Friday, April 27, 2007

On the Solid Rock I Stand

I do not believe it is possible for me to know the best or the worst moments of my entire life. However, I experienced an excellent candidate for each within the past 60 hours.

Wednesday afternoon I comported myself as well as I could while my doctor used large needles to remove fluid from my knee and to add cortisone. As he worked I asked questions about the grisly details of the surgery that lies ahead of me when my natural knee will be replaced by steel and plastic. I left feeling glad that I had managed as well as I did.
But upon reaching home I felt fatigue flood me as I lay in my big chair waiting for supper to be prepared. I fell asleep for just a while. I awoke groggy but quickly aware of a horrid odor in the room. Within seconds I realized it seemed to be emanating from the skillet where Barbara was sauteeing vegetables. I was certain that some strange burning was creating a noxious odor so powerful that it might well sicken and kill us. I shouted urgently, "Can't you smell it?". But Barbara smelled nothing more than a bit of strong broccoli odor. Samuel came inside from doing chores and was also puzzled by my reaction. Within moments I had to run to our bedroom, hoping to escape the horrible odor. I tried to light candles and curl up on our bed. The smoke from an extinguished match overpowered me and I very nearly retched. I ran from the room to our hot tub. Perhaps warm water and fresh outdoor air could restore me. But the moment I opened the lid of the spa, it was as if I had uncovered a toxic waste dump of disgusting chemicals. I ran back to the house and this time truly did curl up fetal style with the bedcovers over my head. I was assaulted by the tremendously amplified odor of fabric softener. I was in terror that nothing could stop the smells. I jumped up and rummaged through a bathroom drawer, searching for two cotton balls. A mingled blend of perfumes from various bath products threatened to send me away without the cotton. Finding the puffs, I quickly compressed them into my nostrils and waited impatiently for the cotton to fill every crevice to block out all the odors. Somewhat calmed I was able to return to the living room, sit in my chair and pour out my fears to Barbara. Gradually over the next hour or so I was able to remove the cotton and force myself to choke down a bowl of plain vanilla ice cream to restore my very low blood sugar. I sat there in the chair from about 7 unitl 4 in the morning. Reading. Writing. Doing anything I could to ease my mind. Finally sometime after 4 I slept for two hours and then awoke, unable to sleep any more other than a short nap before rising for the day. That day was one of the longest and most despondent in my memory. I knew I was sleep deprived. I feared the return of the horrid smells. I knew that I had been delusional, experiencing things that no one else was aware of in the least. I sat all day without dozing, fearing the return of that terrible state of mind.

Finally, that night at about 10, I collapsed into bed and thrashed a bit and then fell into a deep sleep. I slept well, better than usual. I awoke at 5:30 feeling very refreshed and eager to meet the day. I ate cereal and drank orange juice, savoring every bit. I had already made plans to stay home from work that day. I did. It was a wonderful relaxing day. I read, I sunbathed, I enjoyed simple meals. I was very productive writing and reading HP emails that afteroon. In the early evening Barbara and I watched the mountain epsisode of the Planet Earth series on the Discovery Channel. Out of all of the incredible footage and narration in that remarkable television series, this seemed to be the best yet. I was entranced. Barbara was exhausted from a hard day of chores and cleaning. She proposed a bed time of 8:30, but then thought better of it and suggested a dip in our hot tub. The moon shone through a thin covering of clouds. The wind rustled in the trees near our spa. The light, the temperature, and our quiet talk was glorious. God seemed to be crying out to me, "This is good. This is what I have made. This woman is the wife I have given you" about an hour ago, I tucked her into bed at 9:30. She is sleeping blissfully. I feel the natural fatigue of evening falling over me. Soon I will sleep.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring. The best. The worst. Or something seemingly commonplace that will be one of many steps toward a life devoted toward serving God better and trusting him more.

I will trust in God. I am not home yet. There is work to do here and battles to be fought. There are also glimpses of the glory that we will share with him in his eternal kingdom when all things are made new.

I praise God for his goodness and mercy. I know he will use both the best moments and the worst to bring me closer to him: to conform my mind to that of Christ Jesus. It is his perfect plan.
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