Thursday, June 6, 2024

Do It Afraid


greeting card from Sister; 
designer greetings

Those who read my last blog post (Reaching May's Finish Line) may remember my comments regarding the benefits of having friends, based on scripture and our experiences:

Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their labor:

If either of them falls down, 

one can help the other up. 

But pity anyone who falls and 

has no one to help them up. 

Also, if two lie down together,

they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,

two can defend themselves. 

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

At the time of that writing, I did not know that truth was going to be illustrated in my life yet again.

Gary had been doing extremely well recovering from his major abdominal surgery a couple of months ago. Then last weekend a problem showed up. While we were concerned, we really didn't know if it was a serious matter or not. Our inquiries for help from people in a position to really know were limited since it was a weekend; we hoped the matter could wait until the following Monday. 

As it turned out, by late Sunday afternoon we realized help was needed. We were hesitant to go to one of the local hospitals because the special nature of his surgery is not a common technique with the doctors in our town. But the drive 90 miles to where he had the surgery often includes serious traffic delays. 

We chose to try the local hospital's emergency room that is in the same health network as the faraway hospital. In that emergency room we spent some five hours before it was determined he needed to be transported to the bigger facility so far away.

I left Gary at the ER with the expectation he would be transported soon, during the wee hours of the morning. I was heading home and would join him the next day. We had left his cell phone at home, so our means of communication would be complicated.

In the morning I had to pack some things for both of us and make several phone calls to re-schedule appointments, including my second cataract surgery that was supposed to be that very day. My tidy calendar transformed into a mess as I crossed off 'what was' in place of 'what was to be.' Then I got onto the highway, headed to Orlando. 

Well into that drive, a nurse from the ER where I had left Gary the night before called to say his transport had been delayed and he would be leaving our town AFTER I had already arrived at the big hospital. 

TJr's snapshot of a bee on a Lilac bush

With things starting to feel a little crazy, I had no choice but to breathe deep and just keep my foot on the gas pedal. Yes, prayer was my immediate resource for instruction and peace. I was grateful for that!

Banana bread mix baked in
cast iron wedge pan

How could it be that just the day before I was cheerfully baking something yummy in our kitchen while everything seemed so calm?As I drove, I contemplated the possibilities ahead of me/us and prayed it would turn out better than it looked. I suspected another surgery would have to be the solution.

Since I was arriving a couple of hours before Gary, I made an unannounced visit at the home of some special people and then drove on to find lunch. I was hoping for a slice of pizza but that was proving hard to find, so I opted for two hot dogs at the Walmart across the street from the hospital. 

Stepping up to the desk of the emergency room at the big hospital, I was told Gary had not yet arrived, but they had pre-registered him and could send me up to his room to wait. (oh the blessings of technology and staying within the same hospital network!!)

It was then that I also learned he was assigned to a room with two beds; another male patient would be his roommate. It turned out this room was in the old part of the hospital where the rooms were smaller yet had two beds in each. 

For Gary's surgery a couple of months ago, it was one large, single-occupancy room with both a couch and a recliner so I could stay overnights with him. We were there for three nights and it worked out very well. 

To add to the strangeness of everything, when I arrived in this room, the roommate was in the bathroom, so when he came out, there I was, sitting in the chair beside what would be Gary's bed. Blessedly, a nurse had forewarned him that I was on my way up, so my presence did not unnerve him. Also a blessing, he was a pleasant man and we later realized, a Believer, too.

But a big problem was looming rather quickly in my mind. Where would I spend the night(s)? It was against this hospital's rules for me to overnight in that room with the other man there, too. Also, the room was sooo tight that the recliner did not (did not recline). I was pretty sure that it was also against the rules for me to snooze in the main lobby overnight..... 🥱😴

Being a mature woman in my 70s, short of stature, and not menacing in appearance in any way, I absolutely reject the idea of staying in a hotel by myself which would also suggest I should come and go in broad daylight (meaning I would be spending less time at Gary's bedside). Again, I resorted to prayer (desperate prayer, not without tears, crying into a folded towel to hide my fear from others). 

I made an inquiry to stay in the home of people I know; but to make a long story short, they suggested I stay in the guest house of their friend and gave me the necessary contact information. I met the people I know for dinner and then proceeded to the guest house of a female stranger I had never met. 

I am not a brave woman. But in the months after Beloved died, I read a book by Joyce Meyer:

Do It Afraid

Repeating myself: I am not a brave person. Maybe a little for small things, but not for the big stuff of life. And when Beloved died, my fear became vividly evident to me and my family. Really. I honestly did not know before then what a fraidy cat I was, and I may have surprised my family, too.

After Beloved's passing, I came across this book at Barnes and Noble. I knew immediately that I should read it, but I didn't want to. I made the purchase but then was a little slow in getting to the reading of it. 

"Courage is not the absence of fear; 

it is moving forward in the presence of fear.

Courageous people do 

what they believe in their hearts they should do, 

no matter how they feel or 

what kinds of doubts and 

fearful thoughts fill their minds." 

