Are you struggling with something this morning? Is there a trial that is sapping your strength? Are you weighed down with worries? Hold out your hand, and hold onto God. He waits to walk with you, to strengthen you for the path ahead.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
Psalm 40:2 – NIV
On our recent camping trip to the mountains of Tennessee, I had one of those frightening first responder moments. My nurse friends will concur that when you are out in the community and faced with responding to an emergency situation, your nurse brain may kick in gear, but your stomach tightens up in knots.
It’s one thing to respond to an emergency in the hospital, working alongside your colleagues, doing what you are trained to do. It’s quite another to find yourself alone responding to a crisis, hoping that you know what to do.
As we entered our camper after a run to town for a meal and groceries, my husband Eric glanced out the window and quickly turned to me, a note of urgency in his voice, “Anita, that older gentleman we met earlier is on the ground. I think he’s hurt.”
Boom! My heart rate launched into overdrive. My stomach clenched in knots. As my brain kicked into gear, I thought, “How am I gonna help him? I can’t see well enough to do anything!”
My next thought was, “You may be their best option, and you still have a brain!” Swallowing hard, I grabbed my white cane and dashed out the door.
Rushing over to the crowd gathered around the fallen man, I ascertained that he had stumbled on the gravel and lost his balance. A few scrapes on his arms were apparent, but he was alert and talking, moving all extremities.
Offering the information that I was a nurse along with the disclaimer that I was visually impaired, I asked if I could help. My would be patient shook his head, declaring that he was fine.
After a few moments of further assessment, his son-in-law and a friend helped the elderly man up off the ground and over to his camper. Other than the scrapes, there was no sign of further injury. Without a doubt, he would be sore the next day, but thankfully, he had managed to avoid any broken bones or brain injury. At his insistence, his companions helped the battered man into the camper to wash his wounds.
My first responder skills were unnecessary after all, but the son-in-law was relieved to know that a nurse was dwelling next door. Crisis resolved, Eric and I struck up a conversation with these fine gentlemen, and a fascinating story unfolded.
I soon learned that my would be patient, Mr. C, was celebrating his upcoming 80th birthday with this camping trip to visit his old friends. Apparently, Mr. C had made this trip annually for more than thirty years. Although battling declining health, he had persevered to make the trip one more time.
His son-in-law shared that for fifteen years, Mr. C had been battling a rare form of cancer, a type that typically takes your life within a year or two. But Mr. C had amazed his physicians at the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas by surviving longer than any other patient on record. Over the years, Mr. C had participated in cutting edge research, providing an invaluable source of data toward a treatment for this rare disease.
Enthralled by this amazing story and the vitality of the fine gentleman smiling at me, I returned the smile, declaring, “Wow! You are amazing! Resilient! That’s what you are. Beating the odds, soldiering on…you are resilient!”
A huge grin spread across Mr. C’s kind face. “Resilient!” He liked that word, and so did his son-in-law. I explained that it was a nursing term used to describe the body’s ability to fight off disease and return to a healthy state. “It’s about how you bounce back from injury, how you stand strong against the onslaught.”
As it turned out, I didn’t have to nurse Mr. C’s injuries, but I did end up helping him and his family. I gave them a word, “Resilient!” It was a word they had somehow been searching for, a descriptor of the valiant battle Mr. C had fought for fifteen years. Not only had he triumphed over the ravages of the disease, but he had maintained a determined stance of positivity in the face of horrendous affliction. He had bounced back, kept on, stood strong. He was resilient.
In the days since this interesting encounter, I have thought a lot about that word, resilient. It is a word that encompasses the whole spectrum of body, mind and spirit; a gauge of our intrinsic resources; a descriptor of our ability to respond to crisis.
It all boils down to a key question. Will we forge on in the face of adversity and affliction, or will we succumb to the threat Once again, it’s about choices. How do we weather the storms of life? Will we dig deep, find our faith, and stand firm in the raging winds? Will we take the good with the bad, grateful for the blessings that come with the hardships? Will we look on the bright side or dwell in the darkness?
What about you? How are you responding to the struggles assailing you? Heartache and hardship abound in this earthly life, and we don’t get to choose our circumstances. However, we do get to choose how we respond. We can determine to bounce back, to wade through, to soldier on. We can choose to be resilient.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.
Psalm 40:3 – NIV
O Lord God, You are with us in our struggles. You strengthen us against the onslaught, You equip us for the fight. Better still, You never leave us nor forsake us. Help us to stand firm, to dig deep, to soldier on. Empower us to be resilient.