“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
Ten days ago Friday I had corrective surgery for a hiatal hernia, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but just kept putting off. Hernias are uncomfortable but not debilitating, but I noticed mine acting up when I was out working on the Habitat worksites. As I write this, I’m home and recovering, enjoying my soft diet of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Yum.
Normally, this surgery is an outpatient procedure with an overnight hospital stay only if necessary. Since I had a reaction to the pain medication, I had to stay until Sunday afternoon. Wearing my lovely open-backed gown, I was able to walk the halls a couple of times a day, accompanied by one of my nurses.
My night-shift nurse and my day-shift nurse were both from Haiti. As we walked, I shared my experience at the Be Like Brit orphanage in Grand Goave, with which they were both familiar. We talked about the earthquake and the various groups that arrived to help in the aftermath. As we traversed the hallways I remember my night nurse, Neikee, saying, “I never thought I would be walking the hallway with a patient talking about the things God has been doing in our lives.” What a feeling of kinship I had that day. I was so grateful.
If there is one thing that all people of faith can share without apology, it is what we see God doing in the world through people who practice hope and compassion. Such conversation is much more uplifting than my complaining about my own aches and pains, or about what’s wrong with this or that.
Even in the midst of pain and suffering, we can be grateful, and it makes for a better day.
Rev. Dr. David Kaiser-Cross
For the Suffering:
God, you not only see my suffering, but you know suffering, too. Together, God, let us find the blessings we have and rejoice in those. Amen.