Yesterday was a long day. I spent twelve hours with my Mom at the hospital. Last week the Doctors discovered a cancerous mass deep within her abdomen. Yesterday they tried to remove it. Unfortunately the mass had tentacles that had wrapped around some of the most vital arteries and veins in the region. The surgeon even admitted her disappointment. I can’t imagine spending three hours operating only to be refused by nature and anatomy.
Not all is lost. The pathology lab can make a firm assessment on the nature of the cancer. The surgeon placed metal markers around the mass to help guide the radiation technicians. Depending on the stage, the right chemo will be selected. At the end of the day, my mother was a whole lot closer to beating this thing than she was the day before.
Cancer recovery wards are solemn places. There is very little laughter, multiple TV programs echo in the halls. Patients are in various stages. The newer patients are plump, the veterans are gaunt with more bone than muscle. However, the spirits of the people are amazing. Each patient we met in the waiting area was cheerful.
One of the first thing I noticed about the floor was the Meditation Room, open and available to all. Being a Christian, the next thing I noticed were the Bibles. Not only did patients have them but the visitors often had one in hand. Even the waiting area had a sign explaining the spiritual importance of the stain glass window that was prominently displayed.
Towards the end of the evening as my Mom felt better she made a request. “You have your Bible on your phone. Could you read Psalm 23 for me? I like the way the modern translation reads.” I pulled out my phone, found the passage in the New Living Translation and read the words. Her comfort was palpable. Peace enveloped her bed.
When our health path turns for the worse and the storms within our bodies rage out of control, all that is left is the spirit. We always sell the concept of Body/Mind/Spirit. It is unfortunate that we often wait until hell is at our doors before using such powerful medicine.
My mom did great yesterday. She was cut open, given bad news and will physically hurt for days and weeks. Serious physical stuff. My entire life I have watched my mother cultivating her spiritual side. Yesterday as I read Psalm 23 I was reminded why.
Some days all we have is the hope that the spiritual disciplines provide.