Anesthesia and Peace

I recently had the experience of getting general anesthesia. Prepped, rolled into the operating room and having a mask attached over my face.

Next thing I know, I’m waking up.  I look around.  I see a man cleaning up and taking things off a table where someone else once lay.  He puts the things in a plastic container.

I look to my right — another person who just woke up from their anesthesia.

What happened to the 45 minutes that passed?  No dreams.  Nothing.  Emptiness.

Can one call this peace if one can’t experience it? uses one definition of peace:  freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety.

A second definition:  a state of tranquility.

But if you don’t feel tranquil or free from annoyance are you truly at peace?

Lost are the 45 minutes of nothingness.  And they can’t be recovered.

Such is life as it is.  Every moment on this earth can be useful or wasted.

Time is truly fleeting.  Moments become minutes, minutes become hours, hours become days, days become weeks and weeks become years.

The “lucky” ones age and die.  And then?

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Yesterday I prayed for God’s protection on my family.

Last night I had a dream.  Most people don’t take dreams seriously but I believe there is a direct connection sometimes.

In my dream I was visiting my sister in Chicago.  We were scheduled to go out to dinner but my husband and I forgot so we decided to go swimming.

We went to an indoor pool and signed in.  The pool was really deep — maybe 10-15 feet.  As we were preparing to go into the pool we realized we hadn’t come prepared.  No towels.

But, we jumped in anyway.  We swam the length of the pool a few times.

There was a young girl there at a table and she said to us “would you like to swim in the pool a different way?”  We said “sure!”

She emptied the water from the pool and left only 3 feet.  When we looked down, there were alligators at the bottom.  Several alligators.

When we first got in we didn’t notice them at all.  But there they were.

She looked at us in utter amazement.  “I didn’t know they were there!”  she yelled.

Her supervisor came in and said “I signed for them and they weren’t alive so I threw them in the bottom of the pool.”

Needless to say we didn’t go back into the pool.

I believe God affirmed His protection in response to my prayer.

Coincidence?  There would just be too many coincidences in my life if I were to attribute it to that.

Ask, He says, and you shall receive.

In the Bible, in the book of Daniel, Chapter 2,  a man by the name of Daniel has a dream.  That dream tells the history of our world from Babylon to the end of time.  Prophecy has come true.

God can and does use dreams to speak to us.

How can I not believe?

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Touching the Untouchable

I was reading an article this morning in the Adventist Review, June 27th issue, by a woman named Tara VinCross.

The article was quite intriguing. It started off with the birth of Christ.

How the untouchable God became touchable when He “put on” the flesh of human beings.
In this way He could become better known.

Then she goes on to talk about how being touched makes us vulnerable.

“To let other people touch you, to let them reach out and come in contact with you, can make you weak. You are vulnerable, and the contact is only an example of the infinite physical, spiritual and emotional vulnerabilities.”

Wow! How true that is. Most of us live in a touchless society.

We have Facebook, MySpace, Twitter — social networks. These sites barely cover the surface of getting to know people. Sure, you can get updates on people and know what’s going on in their lives. In that regard their purpose is accomplished.

But it’s not the same as taking in a ballgame with a friend. Sitting on a porch and drinking lemonade on a warm day. Going for a hike.

Getting to know the person one-on-one. Personally. Intimately. Even to the point of knowing their weaknesses ~ not just their strengths.

Tara goes on to say “Somehow we have gotten this idea that we are not supposed to share our weaknesses as Christians.”

Yes Tara. You are right. Surface friendship. Of course, that term is an oxymoron but I’ll use it for now.

And continuing: “We try to keep ourselves up on pedestals and let people believe that we have it all together. But we know that if people got close to us they would see that we have issues too.”

Really? Yes. It’s true. We all have issues.

We are all broken inside. Blame it on your father, your mother, your sister, your brother, your neighborhood, the food you ate or didn’t eat, the microwave, etc. etc. etc.

Now that we’ve acknowledged our brokenness, what are we doing about it?

Are we helping each other get through it or are we pointing the finger at each other?

Jesus came in the flesh and allowed people to touch Him. He made Himself available to be touched.

I want to be able to touch and be touched. So if you see my weaknesses, please help to lift me up because after all, I’m just like you.

Hmmm … life, as it is.

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New Song on Pandora

Listening to Pandora again tonight.

A new song I like — By Your Side.

The lyrics are so powerful!

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you”

If we could only appreciate the nail scarred hands that hold us up every day.

We can find no better friend, no one who will love us better — who truly wants what is best for us because He loves us.

I have no place to run but into His arms.

Life … He has given it to me and I shall try to live it as He sees fit for me.

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Human Weaknesses

As I was heading out today to say goodbye to a friend who is moving to Nebraska, I stopped into my favorite coffee house. Peets. Ordered my usual – nonfat, extra hot, hot chocolate with no whip. Yeah, it’s hot in Seattle but I still like my cocoa …

When I went to the counter to wait for them to make it, I turned around and saw an old friend.

