Have you ever laid your head on your pillow at night filled with joy and feeling hopeful, only to wake up on the other end of the spectrum? Doom and gloom arrives at your doorstep to greet you good morning before the sun can warm your soul. A rain cloud follows you around all day, just like it sometimes does to a cartoon character. You try your best to believe in the religious principle that things will get better: ‘Just have faith’ is what they tell you, but travelling to a mythical world filled with knights and dragons seems more obtainable than your quest for serenity. Have you ever experienced such a day? I know I have, and it was one of those hopeless times where I found a piece of God’s heart.
The drive to New York-Presbyterian hospital from my home would normally take a good hour or two, depending on traffic. But on this 4th of July holiday most commuters were off and enjoying the splendors of summer, so the ride in was swift. I was anxious to get there and receive an update on my wife’s condition. Perhaps this was the day things would turn around. Perhaps I’d walk into her room and she’d be able to stand up, free from this unforeseen burden and ready to return to normalcy. Unfortunately, my premature optimism quickly faded when I arrived at her bedside. Her head was covered in a turban-like wrap, and wires dangled out from all sides.
“Hey,” I said in a subtle tone, trying to keep it together.
“Hey you,” she softly replied. “Did you hit a lot of traffic?”
“No, it was an easy ride in,” I responded.
“That’s good. Everyone must be at the beach. There are a lot of doctors on vacation here.”
I wanted to continue on with the small talk, if only to avoid diving into the issue at hand. I assumed if there was good news regarding hercondition that she would have shared it by now. I also knew that the longer I procrastinated the more anxious I’d become, and the harder it would be to keep my composure in front of her. I felt as the man of the family it was my duty to stay strong, or at least that’s the troubled philosophy I grew up believing.
“So, what’s the word? Do they have any idea what’s going on?” I cautiously asked.
“No. But they are going to do some tests today. They want to do a tilt table test, a skin biopsy, and the third is going to be a CT-scan of my brain.”
“Why a CT-scan?”
“I guess to check to see if I have a tumor,” my wife replied. “You know how I have been getting those really sharp pains behind my eyes, I’m wondering if that has something to do with what is going on.”
I don’t know if it was the word biopsy, tumor, my white-coat syndrome, or all those things combined, but by now I was numb. Fear had found its home in the depths of my spirit. It can do that to you. It can debilitate your mind and suffocate your soul. I know it, because I experienced it. And do you want to know what rescued me from the pit of despair that day. It wasn’t a trumpet blast from the heavens or divine revelation; instead, in my desperate search for peace God used a child. And that child was my daughter.
After I had returned from the hospital that day I had to run a few errands. My son and daughter had been staying at my parent’s house and my daughter asked if she could go with me to the store. On our way back we started talking. Nothing special, just sharing fun stories and memories, and enjoying the beautiful scenery God had provided outside our windows on this summer day. It was the simple things that helped relieve me of fear's grasp. Sure we shared our concerns for Joy, but we also comforted one another with words of hope and encouragement regarding the situation. Our time of fellowship as we drove through north jersey brought serenity to the both of us.
At the beginning of that day all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and sleep my sorrows and fears away. Instead, it took an innocent car ride with a child to make me realize that the best medicine for a depressed and worrisome heart is fellowship. I ended up taking a long detour that day, and a ten minute drive to the store turned into an hour. God used the car ride with my daughter to show that even in the midst of trials, He can provide a ‘peace that surpasses all understanding.’ Even He felt sorrow when the fellowship He once had with His children was broken in the Garden of Eden. And He showed us just how important fellowship truly is, by offering His Son as an atonement to restore it.