I know that had to stretch myself a bit to come up with this letter, and I would prefer to post nothing before I am prepared. Finally I am prepared. It will take a bit of introduction to get to my point, but bear with me.
Currently Steve and I are at an Indianapolis hospital, caring for his mom who had surgery. I took over her care when Steve's brother, sister-in-law, and then his sister had to leave. I have been here for 5 days and 4 nights.
Hospitals are both wonderful and awful places. Mom's care has been superb, and we have no complaints in that department. However, a 5 star hotel for family members, it is not. I have made the best of the situation though, and the nursing staff has been wonderful in meeting many of my own needs.
After about day 3 though, exhaustion sets in (could have taken a "x" from that word as well). My mind was less clear, my body weary, and my emotions running wild. I have such a new appreciation and understanding for the young parents that have to endure this; sometimes for months.
Yesterday was particularly rough. Mom experienced some post surgical side effects that I, by myself, and running on empty was not able to handle. I was breaking down, I knew it, and I also knew I needed help if I were to be any good for Mom. Thankfully, Steve arrived at about 8:30 local time. We went for a quick bite to eat, then returned to the hospital. Since I was not thinking clearly, I decided against getting a hotel room at that moment because I thought as late as it was, we would save money by tag teaming in recliners or the cot in Mom's room. Steve took the cot, and I went off to search for a recliner. Thing is, I was just too tired to relax in that recliner. After returning to the room a few times, and emotionally breaking down when a security guard asked if I was okay, I finally decided after midnight that the price of a hotel would be the best present I could give myself. I was driven to the hotel by another hospital security guard, and I checked in.
Ahhh, the power of a shower and un-interupped sleep.
Now, finally, we come to the letter X, almost.
The hotel where I stayed provides a service for folks such as me. We are able , without pay, to reserve a regular room to take a nap or shower. They give you 1 1/2 hours, then you simply turn in the key and return to the hospital. I took advantage of this on Monday and it was such a blessing. I was so impressed with this service, and so grateful that I wanted to pay somebody something. The hotel will not accept it, yet this thought remained in my mind.
As I left my room this morning, I passed a woman, who had obviously been recently injured (arm in cast, limping, multiple bruises). I then requested a shuttle back to the hospital, as did she. We were told that the shuttle was running very late so I called Steve and asked him to drive over to get me. I also asked if he could drive someone else back too.
In the little time we were waiting for Steve, I learned quite a lot about Melanie and REX. They are married, and drive their own big rig for a living. Melanie was at the wheel on interstate 74 when Rex decided to take over. As he got up to move to the cab from the sleeper, he stumbled,. Melanie took 1 hand off the wheel to try to help him, and Rex without thinking, grabbed for the side of the wheel for something to hold on to. This split second decision caused their lives to be turned upside down. Melanie lost control, laid the rig down on it's right side and then lost consciousness. When she came to she realized that Rex had been thrown from the truck and was in the median with paramedics. Alive, yet much more serious than she, they both were flown to this hospital. Melanie has had surgery, and while still healing from injuries, she will be okay. The road to recovery will be longer for Rex, as he is still in ICU. Melanie and Rex are from Ohio, they were headed with a load of furniture to California, where in fact, all of their kids live. They now find themselves in a strange city, and in circumstances they never imagined.
I listened to Melanie, and was actually drawn into her story, feeling as if I was truly invited into their lives. She needed to tell her story, and quite honestly, I needed to hear it. It is easy, in the midst of your own trials, and fatigue to forget others, and to become so self focused.
At that moment, I felt a nudging, which many times is overlooked. This time though, I could not deny it. I reached into my purse, and pulled out some money, not much, yet just enough to at least buy a couple of meals. She resisted at first, but I explained about my free shower earlier in the week and how God told me to find someone to "pay it forward", I then told her, she was the one.
Finally Steve pulled up, and we dropped Melanie off at the door before finding our parking space. As we walked back up to the entrance I realized that this is a big hospital, with many rooms, and every one has a Rex or a Melanie. In every room someone's life has been turned upside down. I then asked God to place His mighty Hands over this place and bring comfort into these lives.
I wonder though, how many times I have ignored a Rex or a Melanie. We ask someone how they are. They say fine. We know they are not really, but we leave it at that. I think that in reality, our lives would be so much more in perspective if we took these moments to invest in the lives of others.
I am reminded of this scripture:
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
I have read before (sorry I cannot remember who said it) that just perhaps the word "wait" in this passage is not what we think, that maybe instead of being thought of as passive, such as sitting back and being patient, and waiting on God to do something, that maybe it is a very active verb. Perhaps it is waiting on God such as a waitress waits on us. That when we are actively serving God, then He will re-new our strength. And, perhaps, this was realized in my life today. Only after I stepped outside of myself, and found someone to minister to in God's name, have I been renewed.
I am glad I waited to write about the letter X until it involved a lesson from God.
We we see both how long it takes for Y and Z, and what God has in mind for them.