I’ve had a small problem all of my life: I’m a complainer. Well, not really a complainer as much as someone who gets very agitated when things don’t go as planned or when people – other than me of course – don’t do what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do them.
I’m a planner.
But I am a planner in transition. As a matter of fact, several years ago I used to be teased about being overly planned in my ministry, now I get criticized for not being planned enough. I’m learning – in big ways and small – to allow God to be Lord of my life and stop telling other people that they all have to met my schedule and time table in order to be in good favor.
The reason for the change, you ask? The place I’m sitting now; the hospital.
Three years ago, when our first daughter was born, things didn’t go well for me. I was agitated by being stuck in the hospital room for 5 days; When I went home one day to take a shower, I got there and discovered that I had left my keys in the hospital; and Malia had to stay in the hospital an extra day because she was jaundiced. All of that doesn’t begin to mention the cost of “living” as a well person in the hospital; parking, meals, drinks, etc. As I look back on how much I complained and fussed I am embarrassed. I behaved that way because until that point in my life I thought that a good life consisted of making a plan and working the plan. I was wrong!
That episode may seem kind of silly to you, but it was powerfully formative for me.
The fact – which I can clearly see now – is that I was complaining in the hospital, yet I was there for a joyous reason, and very few people get to celebrate in a hospital. Just a few floors up from where I was then and where I am now, someone is in a coma, a man is slowly dying from the effects of a stroke, a daughter and son are letting go of their mother who is passing away from breast cancer, a child is suffering from some horrid disability and disease that no child should have to face, and a young parent is saying goodbye to a spouse and children. That’s what happens in hospitals; people suffer and people die.
How in the world could I then complain because the servers, nurses and doctors did not bow to my family’s desires and needs?
I think hospitals are good places to find perspective, to celebrate life and meaning, and honor and grieve the dying. It’s been a blessing for me to be here this week, not just because we are welcoming Katharine McKenna into our family, but because her father is being reminded about life.
May you find life somewhere this week!
By the way, if you’re wondering how to find a little bit of perspective in the hospital, think about this. When I asked Rochelle’s nurse when her dinner was coming, she said, “They always serve us last, (maternity) because no one here is sick.”