A few weeks ago, Ivan had a nose job. He actually had a septoplasty with turbinate reduction. I just like saying “nose job” because it sounds dramatic. Without getting too technical, Ivan’s had trouble breathing ever since he was a child due to a number of issues. We hoped that correcting his deviated septum and reshaping part of his sinus passages would address some of his breathing problems. Hence the nose job.
I’d planned to write a funny post about the whole experience. After all, we’re familiar with broken arms and legs, even a variety of intestinal ailments, but who on earth gets nose surgery? (Outside of Hollywood, that is.) What’s more, Ivan made plenty of messes for me to write about. His nose bled for three days straight and we had to change bandages every hour. And don’t even get me started on nasal rinses…
But as funny as that all sounds now, it wasn’t the least bit funny when it was happening. Ivan is a very forbearing patient, so he deserves much credit for putting up with my clumsiness during that recovery week. As for me, I was confronted with a new picture of what it meant to trust God on my own.
Every time I’ve had one of my own health struggles, my family has swarmed to help Ivan take care of me. This time Mom took us to and from Ivan’s surgery, but it was the first instance we’ve declined further help. Dad is also sick and, unlike Ivan, he won’t be better in a couple of weeks. I wanted Mom to have energy to help where she was needed most. Anna also grabbed us groceries on Saturday morning. The timing was providential since I’d just thrown out a casserole that made Ivan sick Friday night, and Anna couldn’t have come earlier since she works long hours during the week.
But for most of the recovery week, I was lonely and overwhelmed, wishing for human comfort yet resolved to persevere without it. How could I make Ivan feel bad for being high-maintenance? Mom shouldn’t feel like she needed to be in two places at once. Anna was giving us the best chunk of time out of her precious weekend.
Slowly it dawned on me that this was how it must have been for Ivan during many of my health struggles. He doesn’t seek help very often since he can move me by himself and make a (limited) number of dinners. How many days had he spent by my bed completely alone?
But neither of us was completely alone. No matter how overworked I felt, or how silent the house seemed, or how few texts pinged on my phone, God had not forgotten either of us. The same God who’d sat with Ivan by my bedside for the past six years was now watching over me as I watched over Ivan, and cleaned, and cooked, and struggled with chores I haven’t done alone in years.
The problem was not that I was alone, but that I had narrowed my gaze until I thought I was alone. If I was only counting on human help to get me through this trial, then of course I was going to be disappointed. The Psalmist tells us, “The Lord is like a Father to his children, tender and compassionate toward those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” ~Psalm 13:13-14. I needed to take a step back and widen my gaze to include the One who is my creator and – through Christ – my savior. He understands my weakness and loneliness and will support me in my need better than any human friend ever could. What’s more, he’s also the Great Physician. I can trust him with Ivan too.
P.S. At the time of this post Ivan is close to a full recovery. 🙂