Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I
unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
I am coming back from an amazing vacation. Although I was on call through much of the holidays, I managed to sneak away for several days after Christmas with my family. We had an amazing trip to Colorado where we skied and lounged for almost a week. It was cold, but so beautiful! I stopped at one point on the slopes just to breathe in the crisp fresh mountain air and marvel at the beauty around me. God is such an artist. The mountains were perfectly decorated with all shades of white, framed by a backdrop all shades of blue sky. The white clouds looked like white cotton balls lingering in the balance. It was perfect and awesome.
Coming home, I have felt just like the grey blue sky that greeted us back home. We had a tough trip home, which brought me back feeling over-fatigued and sleep deprived. Flight mishaps got us home at 2am on January 2, as opposed to the 8pm planned arrival we had scheduled on January 1st. While on our trip, my husband Jule suffered a collision with a young and very fast snowboarder, and sustained 3 broken ribs. His pain was magnified by the sprints in the airport. I had fallen once on my skies as twisted my knee, which was not a huge deal….just enough to be a nagging discomfort through the whole trip home. Add to that, I apparently have developed a case of thyroiditis….a fairly unusual condition which has caused daily fevers, neck pain and sore throat over the last couple of weeks. Again, this is not a big deal, but a fever every night and every morning is enough to drag you down considerably, and I found myself wondering, why is something always wrong in my life?
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount
up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk,
and not faint.
When I returned home, I was still exuberant about the vacation, despite all the maladies we were dealing with. Arriving home at 2am then going to work at 7am is depressing no matter what your occupation. And needless to say, coming back from several days off, there were may patients in need of attention. I had a very full schedule, with too many sick patients. Some of my patients were admitted to the hospital in my absence, with uncontrolled pain or infections. They had spent their days on the oncology inpatient unit struggling to get relief from pain, or struggling to breathe, or just trying to hang on, while we were making our journey back from a vacation of otherwise minor issues! How could I feel anything but regret over complaining about any problem we had coming home, when I see what some of my dearest patients were struggling with in my absence?
In reality, this life is full of challenges always. Whether we are dealing with a missed flight, or a strained knee, or broken ribs, life has obstacles. My patients are dealing with much greater obstacles – shortness of breath from lung cancer, severe bone pain from metastatic breast cancer, infection from a pelvic tumor, or nausea vomiting from the very treatment that is supposed to be making them better. So how do we ever see the good in this life, if we are always up against such seemingly insurmountable pain and suffering?
During the days since I have come back from this trip, I have stopped several times, and taken myself back to the mountaintop where everything was so clear and crisp and perfect. God gives us these moments of pure happiness and peace so that in our more difficult times, we can hold on to the pure joy he has placed in our hearts. Though times get tough, and things seem to be always going the wrong way, I know that He stopped me there on the mountain so that I could feel His presence all around me and in me. That moment, when I stopped skiing down that steep pass that would have otherwise carried me too quickly down the hillside, I realize that God often tries to stop us in the hurried busy-ness of our lives. Though I am not skiing down a steep mountain every day, I am skiing through the quickness of my day to day life, scurrying to try to keep up with my hectic schedule, trying to fit too much into my day, and missing the beauty of the life He has placed all around me. I need those moments – even if they are only moments – to take in and breathe the crisp beautiful perfect air that He has given me. And in doing so, I can recognize that these obstacles and pains in life are only temporary, and I will be well and okay knowing that God carries me down the mountain in perfect beauty every day, with the strength, peace and courage to face the challenges, pain and obstacles that this life will inevitably bring.