We’ve spent some time in hospitals lately. My husband got the sports all mixed up and took a head dive while bicycling. Not recommended. He tore off the ligaments in both wrists and had surgery on both arms. Unsuccessful surgery, that is. The accident happened a couple of years ago, and ever since we have learned a lot about joints (the anatomical kind), surgical techniques, faraway hospitals, and finally, prosthetic wrists.
A few weeks ago, he got his new joint in place. We drove a long way to a specialized Robocop hospital, or the spare parts department, as we call it. As we were driving, we noticed exactly how tired we were after months and years of severe pain, sleepless nights and long hours at work to wrap things up before Thomas’ sick leave. What’s more, we knew what the situation would be after the surgery. He had already had two surgeries on his arms and was less than ecstatic to face yet another.
When the Great Exhaustion kicks in you have two options: either you curl up in a fetal position, or you start joking to keep the depression at bay. We chose the latter.
– So, Thomas… In a couple of days, you’ll be done with the surgery. We should probably plan how to celebrate when you’re done. How about bowling?
– Haha, funny! I don’t think so!
– Hm… Pull-ups? Just for fun?
– Yeah, right! One arm pull-ups! Remember, I already have a sport injury. I’m an athlete!
– Tilting while biking doesn’t qualify as a sport injury.
– Oh, it will when I tell my story!
– I’m sure of it. It’s called historical revisionism.
– Says the woman who claims that opening a window qualifies as being outdoorsy.
– But of course, it does!
– Haha! We’re quite a pair. Maybe we could celebrate with a nice dinner?
– Sure! I’ll even cut your steak into tiny pieces.
– It’s not like you’ll be able to use cutlery for some time, honey.
– Ah, right… I’ll manage with the fork.
– Sure you are. Wanna go ice skating? There’s a rink right outside the hotel.
– No can do. I’m not allowed to walk on slippery surfaces after surgery. They’re afraid I’ll hit my arm, ruining the healing the prosthesis. They told me this story at the hospital of this dude who fell, tearing his prosthesis out of the bone…
– Nice. Now I won’t eat either.
To watch his entire work out session, follow the link. He’s a true athlete…! IMG_1857
The pirate style is overrated
We kept our friends updated on the progress and they were lovely. When we came home after surgery, a concerned co-worker asked me whether Thomas’ fingers were intact, and I burst out laughing. Suddenly, I realized that the idea of a prosthetic joint had translated into prosthetic limbs and Captain Hook associations. I wanted to tell him that no, they were all gone, and that he now had a neat, hairless mannequin arm that’s hardly noticeable, but I held back, not wanting to make fun of my colleague. But it was actually very funny, and laughing is the one thing that has made this entire journey slightly less excruciating.
Not that virtuous after all
There’s been plenty to laugh about. It’s called gallows humor, and truth be told, it’s essential in personal survival kits for general misery. When your prospects are bleak and there’s nothing you can do about it, you laugh at the days to come. That’s the part that I get about the Proverbs 31 woman. The rest is somewhat beyond me. The virtuous woman from Proverbs works day and night, providing for her family and working her fingers to the bone, all while investing into future businesses. I’ve discovered that I need to sleep once in a while. Proverbs 31 women don’t have time for that. Relax, I’m just joking. Kinda. You may laugh at it. Or not. Reading about the virtuous woman has indeed made me face my shortcomings. I mean, none of my kids are dressed in scarlet. Not a single one of them. Clearly, there’s room for improvement.
Not all words are apples of gold in silver settings
My patient husband (pun intended – after all, he had surgery!) has been the object of several well-intended words of advice lately. He has listened to all of them and thanked people for their concern. Turns out, you need a healthy character to be sick. I’ll admit, I’ve sometimes lost my cool. I haven’t said anything to anyone, but I’ve struggled not to let it affect my soul. I wanted to protect my husband; to shield him from stupid comments and the thoughtless acts of well-meaning individuals.
Brace yourselves, ignorance is coming
– Have you prayed for healing? You need to pray, you know.
– I’ve prayed. (Like a thousand times.)
