Remember the eighty-five year old lady with the broken pelvis who wasn’t sure she could face the challenge of rehab?
As I visited her one more time before she was discharged to the rehab place she was going to we talked again about her life. Every time I visit with patients I find out more and more detail about their lives that gives me a deeper understanding of who they are. I have come to see that the thing that brought them to the hospital is only the last page in the story of their life. There are many other pages that come before this page. There are many other chapters and stories all of which have shaped this person’s life and made them who they are.
So my understanding of this lady deepened as we talked one more time. I had met her daughter on a previous visit and as I mentioned meeting her I found out she was the mother of six children. She mentioned that two of her sons had died. One of them had struggled with Schizophrenia and the other one had died of a heat attack. She had also lost her husband about ten years previously. As I listened to these heart breaking losses I began to see that this woman had suffered and endured much long before she broke her pelvis.
As she talked about these losses she also talked about her love of riding bicycle. She rode her bicycle everywhere. She and her husband went on bike trips all over the country and she had continued to ride until just a few years ago. This told me that she was not only physically fit but this hobby also brought her joy and lifted her spirits. More and more clearly I began to see just how strong and resilient this lady was. She had been punched in the gut. She had to take some time to gather herself and get back on her feet again. But she wasn’t down for the count just yet. She has a few more rounds left in her before she leaves the ring!!
What an encouragement for all of us to get the full story of the people we minister to. If we meet them in their moment of brokenness let us always remember this is just one page of the story of their life. Let us give them the chance to tell us about the other pages of their lives so that we and the person we are with can both see the whole story. As that person sees that God has given them strength and resilience in the past they too will say with the woman with the broken pelvis, “I am determined. I am not ready to give up.”