Well one things for sure, nothing will give you a little perspective like a stay in the hospital.
Surgery number four was not in my plan. I really thought number three would be it. But as my wound continued to have issues healing, my doctor did the best thing he could and referred me to a specialist he knew could take care of me. So as much as I cringed at the thought, I actually felt really confident in the plan. I didn’t say anything about it to anyone because I had already decided that the year of everything being about “me” was over. At the end of 2016 Jonah and I felt so encouraged in the Lord. We really felt the weight of this journey leave and the freedom to move forward. The word we received on New Years Eve was,”courage”. Courage to believe and move forward into the next year with boldness… and we still feel that way. I’m not waiting for the next thing to happen. So when we decided to move forward with this surgery it wasn’t something I was bracing for. It was something I was determined to do, because I am determined to get better.
Being in the hospital this last time brought me some perspective I wasn’t expecting.
I went in to the hospital on Tuesday the 17th. Outside of the hospital our country was turmoil. Speeches were given and inaugurations commenced. People celebrated and people protested. People all over pressing in for what they believed in, pressing in to be heard. Inside the hospital was a different kind of turmoil. Procedures were scheduled, hands were held and prayers were said. People collectively in one form or another pressing in for their health and their happiness. No one in a bed was worried about who was or wasn’t in the White House, or who was or wasn’t marching. People talked of their marriages and children and grandchildren and joked about who could get poked for more blood… people believing and pressing in to the community they had become a part of.
To be honest with you, this experience has changed me. After everything we’ve been through on this journey, and all the people we’ve encountered, my heart is overwhelmingly convinced over and over again that in all this world the greatest thing we can be is compassionate. I get it. We want to be heard, we want to be right, we want to be justified, but what I’m learning through each of these steps is that without compassion all of our endeavors in life are empty.
I can have passion for something or someone, but passion still stems from me. It’s human emotion to become passionate about causes and hobbies and sports teams. I love good debate. I love getting passionate about things. But really it all routes back to how it ties to me. without compassion my actions and words give way to entitlement or indignation. Compassion keeps us humble in our pursuits because it’s always about something or someone else.
My mom for example told me a story just yesterday about my brother Cameron. He’s a wild man with an adventurous and tender heart. Back several years ago while working with an older gentlemen my brother noticed his shoes were really, really worn. Without a second thought about it he found out what size this man wore and went and bought him a new pair. It wasn’t about what my brother wouldn’t have if he gave, he just saw that someone needed. A few days ago my mom received a package in the mail addressed to my brother who is home for a short break from living out west. She said she called him and told him it arrived. My brother said, “oh those are so and so’s shoes. I saw him and those things are getting really worn again”.
It’s not as much my brothers generosity I’m humbled by… though I am. It’s the fact that he noticed. He noticed something outside of his own thoughts and desires and plans and causes(and he has several)…, he noticed someone’s simple need. That’s compassion. And that is what we need more than anything else in this world.
For so long the world has divided us up into these sects. If you want to save unborn babies then you can’t want to save the whales or the puppies. If you’re republican you can’t care about energy conservation. If you’re democrat you can’t care about preserving the family unit. How messed up is this? Because I guarantee anyone who read those sentences thought,”that’s stupid, I’m this and I still care about that”. And that’s the point. I wish so desperately that people would take a moment to see that whether it’s babies, or families or animals or this planet, it’s all compassion. And all of them need all of us. Not groups of hate from any which way, but all of these without voices need all of us to wake up and realize that compassion is based on this, no one thing deserves my heart to serve it so much that I shut out other things that need it at as well.
And that’s what I’m asking for in the midst of this world and its continuous cycle of “me” and “my voice” and “my thing”. It’s that as I heal that God would just show me more of what’s outside of me. Things that will bring nothing to me, things that may even require giving something away, but things that will bring those simple joys of happiness, health and the feeling of not being alone. It’s a mom changing a diaper, it’s someone helping someone to their car, adopting, holding a door, giving a dollar, stopping to pray, stopping to encourage, stopping to notice there is so much more to gain by giving ourselves away to people and things that can give nothing back to us.
I know this isn’t my typical post surgery update. But I’ve just been so moved by what I’ve seen lately. Being in the hospital and seeing what people have been concerned with outside those walls versus inside has further solidified my belief that there is a clear hero to me between a talking head on TV and a nurse or friend sitting and talking with an elderly woman about her grandchildren and what it will be like to go home. And I think that’s where I’ve lost it before. My “big picture” gets entirely too big and starts to lose all the little people and things that make it up. Because the truth is the greatest things we will find in this life are just past the tip of our own fingerprints. Thanks friends for following along with us as we navigate this healing. Jonah and I are always eternally grateful for your kindness.