~ Joyce Meyer

Happily, my hostess was a very pleasant, as well as generous, young woman who shares her abundant blessings easily. The guest house was in a historical part of the city with traditional architecture, huge shade trees along brick residential streets, quiet, and it felt safe. 

As I snuggled into sleep that night, I knew Gary and I were being cared for very well in spite of all the strangeness that had enveloped us over the previous 24 hours. 

For the sake of the privacy of those I don't know well, I did not take any pictures of my host's property, but suffice it to say, all was very nice. I was in a place I had never been before, but the Lord was providing what was needed.

Of course, when I had met up with Gary the previous day in his hospital room, I gave him his phone (and the charger), so we were able to keep in touch easily after that. After I left him for supper that night, he texted me to say his surgeon had finally made it to his room only 5 minutes after I had to leave. Surgery was not necessary. The doctor tended to the problem with relative ease and a precise skill about which the ER people knew nothing. WHAT A BLESSING!

Gary was kept overnight in the hospital while I slept in the luxury of the guest house. The next afternoon, when it appeared the problem was indeed fixed, he was released to go home. 

While the surgeon doesn't know the cause of the problem, it's not an unusual situation with this particular kind of surgery. We just have to be aware and careful. 

Now we are relaxing at home. It is the 80th anniversary of D Day and we have watched a lot of the programs on TV of the observances in France. Talk about "Do It Afraid," those men set an excellent example for the rest of us.

My re-scheduled cataract surgery on the second eye is tomorrow. It appears we are back on track for normal life, but with that said, I am meditating on Philippians 4:13, 

"I can do anything I have to do through Christ, 

who gives me strength."

Until next time, grace and peace.


Anonymous said...

This is Pam from Closed doors open windows. I am on my cellphone so probably will show up as anonymous. Just wanted you to know that I read this and started praying for you and Gary while reading it and was so very thankful to get to the end and see a happy ending and answers to prayers!! Wow! What an incredible story! Thank the Lord for the “friend” who was able to provide a safe and comfortable place for you to spend the night. I love how God already had that covered even before you knew you would need it! God certainly is in control, even when we feel out of control. Now I praying for you and your cataract surgery. Trusting all will be well. Sending you (((hugs))) and prayers.

Sandy said...

Sometimes we wonder why we have the crazy moments, but in our questions and fears He is beside us. He definitely took care of both of you. I am happy to hear you are back at home and getting that eye surgery and that Gary is all good.

ellen b. said...

Oh sorry for this latest turmoil but how wonderful that you were well taken care of...both of you. Welcome home. Sigh...

Lea @ CiCis Corner said...

Good grief, Barbara, I am so sorry about this and hope Gary will have no more issues. Often we just have to do what we have to do and look back and wonder how we did it. Blessings abundant to you!

Becki said...

Thank you for sharing this, Barbara. What an example you are to me. I am glad that Gary is okay, and tonight I am praying that your cataract surgery tomorrow goes without a hitch.

Terri D said...

Yes, we CAN do anything through Christ!! I'm very proud of you. Seriously. Praises to God that the problem was handled without another surgery for Gary, and prayers lifted for your successful cataract surgery. Do please keep us posted!! Love & hugs!

Mari said...

Oh Barb, what a hard few days, but also what peace there is in being able to pray and trust in the Lord. I'm so thankful for the peace the Lord gave you in the middle of fear and pressing on. I'm thankful Gary is back home! I'll be praying for him to continue healing and for your surgery tomorrow.
We watched a lot of D Day things today too. It's good to honor and remember those men you gave so much!

Martha Jane Orlando said...

Oh, Barbara, what a scare for the both of you! My heart was in my throat as I read of your experiences, and I prayed right along with you. I'm thanking the Lord for His mercies and grace that followed the both of you throughout your latest journey. And fear? How I know that, too. We can only go through things like that when we trust completely in Christ who gives us His strength.
May He continue to watch over Gary and you!

Linda said...

Oh no...keeping you both in prayer. Sending much love and hugs.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a lot to go through. I am glad you shared the book, I need to read it and not be so afraid of unfamiliar things. I'm glad he did not need surgery and can rest at home. Sweet hugs to you both!

Joyce said...

Well that all sounds like a whole lot, but I am so glad to know you've had a good outcome. You have a wonderful attitude.

Carol said...

That must have been a scary time for both of you! I'm hoping Gary is on the path to full recovery now and that you'll have a healthy and fun summer, Barbara! Wishing you a quick recovery from your cataract surgery ♥

Robin in Virginia said...

I am just getting caught up and just now reading your post about Gary. Now I know why I was called to lift you and Gary up in prayer last week. You both continue to be in my prayers. I am praying for your 2nd cataract surgery and hope it went smoothly. Thinking of you.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

I am praying for Gary and for you. Praise the Lord all is getting back to normal and trust God always. He loves you and cares for you and everyone on a personal basis.

Here's a thought; God loves you so much that if He had a fridge your picture would be on the door.

God bless.


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