Friday, December 6, 2013
The pre-op instructions from the surgical unit said to remove contacts and to leave all jewelry at home as well as any personal items. And so I did. When I finally walked into the Coliseum Day Surgery building, I basically did so with nothing but the clothes on my back, the shoes on my feet, and my glasses. I have to admit that it was a little bit daunting. After all, except for my husband and daughters by my side, there was nothing that identified me. No wedding band to say I belonged to someone. No jewelry to claim any social status or express myself as an individual. And certainly no money to provide for any physical need that might arise.
I checked in and before I could even get comfortable, my name was being called by the nurse who would be by my side for the next couple of hours. And so I handed my husband the last two things that gave me any identity: my glasses which afforded me sight and my driver's license which gave me a name and a number. I was immediately asked to take a pregnancy test, which I did with great joviality and unbelief, and then given my new wardrobe. I stripped of what was left of my own clothes and donned the hospital attire of that gosh-awful, colorless gown that ties in the back. I wished a hundred times for my daughters, not because I couldn't do it myself, but because it was so dang funny and I felt silly laughing out loud by myself in that little room with only a curtain separating me from all the other patients. They also gave me a delightful blue paper robe (that tied in the front) and the proverbial gray socks with skidders on the bottom, which I brought home for future use on cold mornings. I was finally completely stripped of anything and everything that gave me my uniqueness. And it felt strange.
When the nurse took me back to my little cubby hole, the first thing I noticed was that there was no bed in it. Just 2 chairs. I don't know a lot about hospitals, but I do know that they put you on a bed, hook you up to a line, and roll you out to the operating room. And I assumed my bed would be appearing shortly. Yet it never came. Whereas I had visions of sweeping gestures of hugs and kisses from my family gathered around me as the attendants whisked me away, no such thing happened. Rather, the nurse pulled back the curtain and said, "You ready?" and with a couple of waves and "See you later's" to my family, I WALKED myself to the operating room, pulling my rolling "drip" with me. I pushed the door opened unto bright lights and sterile conditions, and it was only then that I climbed onto the table. My last remembrance was talking of caramel cakes with the nurse anesthetist before I gave into the anesthesia and trusted myself completely into the surgeon's hands.
Since that day almost 4 weeks ago now, I've thought a lot about that whole scenario; because isn't that exactly the way we should come before the Father? Completely stripped of anything and everything that attempts to give us our identity apart from Christ? Sure, we are to bring our struggles and issues, but that's not what I'm referring to here. I'm talking about coming to God on His terms and not my own. Of abandoning any image of myself that is not from Him. Of not accepting what others have said about me, how others have labeled and defined me and, instead, believing what God says about me. Of trying to impress Him with my own accolades and tasks I have performed for Him.
In reality, you and I are not defined anymore by our feelings, opinions, circumstances, successes or failures than we are by the clothes we wear, the jewelry we put on, the house we live in, and certainly not the size of our bank account. But "by His Spirit He has stamped us" (2 Cor. 1:22). THAT is what gives us our identity. THAT is how we are defined. No one else has a vote in it. Our job is just to come. To walk ourselves into the operating room of God where He waits to do His complete and healing work in us.
Yes, Jesus' invitation to an ill-weary world is simply to come. No one else can do it for us.
Just an ordinary moment...