Plans have been finalized. We are eagerly counting down the days till surgery. While we wait God is helping me grow in gratitude.
Plans are Finalized
Thursday meant another trip to Philadelphia to see Dr. Roses, my surgeon. The more time we spend together, the more I like him. He is confident, capable, and willing to discuss whatever thoughts I may have.
While on retreat this week, I made peace with the fact that I would not be traveling to Africa next week. I had planned to argue with Dr. Roses that we could wait until after Africa for this surgery. Sitting in quiet at the Jesuit Center, the Spirit spoke peace to my soul. My life would not be forever changed if I went to Togo. I needed to lay aside the resentment of missing this trip I longed for and be grateful for the opportunity for ministry in Kennett and this surgery. Content but not complacent. Africa will happen, just not right now.
I like Dr. Roses!
Dr. Roses asked about my decision regarding treatment. I told him I was ready for the surgery. It was time to get this pump implanted so we could move on with treatment. He asked about my schedule. I replied, “If you are ready to do this tomorrow…I will be there.” He smiled while Kaitlyn, his assistant, laughed. I was serious.
Looking at the computer screen, he said, “My next week is pretty full.” Turning to Kaitlyn, they talked of the need for approvals from insurance companies, the FDA (for the pump), and arranging for Operating Room time. By the sound of things we were weeks away from surgery.
After a moment of reflection, Dr. Roses turned to me and said, “How does next Tuesday sound?”
I like Dr. Roses!
Kaitlyn’s mouth was just about on the floor. Nancy looked extremely nervous. Dr. Roses and I were both smiling…we had a plan. The conversation very quickly focused on what needed to be accomplished and who was responsible for what. Poor Nancy and Kaitlyn were still in shock. I was signing forms granting permission for surgery. Dr. Roses was giving a final review of all the risks and rewards.
Off for some pre-op bloodwork and then lunch.
It looks like Tuesday, November 12th is the day! I am awaiting a phone call on Monday to tell me the time.
I left the hospital and returned to Jesuit Center to finish my time of retreat. I have come to recognize that each retreat has a theme. A common thread that the Spirit uses to speak words of life and hope into my soul. The theme this time has been gratitude.
Part of my time was spent thinking about the resentments that I cling to. Those themes or ideas which I allow power to shape how I view life. Resentments are often born out of a misplaced feeling of being owed something. “My job owes me this…” “I have been a good friend. Certainly, they owe me…” “My spouse owes me that…” “Life has been unfair. I am owed…” “After all I have done for this group. Certainly, they owe me…” “I have lived a faithful life. God owes me…”
Your story is exactly that, yours. Only you can speak to the life experiences and relationships that have given birth to resentments within your world. I am intimately connected with my own.
Left unchecked my resentments run amuck. I rationalize, explain away, and defend even the most ridiculous of ideas. Slowly my resentments grow. Relationships are destroyed, and my soul feels much less than alive.
The Steam Speaks
Thursday night, I sat in the balcony of the sanctuary. The sanctuary is a massive space with floors, walls, and ceiling all made of stone. I was the only human being present. The space was quiet. The kind of quiet where you can almost hear your thoughts.
Suddenly the steam pipes roared to life — a loud bang, followed by all sorts of crackling, hissing, and popping. The Center was charging the steam lines in preparation for winter. The silence was shattered as steam pipes down both sides of the sanctuary sang their song, and sounds echoed through the night. It was a sharp contrast to the quiet of a few moments before.
Sitting amidst the noise, I started to chuckle. God was choosing to speak to me through the steam pipes. These noisy pipes were a perfect window into how my resentments often echo through my life.
When I allow my resentments to run unchecked, they shatter the stillness and quiet of my soul. I may be moving with a spirit of grace and gratitude until suddenly I allow the resentments to speak. Roaring to life, my resentments remove any semblance of peace and stifle thoughts of moving with grace and gratitude.
The only remedy I know of comes in the form of confession.
I cannot (at least not yet) stop the resentments from raising their ugly heads within my life. What I can do is rush to confess them. Confess them to God, myself, others. In that confession, I am removing the power of resentment and saying, “I chose not to move this way…I chose gratitude!”
At times the only gratitude I may be able to muster is, “God, thank you for allowing me to see my resentments.” In those times, I (we) must pray for help to lay it aside and move with thanksgiving and joy.
Are there people, experiences, places that build resentment within you and hold you captive?
In even those most difficult of things, what has God shown you that is worthy of gratitude?