Spiritual Adhesions: E Does NOT Equal MC2
When will I learn that I can’t put God in a box?
I keep thinking I’ve got him all figured out when he reminds me that the day that I can figure Him out is the day I need to find a new god to worship. I heard that somewhere… the original quote is much cooler, but this’ll do. My point? God is not formulaic so I’m not going to totally figure him out. I think he thrives on surprising his people. It surely hasn’t escaped anybody’s notice that there was only one burning bush, one parting of the Red Sea, and one ofs for just about everything in Scripture. So why do I keep trying to chain him down to a formula — a single way of doing something? It’s because I don’t really like surprises. I like things to go my way and I like to know where I’m going.
Experiencing how God helped me overcome my anger in the hospital was cool. I felt like it had connected me to my roommate and her aunt. I have her phone number. I’m planning to call her. That had to be God and surely God was done with that lesson. My anger was now gone. I’d passed the test. Time to move on to some other spiritual lesson; time to take down another spiritual adhesion. At least that’s what I thought. I now had a private room and used the silence to sleep rather deeply all night and most of the next day. When I wasn’t sleeping I was trying to walk. They took my epidural out on Monday. Not sure exactly when I got my second roommate…I literally can’t remember. Don’t know if it’s because of the meds or because I was too busy being mad. Roommate number deux pushed my button almost immediately.
Hadn’t I walked around this desert before?? How come I have the same kinds of challenges one right after another?? SURELY I’d leveled up or gotten an extra life or something. If I was playing my favorite video game I’d have rescued the Princess by now and be done. Time for a new challenge.
When they told me that I was getting a new roommate I panicked. Even though the last one had ended well… it’s pretty clear that I don’t play well with others. I didn’t want a new roommate. Or if I had to have a new person in the room, why couldn’t this roommate be like my second roommate on Oahu when I had my hysterectomy last year?? She was mute. I’m sorry that she was in a catatonic state, really, I am. But it definitely made for a quiet room. Is wanting peace and quiet after major surgery a sin?? Probably not, but getting all bitter and resentful about noisy roommates is. I think God sent the next roommate just because my attitude stunk to high heaven.
Shortly after they wheeled her in her family followed. Husband and three sons —triplets. Big and loud fifteen year old triplets who had to have the radio and the tv on at the same time. Seems that they needed both to serve as background noise for their really loud conversation. Did they think she had a private room? Surely, they’d seen me when they came in. I’m kinda hard to miss: Black girl with an epidural. They’d trouped passed my bed and taken up residence on the other side of the iron curtain which had gone up while I wasn’t looking. I kept thinking that if I was making that kind of racket with my guests they would have been upset on their mom’s behalf. Why not throw a little respect my way?
I tried praying. The fact that I could hear them through my earplugs seemed to block my prayers. I even tried introducing myself to her. She was a nice lady and like my first roommate was in a lot of pain. This is where I’d love to say that God changed my attitude and she and I started singing Kumbya together. That my empathy kicked in like with the first roommate… but this time it didn’t...and I wanted to kick right back.
SLEEP! I wanted sleep. I wanted peace and quiet and nothing about this woman was quiet. Once her family left it was the cellphone. If it wasn’t the phone she was pushing the call button for the nurse. Even her IV was noisy. Early Monday morning my doctor had said that if they took the epidural and the catheter out he’d send me home on Tuesday. Since they hadn’t taken it out and I still couldn’t move my legs I panicked. I wasn’t ready to go home Tuesday. My surgery had only been on Friday. That was way too soon to be discharged. Didn’t he realize that I’d just had major surgery?? Fear of being home alone and falling fed my panic. That was until the roommate started pushing my buttons. I couldn’t wait for them to take that epidural out! I went from being afraid to leave to raring to go. Thirty minutes after they took out the epidural I was trying to stand. Anger is a powerful motivator. Once my tiny little nurses were able to get me up and moving I didn’t stop.
Prayer was still not working to change my attitude. This is where my “Get up and MOVE” doctrine kicks in. I think God had heard enough of my prayers. It was time to do something. Instead of laying in bed getting mad and marinading in bitterness, resentment, and self-pity it was time to get up and move. Since I still couldn’t walk unassisted, I got the nurse’s aid to come with me as I took a spin around the ward. Since she was all of 4 feet tall… it truly was a faith walk. I had faith that God wasn’t going to let me fall and crush her like a bad blooper in a Godzilla movie. She had me push a wheelchair for balance. Just the act of getting up and moving took the edge off my anger.
And that’s how I spent all of Tuesday and most of Wednesday. I was walking the halls at 2:00 in the morning and it felt good. The bible says that in our anger we shouldn’t sin, so I wasn’t. I was walking. Imagine how much weight I could lose if I walked every time I got mad at somebody. I’d be back in a size 12 by summer. Hagen Daas to soothe an emotional upset?? Nah. I’m going for a walk. Roommate got another phone call? I took a walk. Why do people talk so loud on cellphones? Do they think it helps the other person hear them better?? Roommate eating her soup for lunch and slurping and smacking? Let’s take another walk. I think the nurses thought I was really diligent about walk since it aids recovery. I didn’t want to burst their bubbles and tell them I was walking because I was annoyed.
My last three visitors actually found me in the hallway walking, so I got them to walk with me. And because I didn’t want to disturb my roommate who’d actually stopped talking and slurping long enough to sleep, my friends and I sat outside the room and talked. Ok. I’m still snarky. Sue me. My point is that the anger didn’t go away with prayer. It also didn’t go away when I gave God thanks for stuff. If I’d sat around in my bed it probably wouldn’t have gone away. I needed a change of scenery because every time I took myself out of the situation I was able to focus my prayers on something other than myself. I was also able to refine my attitude of gratitude. I also learned a valuable lesson.
There will be times once I get back to my real life where prayer will help me deal with my anger, but as great as prayer is, it’s not a formula. Just pray this prayer and God will do (fill in the blank). Prayer is not the handle of a vending machine that’s tied to God. When dealing with spiritual adhesions I need to be open to whatever or whomever God wants to use. Other times I will have to remove myself from the situation rather than persevere in it. I can almost guarantee you that if I hadn’t gotten out of that room I was going to club her like a seal on the beach with a bedpan. Ok. NO, I wouldn’t have… but I would have thought about it which is just as bad in Jesus’ eyes.
By Tuesday night I REALLY wanted out of the hospital. The ward wasn’t full the day I had my surgery. Only 14 patients, but by Tuesday night they had a full house of 24 patients. That meant 24 sets of friends and families all making noise! The woman in the next room was playing her music loud enough for me to hear it in my room! And one large family had completely taken over the waiting area and were so loud security should have been called. There wasn’t anywhere to go to get away from the noise. At one point, I gave in to self-pity and I cried. I found one of the few quiet spots on the entire floor and I cried. The pain, the noise, the lack of privacy… I told God that I was done. Take the fork out and send me home. When my doctor showed up I pretty much begged him to discharge me. My fears of being alone in my house and pulling a Mrs. Fletcher were gone. Y’know… “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
The noise and my angry response to it was going to wreak havoc with my recovery. It was time to go. Doctor agreed that I could go home even if I hadn’t had the pre-requisite bowel movement, and I began packing as soon as I’d secured a ride. By 4:30 I was safely at home praising God for the solitude. I had no real appreciation before the surgery for just how quiet my place is. PRAISE GOD for my tiny little two room “ohana” unit. It is the perfect place for the next phase of my healing, which of course did not go according to any of my plans. I am, however, learning that God’s plans are WAY cooler than my own even if he does like to surprise me.