Friday, January 4, 2013

Choose. Hope. . . Choose Life. . . Seek God. . .

I had my tonsils removed when I was 20 years old. I had recurring sore throats, and I asked my doctor to remove my tonsils and he arranged it. My room at Elkhart General Hospital was in a very old section of the hospital, and I was in a four man ward.

My bed in this small room, was on the left by the door as you entered. On the right by the door, was an old gentleman who was completely insensible due to some kind of dementia. I remember the night after my surgery having to go to the nurses station, because in some kind of dream or delirium he was ripping out his IV lines and doing himself damage.

On the right at the far end of the room by the room’s windows, was an elderly Amish gentleman with a long white beard. I’m assuming he was hard of hearing and had had prostate surgery, for I remember his doctor visiting him and speaking in a booming voice told him, “Well Zeke (cannot remember his real name, but I vividly remember these words), now you should be able to drill a hole in a six foot snow bank.”

On the left side of the room by the window, was a cherub faced man with twinkling eyes, and a lively smile affixed to his face. His window, though it looked out into the array of cooling towers, and other engineering structures on hospital rooftop, received a bit of the afternoon sun. I’m sure this placement was intentional on the part of the nurses. . . for this man had gas gangrene, and that hospital bed was to be his address for the span of his remaining life.

He had lost one leg completely to surgery, and his foot from the other. Several fingers from one hand were gone. . . He had one remaining good hand, but relentlessly his disease rotted him away, and he was being chopped to bits under the surgeon’s knife in an endless retreat of life from his perimeter.

I remember this man’s wonderfully cheerful disposition. He shamelessly flirted with each nurse, and female aide who tended him. Bringing smiles and sparkles to their eyes, with his shameless flattery, winking innuendo, and quick witted banter. He had good, kind, and uplifting words for each of his visitors that I saw. He was a kindly friendly grandfatherly soul to me, though wrapped in my own recovery, I watched him with amazement.

I saw a man clearly facing his own death in a term measured not by decades or years, but by a few torn sheets of the calendar, and yet he sparkled. . . a bright light in our dim ward. He who could be seen to be so needy himself, lifted up all the people he encountered. Death had no power over him. I saw no fear, or self pity within this man, but a ministering spirit.

Happiness is a decision. I see it in the jail. Two men faced with the same charge, the same sentence, and one will be depressed, sullen, angry. . . maybe suicidal, lashing out trying to hurt. . trying to make others as miserable as they are. The other man will focus on what they can do to change. . . strive for improving themselves. . .finding God. . . finding hope and a path upward out of their swamp. . .almost invariably beginning to minister to others around them, becoming a new light themselves in the darkness. All this based upon a decision. . . a choice. . . reflected and reverberating within my heart like that man in the my hospital room so many years ago.

I never spoke religion with that man, but today I recognize the light and power and peace of God shining from within him. . .

Choose hope. . .
Choose life. . .
Seek God. . .

I love you my God. . .
I thank you my Lord. . .

No comments: