Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Quiet Time, Reflection

While visiting my father in the critical care unit of the hospital recently,  I stood by his side when the doctor said the words that every family fears: We are unsure of the outcome if you decide to have surgery. But if you don't, it could prove devastating also.

My dad reached for my hand and held it, carefully digesting the doctor's diagnosis. When she left the room he said, "I don't even feel sick." That's been my father. A man who had a heart attack and didn't even know it. A man who claimed that he never felt much pain. A man who would put others needs before his own, and not really let you know what was going on behind those amazing green eyes.

I excused myself for a few moments, and quietly fell to pieces in a restroom down the hallway. Then I gathered my courage, called my brother, and kept a stiff upper lip while I spent the rest of the day with Dad. A little later I left the room again, headed for the small hospital chapel. A room to reflect in. A room for prayer and God's presence.

Two candles were lit on a small altar. A huge, old Bible sat opened. Several rows of wooden pews stood closely together and the lights were low. The smell of candle wax permeated the air; a kind-of nostalgic, comforting scent, bringing me back to the many Sunday's I attended church with my father.

I closed my eyes and spoke quietly in my heart to my Heavenly Father. I don't know if the words made sense, but the Holy Spirit knew. For a calm descended over me, and loving arms wrapped about me. Though I had thought I couldn't go on earlier that day, I stood and walked from the room to face whatever outcome my father's surgery would bring that evening.


A women's care facility. Cold and sterile. An oversized, cotton dressing gown that hung on my frame making me and the other ladies who were waiting for results of their own tests look like clones of one another. My name is called. The tickle of fear in my belly deepens. After all, I've been called back for more tests on a mammogram. I entered the room feeling more like a computer generated number than a human at this point. And nobody smiles here. I make a mental note that in the future I will find a better facility. I miss the girls I had known back home, hating that insurance companies force you to find places that accept your carrier.

I am called in for a sonogram next. By this time I want to scream. I want to run far away. Don't they know my father is in critical care in another town? Don't they know he still has a ventilator in and we are hoping, praying for good results? Can't they at least look at me and tell me that everything will be alright, or even if not, can they give me a ray of hope?

I lay back upon the table in the low-lit room. I close my eyes and my breathing slows. Once again, I'm drawn into the presence of the Almighty. I don't need to be in a chapel or church. For He is with me wherever I go, and I feel Him now. 

Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

The words are a promise and a truth. Whether the outcome of my tests or my father's surgery this past week had been good or bad, I knew God was real. He is a miracle worker and He adores us. Had we lost Dad, I knew where he was headed. And I had a true peace with that knowledge.
My tests turned out negative, though I had a small cyst. I am to have more frequent mammograms now. And my father: well, he made it through touchy surgery against all odds. At eighty-five years of age and being a heart patient, a quadruple bypass and defibrillator and pacemaker patient, this brave man chose the road of recovery. He didn't throw in the towel or give up. 

I think back to those quiet moments this week. The times I closed my eyes and called upon the peace that passes understanding. The lonely moments where all I had was my God and that was enough.
Yes, my friends, He is more than enough. Let His peace rule in your hearts. Give yourself quiet time and moments of reflection in the midst of your own uphill battles.


  1. Thanks for sharing, Karen. You give hope and peace to many people going through similar issues in life.

  2. Karen, this took me back through events I have experienced in recent years and opened the floodgates of emotion. You are not alone, I am not alone and I thank you for your words.