One of the experiences of the surgery journey is the act of dependence. As I got closer to the date and the pain was intensifying I was also learning to depend on people around me more. I depended on my family and friends for prayers and encouragement. I depended on my staff to get things done that needed to get done. I depended on scheduling to get the right information, the technician to copy the right MRI, the toll booth scanner to work, the parking garage to have a place to park near the door, friends to drive me in and pick me up, my kids to call and check on the “old man,” a supportive spouse that would not get completely frustrated with my pained attitude, and of course the surgeon and anesthesiologist who would hold my life and health in their hands. Most of all I was depending on God for comfort and strength.
The words of Psalm 23, 121, 46 were all repeated silently as I waited. I prayed for everyone I loved. I had made arrangements with an advanced directive and checked on my will. I was praying almost constantly. Then the flow of prayers for me was powerful and I could literally feel them – power – strength – hopefulness. I did not dream during surgery that I can remember – some people say that they do. Yet, two hours after I was evidently ordering people around in recovery – do this – get that – find me a room fast. I claim it was drug induced and not a Napoleonic complex (others might disagree).
It seemed that Jesus was there in the recovery room – the nurse – the hospitalist – the resident – the custodian. Jesus was there and it was as if words were whispered, “Could you hear all the prayers?” It was almost like the moment in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” where all the people were praying for George Bailey. George said he wasn’t a praying man – I was.
I was bathed in dependence as they wheeled me to a room and slapped the compression socks on me and took my blood pressure and gave me oxygen. I prayed so many prayers of thanks as friends visited my wife and received text message updates about how I did. And now that I am out of the hospital and can’t drive for awhile and so I am dependent again. I can walk unassisted but I can’t bend, twist, or lift for awhile. Dependence is a strange state for one who is the comforter of others who are dependent. It won’t be long, really.
I am learning again. Something I knew long ago – I depend completely on God and God’s grace.
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9