My Journey through Breast Cancer

On October 11, 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ... or as we like to call it, extreme measures for a nap (EMFN). For a while, this blog will be my cancer journal. Enter at your own risk.

20 November 2007

on hospitals

These past two weeks I've either been visiting or talking about visiting the hospital. My grandma has taken up a reluctant residence there, hopefully for just a little while longer while they sort out her insides. We're all anxious to have her out, especially Grandma herself. She says the service is nice, but she's longing for home.

Hospitals are generally not relaxing destinations. Unless you're going to visit a new mom and baby, the reasons for a hospital visit are usually less than pleasant. As you pass countless other visitors, all talking in hushed whispers, some carrying balloons and flowers, some only carrying a far-off look, you're reminded that every person spending time in a hospital is someone's loved one, with a family, a lifetime of stories.

Even if the loved one you're visiting is NOT sitting at death's door, you can't help but notice the solemn nature of your surroundings. The walls are a mute taupe, the halls are wide enough for gurneys and entourages of nurses and doctors, everyone speaks quietly and the hospital staff and volunteers tend to be overly caring and concerned. Hospitals are the one place you can't help but stare your own mortality square in the eyes. And who wants to be reminded of that?

Death catches us all, as they say (I admit, I don't know who "they" are). We can't spend every moment of every day consumed by the inevitability of life's end. Life would feel meaningless, hopeless, pointless. And yet I definitely think it important that we are reminded now and again of our frailty. It forces us to contemplate life's meaning, purpose, and the afterlife. I happen to believe that death is just another step in the life of my soul. And through my faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, I believe my soul will live forever in heaven with Him. But I often wonder about hospital visitors without this assurance, or those who've contemplated it and haven't come to the same conclusion. How hopeless and meaningless life must feel!

My recent musings on death have been an important reminder that God is real, and that though my life is temporary, it is not insignificant. Because I have a hope in things to come, my life right now has meaning, if for no other reason than this is where God has me right now, and he expects me to live according to His plan for me. Discovering that plan is a daily adventure, but it is the adventure that I live for. Again, how sad for the one with no hope for the future, no answers to the age-old "Why are we here?" question.

My recent thoughts have also given me a perspective on the things I tend to get overly concerned about ... the size of my home, the weight on my hips, my limited wardrobe. In the grand eternal scheme of things these things don't matter either. They are only for this time, this short short time here on earth. And that is comforting. Though I love my life, I also recognize that what God has in store for me in the hereafter will be infinitely better. I wouldn't say I can't wait, but perhaps I can say I look forward to it.

Hospitals may be a less-than-pleasant place to visit, whether or not you are the patient, but it can be a reminder of the hope we have in Christ. Without it, hospitals would be a dreary place indeed.

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