It’s been 37 days since my hospital stay started. So crazy to think about. Before this, the longest I’d ever been away from home was probably three days, max. Dallas is a little less than an hour from the ranch, so Ray’s been able to bring the girls by most weekends. My father-in-law has been bringing the girls by on Wednesdays, and during the week I’ll have random visits from friends. On an average day, I’ll probably interact with a dozen people: nurses, doctors, nutritionists, specialists, food service staff, and the friendly cleaning lady, Jackie. It feels like a college dorm room with how many people are in and out of here. Suffice it to say, this feels very far from solitary confinement.
And I’ve been keeping busy, too. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Word, I’m nearly finished knitting Ronin’s baby blanket, I’ve read three books, have been watching classic movies, and occasionally I’ve been working on my sketching technique. (Oh, and this blog; I’ve been slowly figuring out WordPress and all its wonderful little intricacies.👹)
Still, a question I get asked frequently is, “Are you feeling depressed?”
And thankfully, I’m not. But I can empathize with the women around me who have been struggling. If a mom’s on hospitalized bed rest, there’s some type of concern about mom and baby’s wellbeing. Anxiety, worry, fear, stress, and then feeling trapped could definitely make these days drag on. I think depression has a lot to do with being trapped by your own thoughts.
Staying distracted and trying to keep your mind off of the circumstance doesn’t seem helpful. It actually seems better to keep the circumstance in mind, and choose to view it with the right perspective.
I think I’d be safe to assume that anyone reading this has heard the expression about “seeing the glass half full.” That simple optimism is what I’d lean on in life before I started reading the Bible. It seemed to work with smaller issues, but would break down when the stakes were higher. Just being an optimist wouldn’t save my sanity in here.
I’ve been studying the Bible for a little over a year now. I’m nowhere close to being finished with reading all 66 books, but I’ve read enough to realize that the biblical perspective on hardships is radically countercultural and counterintuitive. For example, here’s how James, Jesus’ oldest half-brother, describes it:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4, NIV)
The word “consider” is a verb about thought, not emotion. It’s not saying I’m wrong for feeling a certain way, but is addressing how I should be thinking about my circumstance.
Do I feel pure joy about being stuck in the hospital – away from my family, away from my “normal” – with all this uncertainty about my son?
But what if I choose to shift my perspective from looking at the trial, to looking through the trial? What if I consider the other side of this current crisis? Will this testing of my faith have produced perseverance? Will this test become my testimony?
Yes. I’d definitely say yes.