Monday, July 06, 2009

Gratitude by a hospital bedside

My mother is back in the hospital. She's recovering from a surgery that was necessary and scary and actually turned out far better than we had dared to hope. I have spent hours waiting by her bed and sitting in the surgical waiting room and standing in the hall outside her room. Waiting is hard work, but staying in the same spot for hours at a time has taught me a lot.

It has also increased my gratitude for:

66. Nurses. I am in awe of their job and the cheer with which they do it.

67. The friend who surprised me at the hospital as I waited during the surgery. I thought I was okay alone; I realized as she arrived that I wasn't. Talk about perfect timing!

68. Doctors who speak honestly. It saves a lot of worry and time to know the truth. I don't even mind cussing; cancer and cussing go together quite nicely.

69. The rector from Mom's Episcopal parish who visited despite his dislike of hospitals. Getting acquainted is important for us.

70. The friend who said, "When you need a dinner (note, she didn't say 'if"), just call and I will bring a lasagna over."

71. Flowers from the garden that my daughter picked for Mom. The herbs she chose for greenery smell heavenly, and the yellows and blues bring her cheer.

72. Flowers from my dear friend. She may live in Colorado, but her flowers on Mom's shelf are a constant reminder of her love and support.

73. Kindness in unexpected places. The friendly husband of Mom's hospital roommate, the gentle tech who took Mom down for an x-ray, the kind smile at the cafe counter by an overworked hospital employee, the promise of prayers from neighbors we hardly know.

74. The quiet moments in the car to and from the hospital. I don't have to hold myself together, I don't have to put a poker face on. It's the time for raw emotion and groaning prayers.

75. Mom's dear friends who brought her communion today and stayed for stories and laughs.

76. For my dear young friend who wrote a little story and dedicated it to my mom. He bound it with cardboard and gave it to me to deliver this afternoon. She fell asleep with it in her hand, smiling with joy. It was perfect.

Gratitude is not pie in the sky. It is not a denial of the hard stuff in life. It is not looking at things with rose colored glasses. It is a discipline, a choice, a matter of doing more than surviving. Right now the truth is that we are stretched and challenged and having a hard time. But amidst it all we have these gifts of grace, these wafts of heavenly perfume that sneak into our days and bring joy, yes JOY, even in the muck and mire of disease and dying. By faith I give thanks; by faith I am grateful.


Posted as a part of the Gratitude Community at Holy Experience

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