– Is there anyone you haven’t forgiven?
– I don’t hold anything against anyone. I have nothing to forgive.
– Oh, but surely, there must be someone! After all, something’s blocking your healing. Think! Who haven’t you forgiven yet? You know, you don’t remember those you have forgotten.
– Say what? I don’t understand?
– That’s probably why you’re not healed!
– Maybe you don’t have faith for healing? Miracles do happen, you know! I have heard of several miracles. There was even a boy in this area who was miraculously healed!
– I know, I live with him.
– I really feel that you should be praying every ten minutes. Set the alarm and pray every ten minutes. That will heal you.
– I already have.
– Well, obviously not long enough. I really feel that you should not stop. Ever.
– It annoys me that you weren’t healed when I prayed for you. Maybe it’s because you don’t want to be healed?
– But you’re having surgery?
– See? You don’t want God to heal you.
– Did you break off the trauma?
– Did you cancel the effects on your body?
– Did you forgive the concrete for punching you?
– Sorry, I have to leave now. But thank you!
Praying that no-one will get hurt
It’s hard to see people you love being abused like that by persons who claim to have one’s best interest at heart. Who supposedly bring the word and the heart of the Father into your dark situation. People who corrupt the Kingdom and dishonor the Spirit.
Thomas just shook it off and moved on. I struggled. I’ve learned the hard way that secondhand offense is much more difficult to get rid of.
I just wanted to punch someone. In love, of course. After all, I am a Christian.
Realizing that was a bad idea, we laughed. A lot. We laughed at ignorance and deceit, legalism and lack of grace. We never laughed at anyone, but we laughed at the difficult circumstances, at the shallow comments and the hollow imitations of love. Choosing love over rejection, we smiled at the instant fix prayers, the lack of stamina, and the blame game that some indulged in when their prayers weren’t immediately answered. We could not stop them from doing a legalistic quickstep around the golden calf of delayed answers to prayer, but we refused to join in. Instead, we blessed and thanked them, Thomas quicker and more generously than I was capable of.
My spirit said, forgive! But my flesh wanted to flip someone off.
(I rebuke thee, flesh! Come back, Holy Spirit!)
I forgave them, though, knowing full well that I am forgiven.
Faith for healing
My husband has headed the Healing Room of our church for some time. He sees people healed all the time. He loves to pray for people and often seeks out those who others have given up on. Rare illnesses or complex handicaps make his eyes sparkle with eager expectancy. He dreams of seeing limbs grow back out and envisions brains being restored and neurological diseases defeated. Wherever we travel, people come up to him to tell about what happened after he prayed for them. We hear of backs being healed after prayer, club feet miraculously returning to normal position, knees being restored and crutches permanently parked in the closet. Sometimes it takes time before we hear anything, as he encourages them to check with their physician before giving testimony. It makes it even sweeter when eyesight is confirmed healed or prolapsed lumbar discs are proven to be restored!
Thomas is adamant that this is the normal life for any Jesus-follower. There is nothing special about it, it’s just a natural consequence of our inherent royal identity leaking through to our surroundings.
Our Kingdom lifestyle should always imply loving people. In fact, we will not pray for anyone unless we love them.
Making mistakes on a regular basis
I’m not saying that we always get it right, because we certainly don’t. I’ve made my fair share of ill-advised comments or ignorant statements, but I take responsibility for them, clean up my messes and ask for forgiveness.
My most embarrassing mistake was when I asked a person seeking prayer to put his hand over the sick organ as we prayed for healing, conveniently forgetting that he was suffering from prostate cancer. By the grace of God, he refused, leaving me slightly bewildered and eventually, giggling while flushed. He was graceful and forgiving, and I learned to pay closer attention to Holy Spirit instructions instead of praying on autopilot… It’s ok to make mistakes, as long as we learn from them.
We can’t heal anyone. But our Father certainly can.
Thomas is still waiting for his miracle, even after surgery.
– I wonder what it will look like when God heals my joint. Will the metal dissolve? Will it drip out? I wonder how it will smell?? I can’t wait to see what God will do!
That’s what life looks like when you know the Healer.