Children and teens go back to school each year. So do I. It seems there’s always a new “class” I’m taking, like it or not. However, the beautiful thing is that my teacher is perfect. He expects my best – but he genuinely loves me and stays with me to continually tutor me. It’s like having an “open book” with me at all times. I just have to make sure I open it and listen to it. Psalm 25:4-5
Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
I’ve spent more time than usual in hospitals and hospices lately. It’s been good for me but I haven’t particularly liked it. Hospitals make me feel uncomfortable. Just the smell, (which isn’t bad but is distinct) brings memories of pain. Some are personal and some are from the pain of others. The memories include feelings of fear mixed with uncertainty. Every time I see someone walking the halls I feel some angst about burdens they must be carrying. I don’t think I’m “good at hospitals.” My first real encounter was as a patient after a bike wreck. I went home and fully recovered. My roommate didn’t recover and never made it home.
Later, as a young teen, I went to the hospital as a Candy Striper. Candy Stripers wore pink and white jumpers and did “odd jobs”. I quickly learned I was not meant to be in the medical profession. My first assignment was to fill the patients’ water bottles with ice. I scurried down the hall while completing my task when a patient with an inquisitive tone made the comment, “This gives ‘on the rocks’ an entirely new meaning.” I had no idea what he was talking about until he explained that I had just filled all of the urinals with ice.
Other encounters in hospitals have included emergency rooms, surgeries, living births and still births, deaths…waiting and waiting — Joyful times and tearful times.
I’ve learned a lot over the past few weeks. I’m reminded again of the mortality of our flesh. I’m reminded of the need for tender compassion. I’m reminded that many things in life are not comfortable, but they are needed. I’m reminded of the urgency in gaining a right relationship with God.
As I boarded a plane (to join my husband as he was with his dad) and waited for take-off I watched as a mom and her adult daughter exchanged hateful words and angry stares with each other. I heard a woman behind me cursing and expressing hatred for her former companion. I was reminded of the black hole of bitterness that Satan plans for us as opposed to the sweet unity that God desires. I was grateful for the way of escape that he so generously offers us.
Going to school is not always easy, but having a perfect teacher makes it all good.
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands.
You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.
It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.
Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.