Every time I go to a new doctor, such as a specialist, I have to go through my medical history, which is rather lengthy. Because some of the history requires explanation, personal history also has to be divulged. It leaves me feeling rather ‘exposed’ in more ways than one… Afterwards, the nurse and the doctor make comments that I have been through a tumultuous series of events in my lifetime. (I am not disclosing everything in this story because some of it is deeply personal.) After nine surgeries, an inoperable brain tumor, a near fatal car accident, failed marriages, and many other catastrophes, I suppose I have, but I don’t look at it that way. To me those things are my past, those are things I’ve survived. I see that I am here, I am alive and I am loved.
As I drove home today, I thought about the reactions I have received over the years, the all too familiar ones, time after time, to my life history. But that is the key – it IS history. And that’s where it should stay – in the archives… only to be brought out when needed for medical examination, not for emotional rumination! Chewing the cud is only beneficial to the cow (a ruminant).
Today, when the nurse finished with all the questions, she looked at me and shook her head. I wasn’t asking for her pity, I was only answering the questions. I don’t need pity. She said the all-familiar phrase, in her words. “You have really been through so much in your life!” I looked at her, smiled, and gently said “Yes, I have, and God is good! He has brought me through it all! I couldn’t have gone through it without him. I am here and I’m sane and I know I have a purpose in my life. It’s funny when I look back, it’s hard to believe I went through all of that, because I don’t think about it until I have to recount it to a new doctor, then I put it away again, in the past. I focus on today.” She just shook her head again and said “Wow!” then left the room.
Yes, there have been things that could have taken away my dignity. There have been times I have lost family members for lengths of time. I have lost friends over lies that have been told about me. I have lost tens of thousands of dollars because of people I’ve been involved with… I’m not discussing details, Thank you. I don’t hold those things against any of them. I pray they come to know God and the truth. But I made it through by the grace of God and the mercy of friends and family. Any of these circumstances could have stolen my dignity or my joy. But, I would have had to allow my dignity and my joy to be stolen. The only way our dignity or our joy can be taken from us, is that we allow it to happen. I plan to hold on to both and I urge you to do the same!
Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music. Psalm 27:6