If you have ever been punched in the gut you may have found yourself knocked to the ground struggling to get your breath back. As you try to get your breath back you wonder if you want to get back up again. You wonder if you want to get back in the fight again. You wonder if you should just lie there and give up.
I met a patient the other day who had been punched in the gut. She is eighty-five years old. She has been in pretty good health and living independently. She had some setbacks recently but she felt like she was getting back to where she wanted to be. Then she had decided to go out to the mail box to get her mail. She knew it was slippery out so she stepped out of her front door very carefully. But in spite of her caution she still slipped and fell and fractured her pelvis. She had to lie in her hospital bed for a couple of days before her surgery could be scheduled. She was told she could not move her leg. She was in considerable pain and her leg was having spasms as she tried to lie still. This was her punch in the gut and she was having a hard time holding herself together. I sat with her and prayed with her and promised I would check on her after her surgery.
Yesterday I checked to see how her recovery was going. She was doing better physically. Her pain was under control. She was sitting up in bed. But mentally and emotionally she is still trying to catch her breath after being punched in the gut. “I don’t know if I can do this, “she said. ” I will be going to a rehab facility. I am looking at months of therapy and healing. I feel like I am back at the bottom of the mountain and it’s a long way to get back to the top. I don’t know if it is worth it. I don’t know if I have the strength to do it.”
As she pondered the cost and effort it was going to take to get back to where she was she was also struggling with her feelings about why this happened. She was angry at herself for not taking the time to go to the garage and get some salt and sprinkle it on the steps. She is still wondering why God allowed this to happen to her. I asked her what she believed about God and the question of suffering and she said that she believed that God loves us and doesn’t want to see us suffer. I agreed with her that God does love us and is with us in our struggles and we sat in silence for a few moments as we contemplated the presence of our loving God.
I am guessing she is going to get her breath back. I am guessing she is going to reengage the strong spirit her God has given her and she is going to attack her therapy with all the energy she can muster.
So if you have been punched in the gut like this lady you may want to follow her path. Take some time to gather yourself and get your bearings. Take some time to voice your fears and feelings to people who will love you and support you. Shed some tears. Forgive yourself for not always making the best decisions you should have made and then put your hand in God’s hand and get back up again.