Flecks of snow danced on the early morning sky, soon giving way to brief showers of the white stuff. The crystalline ballet was gloriously unusual for Atlanta and even more so in early February. My wife and I sat quietly in our van, parked in a hospital parking garage. I was due inside at five a.m. but couldn’t make myself shut off the engine. The very act of moving toward the door was in itself an act of betrayal to myself.
So I stole some moments, delaying the inevitable, watching the playful antics of the tiny white visitors through a defrosted window. Sandy sat very still beside me, and I know she was silently bracing herself for the long weeks ahead in which she would have to do the juggling act of all time: pulling double duty of an already excessively demanding lifestyle. I, on the other hand, was facing bed duty. For twelve weeks. Bless my heart, I wasn’t thinking of the circus act Sandy would be forced to pull off. I was sinking ever deeper, wrapped in my own trial of dual surgeries, requiring a potentially three-month stay in the hospital I was now looking at.
Sandy touched my hand reassuringly but said not a word. That tender act was all it took to release a welling of tears to my eyes. A single tear escaped from the forming pool and traced a line down my cheek. In my heart I was crying, “Lord, is there no other way?” The leaden sky was silent. No. This was my journey—and my wife’s—and since there was no way around it, I collected myself, sighed deeply and shut off the engine. It was time. Together we headed toward the garage elevator that would take me to my home away from home and church for the next dozen weeks.
That was a year ago today. Yes, I had surgery; two of them, in fact. But the Lord did an amazing thing (what else?): He cut the time in half and by the time I got home six weeks and some change later, I was in the best shape I had been in for a very long time. Every pressure wound on my body was healed and for the first time in fifteen years, I was wound-free and whole. I went in with two ginormous wounds on each hip and several other smaller ones—seven in all!—and came home with none. Nada. Zippo.
Dr. Simon, you are a marvel. A flat-out, modern-day wizard of medicine. Although you do not (yet) know Jesus, I want you to know that He guided your hands in surgery and used you to bring healing to my body. It was a necessary time for me, an exile of sorts, but not nearly the incarceratory trial it could have been, chiefly because of your artistry with a scalpel.
Sandy, my Sandy. You did it. You proved once again you only live to lay down your life for the ones you love. I’ll always remember fondly the “bridge”. Do you recall? Of course you do. It was the most bittersweet place on the planet for us. That was our special good-night place and while no one has any idea what that means, we do. And that’s enough. Tonight, as I look back across time to that time in our life, I am glad we no longer have to settle for a good-night place, a parting place. I know full well I have taken a lot out of you and my ordeals have taken their toll but no one has ever sacrificed themselves for me the way you have. God has an uncanny knack of remembering every little thing and be assured He has your life bookmarked.
My son. You were caught in a sieve and we have spent the year watching God separate the chaff of your life from the man God has purposed you to be. We believe in you. We believe God is healing the hurt of your heart and is looming large in the secret place He is holding for you to dwell in. We will make it through this. Through. Isn’t that a marvelous word? I have never been more proud of you than I am today as I see you beginning to fight the enemy and submit to the path of Life. You will one day be a troubler and upsetter of the kingdom of darkness and Christ the King will use you to set many captives free.
My Father, You remember when I asked You to “put Your ‘seven’ on my seven”? I wanted to be whole and since that Divine number captures the essence of completion and wholeness, it was all my childlike faith could form words for. Of course it was divine intervention without the amanuensis of a hospital I was after, but, as with everything else You put Your attention to, it was right. So right, in fact, that I can look back today and say that those were some of the most satisfying days of my life. You numbered my days and sat by my bedside every moment. You were my joy and desire and I love you forever!
Job said, “He performs what is appointed for me; and many such decrees are with Him.”* The word ‘performs’ is a word that means I am safe within His artisan Hands, knowing that He is doing what is necessary–and for my good–and He will not leave the work unfinished. His work involves deconstructing Scott and crafting the fullness of Christ in me. Thank you for your ‘seven’ in my Life, Lord. That number is stamped all over me and I welcome the many more ‘sevens’ to come.
This morning, no flecks of snow. I’m not in an idling van in a parking deck downtown but safe and snug in my own bed. All is sunshine, cheer and field after field of freedom to roam and dance at Your pleasure. And so I’ll dance…