Friday, May 18, 2012
I've been thinking that if I had my life to live over again, I would choose to pursue a career in the medical field. This is because along my journey I have been so directly impacted by the many doctors, nurses, techs, and other medical professionals who have cared for me. NEVER DOUBT that you are the ministering hands of God -- just like in this picture. When I was young and considering a career choice I was scared off of the medical field because I was squeamish about needles and blood and such. How silly that seems now. If only I could meet my younger self -- I would slap me! I would so love to "pay forward" the kindness shown to me. What an awesome and direct way to minister to people's very lives!
I have just completed 4 weeks of daily radiation treatments and the wonderful ladies who treated me each day made it such a positive experience, in spite of the side effects I struggled with. They were always so cheerful and kind to me and just had a way of putting me at ease. God bless you ladies for the job you do!
There have been plenty of others, as well, such as the tech named Angel who I mentioned in an earlier blog. My chemo nurses are wonderful, skilled, and compassionate women. I can't even imagine how difficult and stressful their jobs must be, but their smiles and amazing care has made the difference in so many lives. I'll never forget the time they saved my life when I had an anaphylactic reaction. God has truly given them a gift for what they do.
Two women whom God has truly gifted are my doctors, Dr. Wu & Dr. Malek. Both are young mothers with families of their own, and yet such devoted instruments of God to the patients they care for. My oncologist, Dr. Wu, constantly fights for my life, and I can't think of anyone I would rather have fighting for me. I've had friends suggest, especially when my cancer came back, that I go to some special cancer center or seek out some new cutting edge treatment. But I know that Dr. Wu is an expert on all the latest treatments and is looking out for my best -- I couldn't get better care anywhere else! There have been times when she has sat and cried with John & I -- I know without a doubt how deeply she cares for me.
My primary doctor, Dr. Malek, is another amazing and gifted woman. How blessed I am that God brought her into my life! Her compassion and caring blows me away! As an example, just last Christmas day, I was sick and e-mailed her. Within an hour, on Christmas morning, she had answered me and called in a prescription for me -- saving my Christmas!
Unfortunately, I have also met a few who are at the other end of this spectrum and lack caring and compassion -- yet they are in this field anyway. I have seen the most hateful and heartless people caring for people in nursing homes, in the ER, and similar jobs. I realize that these are difficult and often thankless jobs and they require a special gift in order to be able to do it. People like this need to recognize that they simply do not have that gift and get out. The reason they are so unhappy in their jobs is that they are a wrong fit. Get out because you are hurting people.
I think I am a naturally compassionate person and I expect others' minds to work the same way mine does. This is why I am so completely blindsided when I encounter people who are void of compassion or morals. I've come across a few folks like this in hospital bureaucracy and also in medical insurance. I just cannot comprehend how someone can deliberately do things to delay treatment for a terminal patient or in some other way do things not in the best interest of another person's very life. Just can't get my mind around that. Part of me wants to say there's a special place in hell for folks like that, but I must say, Father forgive them and change their hearts as only You can.
I do an awful lot of praying whenever I go for treatments, tests, checkups, whatever and wherever. Prayer is free, easy, and powerful -- and I know we all need it! I pray for the guy in the parking lot, other patients in the waiting room, the nurses, the doctors. I pray that God would continue to work through their hands to care for others, give them wisdom for the decisions they make, compassion for the people they treat. God bless them for the important work they do. They are truly God's ministering Hands.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
I wish I could say that my life has been a faithful walk, always close to the Lord, but it hasn't. Funny, when I read the Old Testament about the Israelites and how they seemed to go through cycles of walking close to the Lord then straying then coming back again -- I think, what's wrong with those people? Don't they ever learn? What knuckleheads! They should learn from experience how much more blessed their lives would be if they would just STAY close to the Lord.
Then I look at my own life and see it has been the same cycles. When everything is going smoothly in my life, I may go days or even weeks without spending time in prayer or reading my Bible. Everything's fine -- I can handle it, right? Then a problem comes into my life -- a sickness, job loss, death in the family, etc. -- that drives me back to the Lord. What a knucklehead! You'd think I would learn from experience!
Jesus taught us we should pray for "daily bread." I used to think this was just asking God to provide us with food for the day, but we should be looking to Him daily for nourishment and strength emotionally and spiritually as well.
I love the story in Exodus 16 (Exodus 16) in which God provides daily food for the Israelites. Every day (except the Sabbath) for the 40 years they were in the wilderness. What an amazing lesson in God's faithfulness and provision. It also reminds me not to multiply my suffering by worrying or borrowing trouble from the future, but to trust God one day at a time! He is my strength and my daily bread!
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
My head, although friends assure me I have a "beautiful, perfectly shaped" bald head, still lacks the thick head of hair I used to have. Now I look at women with long hair (or for that matter, women with hair at all!) and in my mind I calculate how long it took for their hair to grow. I have only white peach fuzz now and lose that every time they change my chemo medicine. The woman in the mirror is often drawn and pale. Eyebrows and eyelashes are long gone and when I go out in public, that is probably what looks the most freakish about me -- I turn heads for a totally different reason than I used to.
One night I told John about how I missed my old reflection and how I felt I now looked absolutely HAGGARD. The next morning when I walked into the bathroom, John had taped a large, cut-out paper heart to the center of the mirror, and wrote on it "To Erin, the most beautiful girl I've ever known." What a guy! He made me feel so loved! I have moved the heart to the side of the mirror, but it still greets me with every visit to the bathroom, and somehow I am less bothered by the reflection in the mirror. I know I am loved, regardless!
This past week my son shared with me a video done by Mike Donehey of the group Tenth Avenue North in which he shares his inspiration for his song "Beloved." We watched it together and I learned the most incredible and beautiful lesson about God's love for me. What beautiful parallels there are between Jewish customs at the time of Christ, Passover, the Last Supper, and Jesus view of us as His bride or beloved!
According to custom at that time, when a man offered a woman a cup of wine and said "This is my covenant," he was proposing marriage:
In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” I Corinthians 11:25She could then accept or decline. If she accepted, she was then referred to as "one who was bought with a price" (because he had to pay a price just for the chance to propose to her). He would then go away to prepare a place for her, an addition to his parents' house:
"In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:2-3When finished, he would come to get her on an unannounced day and time, calling her with the sound of a trumpet. Does this sound familiar? Check out the video here -- it's amazing: http://youtu.be/eOaWb7AIVVc
So, as Mike pointed out, Jesus is metaphorically proposing to each of us (all we have to do is accept the offer!), even though we are not just unattractive, but scripture says we are a sinful and unfaithful bride. He is preparing a place for me and is coming back for me! Even though the reflection in the mirror is haggard and imperfect -- Jesus still loves me and wants me!
I am beloved.