I have been with Joe and Brenda Correll in another town for the first week after being released from the hospital after a total knee replacement surgery. I am officially part bionic.
Their home was large and flat with a bathroom right off the master bedroom, wide open hallways and a house constructed for attending to the needs of someone who might have been in a wheelchair, etc. Their kindness to me was beyond words. When they needed a babysitter (or should I say granny sitter) for me — Roxie (Joe’s cousin) kept me company. Even in the post-op mode of recovery, it was a very peaceful and blessed environment.
It seemed more than a little strange to go to friends after a major surgery rather than coming home. The invitation was given and after much prayer, I accepted it. It was a much better situation for me to regain that first week of strength than it would have been for me in my own home. Going there was definitely what was best for me. I am thankful that God ordered my footsteps.
I could write about the trauma of the surgery — but I won’t. When I think of the men and women who have sacrificed limbs and lives serving our country, I have no room to complain about anything.
I could write about the hospital blunders in the facility out of town – but I won’t. They are over and done and I survived them. There is no such thing as a perfect institution, and no such thing as perfect workers in the medical system anywhere in the world. There are many tired people doing the best they can on any given day with burdens of their own, emotional hurts, and financial challenges. Yet they have to work beyond that to constantly minister to the needs of others.
I could write about the difficulties of adjusting to being completely at the mercies and kindnesses of others. Maybe one day I will, but it is still too fresh for me to think about right now.
I am one of those people who try to cram as much Christmas cheer as possible into my schedule and do as many acts of kindness as possible for as many people as possible. My Christmases are about doing, participating, reaching out, enjoying, reconnecting, and celebrating the birth of Christ. It is the time of year where giving is so easy!
But this year, the shoe has been on the other foot. I think the Lord knew that I needed some balance in my Christmas perspective. I have been on the receiving end this year of kindnesses near and far. It is very humbling, or even humiliating, to have to depend completely on someone else for our well-being.
In this Christmas season I have experienced love beyond measure, kindness beyond reason, God’s grace sufficient for every hour, and a living example of the priceless gift of friendship. It is a Christmas I will never, ever forget.
I suppose I missed an opportunity to win $100,000 on America’s Funniest Home Videos when I got home to my own house. I have a flight of stairs that curve on landings up to my front door. I had thought I could maybe walk up them with someone guarding that I didn’t fall down. However, it had snowed here and my wooden steps were covered in a layer of ice where the snow had melted. So, about four to five big strong men from my church picked me up in a wheelchair and “hossed” me up — carrying wheel chair and all on those slick stairs. I think they almost lost me twice - once face forward looking DOWN the stairs we had just come up. It was quite a spectacle, I’m sure. AND no one with a camera!
I thank God for every set of hands that have ministered to me or will minister to me through this ordeal. I am thankful for every prayer that was uttered in my behalf, and every act of kindness. I am persuaded that my healing will be speedy and complete because it has been wrapped in so much love.
I am not use to being so utterly helpless. I’ve thought of all the hands it has taken to bring me this far. There were scientists’ and researchers’ hands that developed the technology and created the functional parts of the knee that has become part of my body.
There are hands that prepared the medications I would need during surgery and after, hands that hooked up the IV fluids, hands that recorded information about me. There were computer workers’ hands that recorded all of the information and kept an accurate account of everything that was going on with me. There were surgeon’s hands that performed the miraculous procedure of installing an artificial knee. There were nurses and techs’ hands, pharmacists’ hands, physical therapists, cooks, dieticians, sanitation workers, all who had a hand in this period in my life.
But also there were loving hands of parents, brother, son, minister, church members, and friends. There have been hands that cooked tasty Christmas treats, delivered them, wrapped presents, made floral arrangements, and hands that guided cars on the highway to bring care, acts of kindness, friends, and family to see me.
There have been children’s hands who drew me cards, wrote sweet messages, said prayers for me, and even sent me prayer cloths. There are postal hands that have sent letters along the way to me and Christmas greetings.
There were church member hands who sent items they thought I might need, said prayers for me, and gave me hugs.
There have been hands that bathed me, clothed me, fed me, and gave me medicine. My mother’s hands are still ministering to me, but my father, brother, son, grandson, daughter-in-law have all touched me in some way during this season.
I have such a clear vision of the army of hands that have been involved in this surgery, and my recovery. All of them were necessary. All of them made a difference. I hope I can remember this in future – that the portion of work my hands do for any other living creature is just a small portion of the big picture, yet just as important.
May the true meaning of God’s love through His Son Jesus Christ live in our hearts throughout the year, and may be always be kind to one another. May we receive helping hands when we need them, but may we never fail to be helping hands in the hour of opportunity.