It’s May 2nd, Again…
Each May 2nd, the first thing that I think about when I wake up in the morning is the fact that on May 2, 1979, eleven months to the day after the death of my father, I had my tonsils removed. As it turns out, it was in the same hospital that Dad died in – Lutheran General Hospital near Park Ridge, IL.
What’s just as memorable to me is the fact that I refused to be put under and so I made a deal with the doctor to remove my tonsils under local anesthesia. As I look back on that day, it probably wasn’t the smartest decision I have ever made, but it does make for a good story – one that I have told many times.
I had been sick for more than 9 months – taking massive doses of penicillin to kill the infection that was in my throat. I did great while on the drug, but as soon as I stopped taking it, things got bad very quickly. My throat was so sore that I couldn’t swallow and I was between a rock and a hard place. I was terrified of the surgery and yet I couldn’t stand the pain.
Ultimately, I was hospitalized and put in isolation. It was bad. I couldn’t lay down to sleep and ended up trying to relax in a reclining chair. They couldn’t operate while I was so sick, so I went on massive doses of steroids to reduce the swelling in my throat and went back to the hospital several weeks later as an out patient to have my tonsils removed. I won’t go into details regarding the procedure, but suffice it to say that it was painful – very painful.
But even that pain was nothing compared to what I had been through the prior months. In fact, I smoked in those days and I remember lighting up a cigarette the day after surgery on my throat – and as much as that hurt, it didn’t stop me from smoking. I must have been out of my mind back then…..
Hopefully, I have lost many of my bad habits over the last 33 years since the surgery. The truth of the matter, though, is that I have never completely gotten over my fear of being put to sleep. I think that it is a control thing. Intellectually I know that it’s all up to God and that there is nothing that I can do to extend my life past the time that God has allotted to me, but on a heart level, that’s difficult for me to come to terms with.
How many times in our lives do we invoke the aid of God in times of trial or tribulation and then, when the crisis is over, we push God back into the shadows and try to go it alone – without the help of the Father? I don’t know about you, but I have come to realize that this is just plain dumb. I can’t even number the times that I have had a plan that has fallen apart only to be absolutely surprised by the grandeur of the plan that God has replaced it with. I just don’t have the capacity to dream as big as God can. It’s as simple as that.
So when I go back and think about my mindset before the surgery, I didn’t have the faith that I have today. In fact, I wasn’t nearly as strong in my walk with God. But even a more mature posture toward the Father doesn’t automatically mean that things don’t scare us. There are times still today when I am taken by surprise and react in a way that doesn’t reflect total confidence in God. Sometimes I just have to get in the zone and find some peace before I can get fear under control. And, every once in a while, I just can’t find that elusive peace at all. And that’s okay, because God understands my human weaknesses.
The verse for tonight reflects God’s care for us – the verse is from Matt. 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” In other words, the birds don’t worry and they depend on God for everything. So in the ultimate analysis, there should be no reason to doubt that God, who created us in His image, will also take care of us.
My encouragement this evening is to confirm that you are important to God. God loves you, and me, more than we can possibly imagine. My prayer is that you will be able to rest in that love and that you will grow closer to God and depend on Him even more than you do now. That’s the plan, and each May 2nd I take a few minutes to reflect on my personal progress. How are you doing? Grace and peace…..