I rummaged through the outdated magazines until I found one to my liking. No sooner had I opened it, than a nurse poked her head around the corner and called my name. Too bad—it would have been my only break in an otherwise busy day.
Fifteen minutes later, I sat on an examination table, my mind struggling to process the doctor’s words. “H-h-hysterectomy?” I stammered.
Dr. Levine’s brows lowered. “In your case, yes. I absolutely recommend it.”
Was this really happening? I’d sat in this very spot many times, my womb brimming with life and my heart with joy. Now, my uterus had turned on me. Instead of life, I carried the threat of death. I shivered and my paper gown crinkled as I hugged myself.
While Dr. Levine talked about the cancerous tissue and what surgery entailed, I stared at the table’s foot stirrups. Someone had covered them with flowery oven mitts- cute touch.
Strangely, the prospect of surgery didn’t scare me. Dr. Levine seemed confident that it would be simple and effective. Dave and I were content with three children and hadn’t planned on more. It was the doctor’s next statement that disturbed me.
“You’ll have to take it easy for two or three weeks.”
My mind reeled. Take it easy? I had children to teach, a family to feed, clothes to wash. Our home would collapse without me. And what about church ministries? God needed me!
Deeper down in my soul, my true concerns churned. I can’t stop. I need to be a good mom, good wife, good Christian. I need to be…good. My past sins flashed like memories of a disturbing movie through my mind. I deserved this.
“Nicole?” Dr. Levine’s voice penetrated my thoughts. “I’ll call when I get a date for surgery.”
“Um, alright. Thanks.”
With a kind smile and a wink, Dr. Levine left the room. I pulled my clothes on hurriedly, mentally listing all the things I’d need to do in preparation.
It was good to be in my own bed. At the hospital, the nurses had checked my blood pressure and temperature as regularly as a woman basting a turkey. My husband leaned over and kissed me. “Well babe, I’m going to work. You’re in good hands though.” He nodded his head towards the living room where a vacuum hummed. “Lisa will be here all day, so you don’t have to do anything. Oh, and Karla called. She’ll be by with a casserole later.”
I smiled weakly. Why was I blessed with such amazing friends?
After Dave left, I scanned the room. The duffel bag I’d brought to the hospital sat by the door. I’d just unpack it. I swung my legs over the side of the bed, fighting dizziness. Just then, Lisa breezed in. Busted. “Girl, where do you think you’re goin’?”
“I was just going to unpack…”
“Oh no,” she pushed me gently back onto the pillows. “The only thing you’re going to do is get better.”
“But I feel guilty doing nothing.”
“Honey, you may not be doing anything, but your body is. While you lay there, it’s working overtime, replacing the blood you lost, repairing tissue…”
“Well, what am I supposed to do?” I whined, hating the fact that I couldn’t help the process along.
Lisa glanced around then snatched my Bible from the desk. Tossing it in my lap, she said, “There ya go. You’re always saying you can’t find the time.”
Alone in my room, with Lisa’s challenge hanging in the air and without the ability to hide in the busyness of life, I felt exposed before God. “Lord, do You really want to spend time with me?” I whispered. “I’m so sinful.” It felt good to voice the question I’d been so afraid to ask.
I flipped through the Bible, stopping at a highlighted chapter- Psalm twenty-three. May as well start with something basic. He makes me lie down…hah! That sounded like Lisa. I pondered the verse. God had allowed me to undergo the surgery that necessitated this period of resting. He literally made me lie down. Could it be that He did want to spend time with me and this was the only way I’d take a break?
He restores my soul. I remembered Lisa’s words. My body was healing without help from me. Maybe spiritual healing was the same. Maybe God didn’t need my help.
I closed my eyes, let His peace wash over me. “Okay God. I’m lying down.”
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