He’s literally old, if one thinks 80 is old.

I had such a warm feeling when I saw him. It’s been 3-4 years and we parted on not-so-good terms.

Part of the problem was that he was married and he was having an emotional semi-physical love affair with someone else.

It didn’t help that his wife was at home sick and on her death bed.

I thought how disrespectful it was of him. How unloving. How cruel.

His wife probably never found out but for me that’s not the point. It’s the betrayal.

I confronted him about the situation. He told me it was none of my business.

Since he was a leader in our church, I felt it was all of our business.

They both left our church because of other issues so no one had to really address the problem and quite frankly I think I was the only one who knew although many people suspected.

I had been thinking about this friend recently because he and his “new” wife visit an elderly friend of ours.

It’s always a blessing for me to see other people visit the lonely — especially when they are elderly.

I wondered how to reach him to thank them.

Then — poof! God puts him right in my path.

We had a great “reunion.” I thanked him profusely for his ministry in caring for others. Not every one wants to do that “kind” of work.

We hugged and parted.

As I left, I thought about how our friendship had changed.

Back then, I thought more of the “it” that he was doing instead of the person and what he was experiencing. Loneliness, a need to be touched and loved.

I can’t justify the “it” but I can’t dismiss the human needs either.

We are told that “all things work together for good.” It’s not what we think our good should be but what God thinks is good.

Sometimes we think that life is treating us unfair. But who are we to judge what is fair and unfair when it comes to what God allows in our life?

Loneliness can help us in reaching out and empathizing with those who are going through the same struggles.

The same with any other emotion we feel.

There is something to be learned but how often we cut it short.

Awhile ago I read a story about a caterpillar. A young boy had found it and kept it. He watched as the caterpillar “grew.” One day he noticed that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. After awhile a small hole appeared.

He kept watching the caterpillar and was worried as it seemed to be struggling so hard. It looked like it wasn’t going to make it.

He got a pair of scissors and enlarged the opening to help the caterpillar become into the beautiful butterfly it was supposed to be.

He waited.

The shriveled & swollen body of the caterpillar just lay there. It crawled but could never fly.

Later he found out that the struggle was necessary for the caterpillar to become a butterfly.

The struggle through the tiny opening of the cocoon apparently pushes the fluid out of its body and onto the wings so that it can fly.

God allows us to struggle sometimes because He can see how wonderful we can become.

We help each other along the way on this globe called earth. As much as the battles inside us hurt, in the end we can become more beautiful than we imagine.

No one can ever really know the struggles someone else is going through. Sometimes we try to help but other times it’s best we leave them alone so that the “fluid” (Spirit) will make them strong and they can fly.

The next time your friend is struggling — remember that it’s not just about the “it” of what they’re doing/not doing but also about their humanness.

After all, it’s life …. as it is.

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Woke up this morning to an interesting proverb from Proverbs 15:22.

Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.

Hmmmm … Wonder what that means exactly?

Perhaps it means that one should seek counsel from a few people instead of just one. That would hopefully give one a well-rounded group of opinions.

But, on the flip side, one has to trust who they seek counsel from. And there just aren’t that many trustworthy people in this world.

Or, perhaps I’m too cynical.
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Ever wondered if you gave your friends a choice between $1 bil or your friendship if they would choose you?

Today I was chosen.
Unfortunately, I have a very unhappy friend right now. I chose to test their character in a rather unorthodox way.
The result was — they are faithful. But angry.
I, on the other hand, am happy as a clam.
Now to explain myself to them …
Too bad we have to go through these steps sometimes. But better to know than to always be wondering.
That’s my life as it is.
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The day is just about over.

Ran errands.

Went to Peets for a hot chocolate.

Drove to Shilshole beach and watched the waves crash onto the rocks, the birds soaring in the air, the boats sailing by and had an ice cream.

Thought about my life, introspected and reflected.

Got the battery changed in the car.

Came home and made dinner — homemade blueberry muffins, vegetarian teriyaki skallops, rice and fresh green beans.

Watching my husband from the bed as he sits in front of his computer and I listen to Christian contemporary music on Pandora.

“My Desire” by Jeremy Camp.

“You want to be whole, you want to have purpose inside
You want to have virtue and purify your mind”

One day I’ll be whole. One day — in heaven.

I’m not so mad at God anymore. Just a little. But He’s slowly healing my stony heart and making it a heart of flesh. Thank you Jesus!

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The Silent Treatment

Two sides to this coin —

First it gives us an opportunity to compose ourselves so that we don’t say or do something that we may regret later.

Second it’s a form of separation.

Separation is not usually good though as it can turn from a temporary to a permanent state.

How does the silent treatment work with God? Are we truly silent or are we really saying something when we’re not saying it?

Does God turn off His all-knowingness to partake in this process?

I see You smiling. God waits for us to “come to our senses” as we go through this sometimes ludicrous process. With Him and with others.

For He is always there, never abandoning — a constant, even when we think we’re giving Him the silent treatment.

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