There is a man at our church whose family has faced hardship over the years. I don't know this family well, but I know them well enough to know that they have lost one of their sons to leukemia in his early teens and that another son, though in his twenties, never developed past the age of a young toddler. Many a Sunday during worship you can find this man not sitting in his seat with the etchings of life's burdens on his face, but rather he is up front dancing and waving flags. (Oh how I wish I had video of him for you to watch) It isn't the dancing or the flags that keeps my eyes upon him, but it is his face. His face beams with joy.
I have often watched this man and I would wonder how one finds this joy. This joy that dances at the goodness of the Lord after the loss of a son. This joy that waves flags of worship to a God who never healed either of his boys. I did not know this joy, or any joy, and I wanted to. I wanted to know joy that sits deeper than life's circumstances.
"You can start waking up now."
The nurse said as I was wheeled out of the operating room and into the recovery room. I had spent almost ten hours in surgery. I had gone into the surgery praying that God would walk me through the door of my darkened past and show me whatever it was I needed to know.
I have no memory of those ten hours. I had half expected to wake up with a dream like sequence of childhood events somewhere in my consciousness. There was none of that. Since it seemed nothing had happened I expected to feel that paralyzing sensation of fear and anger over what was still left waiting behind that door. There was none of that either. No my heart and mind were strangely devoid of angst.
|The alien-esque drainage|
tube and me in my $3
fuzzy jammies I found
on clearance.Pain and
happiness side by side.
Not only was I devoid of angst, but there was an underlying happiness.
I was in pain physically from the surgery, my neck felt as though an alien was trying to burst through my skin due to the drainage tube sticking out of it, but under the pain was happiness. (I must admit though that I almost cried when the Dr. told me I would have to keep that painful tube in for another day.) I made a mental note of the happiness and filed it away.
As the days post surgery have continued to tick by happiness has continued to follow me. It was only during my not so great reaction to lorazepam that it went away for awhile.
Then the happiness became more. I became washed in it. For two days straight I could not get the smile off of my face, I was beaming. Wait, I was beaming? Yes, this girl who had never known joy was suddenly awash in it. Fear had gone and joy was filling me.
I went to church last Wednesday night and I could. not. stop. smiling. I was smiling so much that my cheeks were literally starting to hurt. I kept looking over at my pastor, wondering if he had noticed. I wanted to catch his eye and point at the smile, open my eyes wide, and shrug my shoulders as if to say, "Look at that, you were right, who would of thunk it?"
I have no idea what happened to me during that surgery emotionally, but I know that God answered my prayer in His own way. He met with my heart and soul that day and He changed me. He has also been whispering here and there of where He is leading me. Whispers that before the surgery would have terrified me and left me saying, "I think you have the wrong girl here."
The first Sunday after I came home from surgery I sat and listened to our guest speaker at church talk about a place that used to burn brightly for God. As he spoke God showed me an image of this place once again being set ablaze with His Spirit. I was thinking, "That would be so great." and not giving it much more thought than that. Later as the service was ending God showed me the image of a match and He asked me, "How many matches does it take to light 1,000,000 candles?"
The answer was only one, because once the first candle is lit it can then light the next and so on.
Then he reminded me of that image from earlier and suddenly I felt very match like.
He has also been whispering that there is more I am going to need to remember from my past. It will need to come out, but I no longer fear the knowing. That door that it sits behind doesn't loom large and loud with scratching noises any longer. What sits behind it hasn't changed, but my ability to face it has. I can only chalk that up to God.
My surgery and the subsequent medications to help regulate my hormones may be able to explain some of the attitude shift, but it can't account for removing fear and bringing joy.
I went into surgery on a Thursday morning in early April and since then God has been whispering,
"You can wake up now Sweetheart. It is time for you to start dancing, because your face is beaming."