31-Day Writing Challenge—Day 5 :: Patient

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By now I know, from the general theme of these writing challenges, that the spirit of today’s prompt is an adjective referring to forbearance, not a noun describing a doctor’s client. But this is my blog, my writing, my imagination, and I’m going to take it where I want.

There is of course a connection between the adjective and the noun. After all, a patient must be patient; at least, it helps … how often have you had to wait (hopefully patiently) for the doctor? How often have I had to wait over these past four months?

It’s been a rough summer in our family, health-wise. We’ve spent a lot of time waiting—in doctor’s offices, having medical procedures, waiting for test results. And in the emergency room … don’t even get me started! I’ve theorized, based on three ER visits in as many days (or nights) that it doesn’t really matter when you arrive at the ER; you won’t be released until three o’clock in the morning.

And in our case, that release came with precious little help: no answers, so suggestions, no solutions. In short, since death wasn’t imminent, we simply waited. And waited. And waited.

I get it. The ultimate purpose of an emergency department is to keep people alive long enough to get more long-term care. And if there’s no indication that you’re knocking on death’s door, you’re pretty much the lowest priority. Even if it feels like death is knocking on your door.

And that’s how it felt for a while. And when we got help, it always came with the same message: this is going to take a while. But when you don’t feel good, you want to get better … now. Healing is slow. Be patient. But it’s hard being patient. It’s hard being a patient. It’s hard being a patient patient.

The amazing thing is, they were right. Healing is coming. It’s not complete, but it’s getting better. Not better enough (yet), but still a lot better.

Healing is slow. Whether it’s a broken arm or cancer; a broken heart or abuse … healing is slow. Be patient. With the people helping you heal, with the process, with yourself. Be patient.

This entry is part of the 31-Day Writing Challenge 2021 from Five Minute Friday.

31-Day Writing Challenge—Day 4 :: Comfort

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What word comes to mind when you want to strengthen someone? Whatever it is, I’d bet it’s not today’s word-du-jour in the 31-Day writing challenge.

I’m a words guy, so when faced with such a common word as comfort I decided to look it up—and what I found surprised me. The first definitions, both as verb and noun, had to do with strength. And there I was, pre-dictionary, with images of lying warm in bed, soft blanket pulled tight up to my chin, huddled down in—you guessed it—comfort. That image feels anything but strong.

Are you comfortable? Let me get you another pillow, a blanket, a cup of hot chocolate.

Yet as I ponder these newly-revealed etymological mysteries, it all makes sense. When do we need comfort? When we’re sad, scared, cold, tired, lonely. What does comfort do? It strengthens our heart from sad to glad, from scared to courageous; it warms our cold muscles, offers companionship to our loneliness, energy in our fatigue. It strengthens.

Maybe we don’t need to “get out of our comfort zone” after all. Maybe we need to get right into the middle of it—that place where we are strongest, most confident, most able to live out our unique calling for the world.

This entry is part of the 31-Day Writing Challenge 2021 from Five Minute Friday.

31-Day Writing Challenge—Day 3 :: Peace

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It’s quiet now. Late. Dark. Peaceful. It wasn’t always. But it is now.

I like the quiet. Crickets chirping in the dark. Cars in the distance, far enough away that they are nothing more than a soft hum. Some nights the stars go on forever, reminiscent of the fireflies of my Midwest childhood. Tonight, though, nothing above but an almost-midnight blue blanket … that I can’t see for the blinding white of my screen, the only interruption of the peace.

These moments alone, unhurried moments. Early morning or late night. This is peace.

This entry is part of the 31-Day Writing Challenge 2021 from Five Minute Friday.

31-Day Writing Challenge—Day 2 :: Content

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“Contentment is learned,” he said. But how? Like patience—tested by waiting and the temptation to impatience? Is contentment learned through discontent, through wanting, through thinking that more will satisfy? Or is it learned through having—and finding dissatisfaction (or even fear and anxiety) in the possession?

“Give me enough that I don’t steal from real need,” wrote the psalmist, “but not enough that I don’t need You.” And “with You as my shepherd, I am content—green pastures, running water, protection … nothing lacking.”

And it’s good.

Oh, that I may be discontent with my discontent—and content with my content.

This entry is part of the 31-Day Writing Challenge 2021 from Five Minute Friday.

31-Day Writing Challenge :: NEED

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Need is a funny word. So short. So used. So abused.

“I need a drink,” says one after a long day at work. “I need it!” wails a child, reaching with its whole body for the toy just out of reach on the store shelf.

I need coffee. I need to eat. I need you. I need ….

Every plaintive cry reveals our poverty—not real poverty, of course, just a perceived lack of something, or someone, without which our life feels less than we’d like.

And it is less. Not for lack of a toy or a drink or a partner, but for want of contentment, of satisfaction.

What I need is is contentment. Without it, I will always need more.

This entry is part of the 31-Day Writing Challenge 2021 from Five Minute Friday.