Well, after a few hours sleep in Day Surgery I’m back home once more. The disconcerting thing is I went in feeling fairly well, pain free and able to move around under my own power. Not after the surgery designed to repair my torn Achilles heel. I am feeling less than chipper, experiencing significant discomfort, some pain, and I’m about as mobile as a three-legged Galapagos tortoise. Ah well, what’s the old saying, “Short term pain for long term gain.”
I want to thank all of you who took a moment to think of me and pray for me today. As I lay on the gurney in the hallway waiting to go into the operating room, I could feel the anxiety building. Then I reminded myself that there were people in the world who were deliberately and purposefully thinking of me right at that moment. I will admit that the comfort to be found in that thought surprised me.
There’s a quote that I have used many time over the years to try to help me keep my ego in check.
“Most people would worry less about what people think of them if they could just realize how seldom they do.”
I don’t know who said it but this sentence has kept me from obsessing on people’s opinions more than a few times. As a teenager I spent a lot of time worrying what my peers thought of me and tried to “fit in” by doing things that would improve those opinions. For a time my insecurity was largely fueled by the idea that people didn’t like me at all and spent a lot of time telling other people how much I sucked. The turn around came when I finally came to grips with the reality that people didn’t think about me as much as I feared.
Then the opposing obsession took hold, “What do you mean people DON’T THINK ABOUT ME? Am I that insignificant that I’m not WORTH thinking about?” This quickly led to a new personal philosophy that stayed with me through-out most of my twenties..”I don’t care what people think about me as long as they do!” My self-esteem now centered around a fear of indifference – to me. It’s amazing how many different ways peer pressure can manifest itself – real or imagined.
With maturity I like to think I’ve struck a balance between the two. My self -esteem is now founded more in my identity in Christ than anything else. Well, most of the time anyway.There are a few individuals whose opinions I use as kind of a benchmark. Other than that I am content to simply be who I am and let the world try and cope with my opinion of it. What people think and whether they are thinking of me at all are of significantly less importance than they once were.
What happened today however, was something all together different. For a few hours it mattered to me a great deal that people were, in fact, thinking of me – and deliberately so. After they wheeled me away from Roberta’s company into the inner labyrinth of the surgery area, I felt suddenly very alone. They took me to the hallway outside the assigned operating room and left me there to gaze out the window. The anxiety rose, and fear started to set in.
Then I remembered what my good friend Brian Watson had said, “We’ll take time at 1 o’clock to stop and pray for you.” In that moment I also remembered the dozen or so others who had committed to do the same thing. I did some quick tallying and estimated that while I was lying there at least 34 people were out there, somewhere, thinking about me and my situation and lifting my name up to God in prayer.
Suddenly, the fear subsided. The anxiety, while still there, no longer took my breath away; the shaking in my hands was reduced to a barely noticeable tremor. I was comforted and encouraged by the knowledge that there were people out there who cared enough about me, who loved me enough to stop what they were doing and lift me up in prayer. I found myself praying for each one of them.
I know, it’s what prayer is all about. It’s why we are commanded in the scriptures to pray for one another. But I, like you gentle reader, are human, and the challenges we face can often overwhelm us and we find ourselves in need of a palpable reminder. Today the Spirit reminded me of that fact in just such a tangible way.
So thank you Brian, et al. Your prayers were heard, and I was greatly blessed.
May God bless each of you for your faithfulness.