Have you ever had to wait for something that seems to occupy your mind? As a kid, I can recall Christmas being one of those times each year when you waited with an ever increasing sense of anticipation and a belly full of butterflies. It seemed that with each passing hour and minute the excitement would grow, while at the same time it felt as though the hands of time would inch along at an ever decreasing pace that made you wonder if the day would ever arrive. That same sense of anticipation can be true for the long awaited vacation, a birthday, a wedding, graduation, a promotion, a date… The list of anticipated hopes is endless and yet that expectation we get waiting for the significant moments, is simply part of life.
On a similar note, there is another type of waiting. The distinction in this form of expectation is that it has to do with those things in life that we are not so excited about. As a child, I came to know the expected routine that would occur each time that I had a painful soar throat. I dreaded this situation, because it meant my mom carting me off to the doctor”s office, followed by a tall frightening man in a lab jacket asking me to say “ahhhh” while he forced my tongue down with a depressor and swabbed the back of my throat until I gagged once or twice. This unfortunate ritual was often followed by the statement, “We better give him a shot.” Seriously?!!! Nothing but dread. It felt the same way when it was that time each year for our elementary school physical fitness tests. While I did pretty well in the short distance races, I hated running the 600. The P.E. teacher would warn us a week in advance, so I had time to agonize over the event. I would feel sick to my stomach with the anxiety of competition in any form of distance race, when the race was for a recorded time and against a group of peers. Why is it that this form of waiting seems to have the opposite effect? While those moments in life that we are excited about seem to take forever to arrive, the ones we dread show up with ever increasing speed.
Waiting this past week has felt like the latter. It has been difficult for me to train my mind, so that it does not drift toward “What if?” types of scenarios regarding the pending surgery. We had another family crisis strike this week (that I did not see coming), which seemed to make it all the more difficult to keep my mind from considering negative outcomes. I am presently on my fourth week of my final Master”s course, preparing to complete the class by May 10th and graduate on the 11th. Needless to say, keeping my mind focused on the reading and written assignments has been a serious struggle. While on the one hand my mind has had ever increasing difficulty staying on track with school and other regular tasks, in a different regard I feel as though I have a lazer-like focus. Some of you are reading and saying, “I don”t get it – so what are you able to focus on?” Allow me to explain…
When you are told by your doctor, “Chances are good for a positive outcome, however, there is also a good risk of stroke or worse,” it causes you to think long and hard about what truly matters. What becomes crystal clear in a time like this – is what is most important to you. For me, it is my relationships with those I love. I am not rushing through conversations or thinking about all that I have to do. I am not running around frantically to get my list of to-do”s checked off. I am not concerned about a plethora of details that can often plague my mind when I am moving too fast. Nope – not in the least. I have a strong desire to be with those I love and to let them know how I feel about them. I have felt led to make sure that if I have wronged anyone, I have tried to seek them out to make things right. I have enjoyed my time each day, opening my bible (actually flipping on my iPad and going to my bible app), and reading chapters containing relevant truth to my situation and then reflecting on it and talking with God. I do not feel rushed. On the contrary, I am trying to relish in the moments of the relationships that matter so much to me. The question the comes to mind is, “Why do I often live in such a way that I lose this perspective?”
In the back of my mind I can hear the clock ticking with an ever increasing speed. I was pleased when my surgeon’s office called yesterday to let me know that my surgery has been bumped to this Tuesday at 1PM (Yay – 4 and a half extra hours!). I am not trying to sound morbid, I”m simply speaking about what these sorts of situations and possibilities can do to bring clarity to the moment. It is my hope and intention to keep this sort of focused perspective in mind next week after the surgery. Sandra and I would like to once again thank everyone for their continued prayer support. Please pray for emotional stamina for Sandra and focused school time for me to get ‘er done. Also, this past Sunday Sandra and I were so blessed when we watched Craig Groeshel”s recent Easter message. If you have not seen it but want to watch a hope enriched message, then check it out. You will not regret it.