The large, glass sliding doors with a burst of icy cold air upon entering. The bright yellow, non-slip socks and matching “fall risk” bracelet. The distinctive smell, like an air freshener dulling the combined scents of illness, cleaning materials and hand sanitizer. The deafening quiet pierced by irritating beeps, elevator tones and mindless TV talk shows. The warm, smiling faces behind every check-in desk passed by. The blank walls unexpectedly closing-in while simply reading a book. The unsolicited memories of shock, suffering and grief. The suffocating fear as I wait.
This morning, my relatively-new husband, “my Solomon”, needed surgery on his arm and hand after battling pain and discomfort for months. (Notice I did not say “his heart, spine or brain” mind you…an arm, an extremity, a body part he could certainly live without, if necessary. And whoa…the dark irony echoes as my spirit searches for stillness.)
Since February 21st of 2013, I’ve had a difficult time at this hospital, not because of rude employees, inedible food or doubt in the medical staff. My uneasiness, instead, is due to the harsh reality that some places from our pasts remain terrifying.
Though my current life is rich with blessings of a “well-adjusted” family, complete with a marriage seemingly “too good to be true” most days, in the very early hours of that morning four years ago, the world stopped. I truly believe it’s turn was halted for a few moments to catch my breath, and everything changed. And here we entered that emergency room thinking the culprit was a gall bladder…”a body part one can certainly live without, if needed”. (Notice the deja vu of my thoughts repeated this morning?)
I remember it all so vividly in this place, everything comes back, hard and fast – the feel of my Kindle as I read an Andy Stanley book, the hard chair I struggled to remain in, the indescribable shock, fear and confusion on my late-husband’s face…the words “I’m so sorry” and “pancreatic cancer” coming out of the physician’s mouth, the distance between where I stood and the edge of the bed, the hurried way I phoned our pastor, and the only thing I knew to do…lock eyes with my husband and say, “Now you listen, Richard Hassell…we’ll be ok, you’ll be ok…”
Most days, those hours seem as if they’re of a previous lifetime…and honestly, they are most days. Yet this morning, the giant of this hospital’s history stood over me, the devil lurking nearby, waiting to shake my faith and weaken my trust.
But today, the giant fell. My Solomon’s surgery went well. The Lord made the wait pass quickly, no need to catch my breath this time. Solomon’s surgeon came to assure me all went perfectly in what felt like minutes. And today, the hospital I dread walking into became a place of healing, hope and future planning as we walked out feeling better than we had entered. For Solomon, because previous physical pains were alleviated with the help of an earthly medical team …but for me, because a previous spiritual giant was slain with the rocks of faith in my slingshot.
(Thank You to all who have prayed for Solomon’s surgery, my comfort and Richard’s peace.)