I don’t remember five years ago today very well…with a bunch of my brain missing and that cancerous tumor carved out along with it. At this point five years ago, I was already at rehab at the Marianjoy brain trauma wing, slowly coming out of the fog of my surgery. Karyn remembers vividly, though…the total left-side paralysis, the thick-tongued, repetitive speech, the 30+ staples covered with bandages wrapped around my head, the appalling lack of social cues from a guy who just needed to get out of bed and go to the bathroom already.
She tells the story now of the gnawing fear setting in during those early post-op days in intensive care at Central DuPage Hospital–that at-the-precipice tipping point pushing her to believe the man she married was present in body, but irrevocably absent in mind and personality. I don’t remember much pain–just flashes and sounds of weepy reunions with my girls, and the steady, reassuring presence of the dearest, closest people in my life.
Yesterday, about five years after my foggy stay at the Marianjoy brain wing, I returned home from beautiful Bangkok Hospital here in Chiangmai, Thailand with the good news that my latest MRI is clear and God’s miraculous healing mercy continues to grace me with life and time to love Him and my amazing family more, and to begin my second year as Spiritual Life Director at Grace International School.
I may be a chunk of brain shy of the man I used to be five years ago, but over those 1800 days, Jesus has graciously filled in the gaps to help me understand more deeply than I ever have that I am loved and useful just as I am. Five years ago, my spiritual life was driven by the nagging sound of my own voice–the false narrative that I really was able to make myself love Jesus more by the strength of my own will. Now my hearing is improving–my voice is still there, yet not quite so destructively prominent as it once was. Really, it’s not my missing grey matter, but I hear voices pretty consistently now–the sounds of my Father singing over me and his gentle Spirit quieting me with his love. Zephaniah 3:17 is a revolutionary daily soundtrack to listen to and live by. You should try it for yourself sometime–turn the stunning promises there into breath prayers, like my friend Sally tried to teach me a long time ago…
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (NIV84)
Do you hear him singing? Listen closely with me and live.