Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

December 10, 2010

Sick and Alone

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Being sick is enough . . . but it is seemingly worse when you are alone.

When I was in graduate school in North Carolina, I experienced just such a time.

I had left Atlanta late one Sunday evening, and with an old college friend, we drove all night.  I dropped my friend off at Duke University where he was a graduate student.  I drove on to Southeastern Theological Seminary at Wake Forest.  I decided to go to bed for a few hours for some much needed sleep.

However, within a few hours I was in intense pain.  I felt immediately it was a kidney stone because I had experienced one some five years earlier.  I went to the clinic at school.  They insisted it was not a kidney stone and gave me some medication for discomfort.  I was not satisfied with the response, and I did not take the medication that would have caused me to sleep.  I got in my car and drove into Raleigh, NC.

In Raleigh, I inquired about a local hospital.  I was directed  to a Catholic hospital.  As I entered the emergency room, I was graciously welcomed.  Within minutes they were attending to me.  After some tests, they did not believe I had a kidney stone, but felt something was amiss and so I was admitted to the hospital.

During the day, more tests were performed and the doctors indicated that if I did not have more problems, I would be discharged the next morning.  All my suspicions were confirmed as about 2 a.m. it became clear that I did have a stone, and surgery was performed during the night.

What would have perhaps been only a day or so in the hospital, turned out to be five days because of complications.  It may have been more than five days, but because of heavy snowfall, I insisted that I be allowed to go back to the dorm.  With reluctance, the doctors agreed.  The snow would close all roads for several days and they understood the continued confinement might not be necessary.

But I relate to you the deep loneliness of those five days.  I was not in a room by myself, but with an older gentlemen.  Conversation with him did not bring comfort or companionship.  In fact, he is probably one of the most foul-mouthed people I have ever met.  In addition, he could do nothing but ridicule my commitment to Christ.

There I was alone in a city where I knew no one.  Family could not travel that far because of weather and what we assumed would be a short stay in the hospital.  Student friends did not have the time to come and visit and that I understood.  It was truly a long, lonely stay.  I can never forget that experience.  I felt so isolated and unloved.

When discharged, I drove back to the dorm.  School was closed, but the few of us in the dorm would survive.  The few female students on campus, living on the first floor of the dorm, would prepare some emergency meals and bring them to my room.  I was confined to bed for about another five days.  Friends in the dorm were loving and helpful . . . but there was still a loneliness.

As I have reflected on those days, I realize there are many people all about me that are lonely.  Many feel isolated because of health, but there are some that are lonely just because they do not have friends or family near.  It behooves all of us to be sensitive to such individuals.

Although I was lonely during those days . . . I was not really alone.  I felt lonely because of no family or friends with me, but I was not alone.  My God who promised was always there!  We can endure anything through His presence and strength.  My Father was truly there.

“”So do not fear, for I am with you . . . .”  (Isaiah 41:10)  ” . . . he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (Deuteronomy 31:6)  “I will never leave you as orphans, I will come to you.”  (John 14:18)

Yet, often His love to us in such dark days is expressed through family and friends who are attentive to us.  Perhaps I can be this day an extension of God’s love to someone who is lonely.  Could He also be counting on your availability?

” . . . blessed is he who is kind to the needy.”  (Proverbs 14:21)  “I was sick and you looked after me . . . When did we see you sick or in prison and go and visit you?  Whatever you did for one of the least of the brothers of mine, you did for me.”  (Matthew 25:36,39)  “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their distress.”  (James 1:27)

Lawson

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