I could so easily not have been. Since our nightmare experience of the weekend before last, Paul has heard story after story of others that ended differently. It has been shocking. But that is not the topic of this post.
Friend after friend has asked me, "Weren't you bored?" And, "Did God give you any 'aha moments?'"
Regarding being bored: I remember, like any other child, occasionally whining to my mum, "I'm bored," during long summer holidays. She always presented me with a case of coloured pencils and a pad of paper on which to draw, or I found another book to read, and boredom vanished. I don't know the meaning of the word anymore. To be alive is to observe, to think, to ponder deeply and listen. There is no end of interesting things in this world, and last week, when my world was a little more confined, I still had roommates and their visitors to observe and smile at. I even joined their lives in little ways.
In the hospital, I made a list of the gifts God gave me there. I call them my Secondary Six after "the biggie:"
1) God brought me to a complete and utter halt. It took him and a drastic measure to do so. My life had been so crazy for months before, and even an upcoming joyfully anticipated weekend conference and vacation in England, were piled one on top of the other in ridiculous fashion. It took God to say, "Enough! You are stopping."
2) Deep rest. Yes, there was pain, and there were pokes and pinches, but in between, there were long, uninterrupted stretches to snooze. I leaned into the gift of rest; reading for short moments, keeping up with email on my Blackberry, and just being decadently lazy.
3) Losing some weight. I went into the hospital with 10 extra pounds and left 5 of them behind. Even though Marilyn, our benefits manager at work, told me in mock seriousness, "Belinda, this is not an approved weight loss plan," which of us would not consider losing even a pound or two a bonus? :)
4) The gift of love: I said to one friend that being lavished with so much love in the hospital felt like being alive at your own funeral. I am grateful for each dear friend, coworker and family member who visited, as well as the great prayer team of The Word Guild, who prayed me through, with others. I cherish each card, so many lovingly made by the hands of children, decorated with hearts and flowers and animals, to cheer the heart of their Auntie Belinda and Omie.
5) We hope that my experience in two different hospitals, and the ordeal of the weekend, will make a difference for others. God could not have chosen a better catalyst for change. I am married to a man who knows how to write a powerful letter and get the attention of those that need to listen. If we can make things better for others through our experience, then it will have been worth it.
We have such an appreciation for the dedicated and hard working nurses and doctors at the small, rural, Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston. They have had staffing cutbacks, have no storage room for equipment, old or new, but they know how to nurse! If our voice can make their value known, and if government might think twice about focusing all it's resources on large regional centres--what a blessing that would be.
6) I spent the week in the bed next to a young man with Downs Syndrome. We soon became fast friends through the curtain, calling greetings to one another throughout the long nights. "Hi Belinda," he would call, softly, and, "Hi Paul," I would call back. Just knowing we were there for one another was a comfort. I listened as his support staff came and went, noting with interest their different styles of supporting. I got to know him and his family really well. One of the most wonderful things I heard his elderly father say to someone, was, "I'm so proud of him. He's one of the better things we did by getting older."
By the time I was ready for discharge, his neice asked me, "Where do you go to church? I'm looking..."
I have a feeling that Paul and his family will be blessing our church family with a visit real soon!
So I sit here surrounded, by gifts poured down from a loving Father. And the unwrapping has only just begun.