There’s a standing joke about the patient in a drafty hospital gown struggling in vain to keep the back flaps closed and thinking, “Now I know why they call it – ICU!”
Last week, after visiting my hardy and relatively healthy Mom for several days with the specific purpose of helping her and local family proactively prepare for the time, down the road, when she might need in-home caregiver and skilled help, we were all somewhat surprised by a health event that sent her to the Intensive Care Unit.
When I first got to town, before Mom’s ICU trip, the daily reading included Proverb 6:20, which encourages us, “…do not forsake the law of your mother…” so I asked Mom if there were any “laws” that she particularly wanted me to follow in life. She thought a while, then revisited a teaching she had consistently shared since my early childhood – God sees everything you do (Proverb 5:21 and 15:3).
That reminded me of a story in Genesis about a runaway pregnant slave girl who encountered the Angel of the Lord by a spring in the wilderness. He told her to return to her harsh mistress, and promised to multiply her descendants. In response, she called Him El Roi “The-God-Who-Sees.” (Genesis 16:13)
When Mom’s husband of 67 years died in 2006, she stood alone in her big, empty house and asked God, “Who am I now?” In that moment, El Roi answered her heart,
“You are My child, and I will walk with you.”
Mom’s hospital stay was painful for her and stressful for us, but so many blessings emerged that it soon became abundantly apparent that God’s watchful presence hovered over all. Here are just a few examples:
- Strong spirit of love and cooperation between family members as the Body of Christ. Good opportunities to improve communication and understanding.
- Multiple opportunities for family members to express honor and love in ways that Mom can feel.
- The hospital’s Director of Imaging bought my lunch! (a story unto itself).
- Bumped into a high school friend who just happened to be the hospital’s Director of Engineering and Security. He personally made sure that the annoying intermittent loud whooshing sound in Mom’s room vent, that had steadily been getting worse (we had nicknamed it “The Whale”), stopped that same day.
- Mom gave us all a priceless example to follow when she mustered the poise and courage to allow a procedure she greatly feared, but that brought instant relief and vastly hastened her recovery.
- Mom came home from the hospital just 15 minutes before I had to leave for the airport and I had the joy of seeing her comfortable in her recliner again.
No one wants to be in the ICU, or to see a loved one there, but for the Thinking Christian Woman, the acronym “ICU’ can be transformed into a confident reminder that El Roi, The-God-Who-Sees, constantly affirms – “I see you!”
© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
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