Patience has never been a virtue I excelled at. It appears God is giving me ample opportunity to learn it, however.
One morning last week, I wrote in my journal three things that I need to do better and all three of them revolved around that one virtue… Patience. Patience with others who deal with stress differently than I do, patience with my children, and patience with Ray’s recovery process, which is clearly going to take longer than the few weeks I’d like to give it. (ha ha)
Many people ask how he’s doing, and I’m struggling to answer that question. On the one hand, compared to where he was a five weeks ago (essentially comatose), he’s doing fabulously. On the other hand, compared to where he was six weeks ago, before this all happened, well…
I was forewarned that I would be too close to the process, and that it would be difficult for me to see the changes. This has revealed itself to be all too true. The changes don’t seem to be coming quickly enough.
Ray can now walk with a walker and the support of his physical therapist. He can brush his teeth, use a spoon, and drink water from a straw. He can read, although he tends to neglect the left side of the page and will skip words on that side. He can talk, and has even progressed to the point where he can converse and answer questions like, “how many kids do you have” and “What’s your wife’s name.” However, it’s a strange dichotomy. Today he accurately gave the year, but said that he is thirty years old. He knows he’s in the hospital, but he doesn’t remember what happened to put him there.
The doctors, nurses, and therapists all tell me the same thing: They don’t have a crystal ball that will tell them how much of his functionality will return, and in what time frame, though they have generally indicated that we’re looking at a two year recovery process before he reaches his new “normal.”
And so I wait, and I pray for patience. But, even as I pray, I know that I am blessed, because this experience brings me closer to Christ. Imagine the patience he had to have in order to endure his Passion without saying, “Enough!” and calling on the angels to rescue him.
And so, every day, I try to look to that example of Christ, to walk this path without crying, “Enough!” Let’s be honest. I’m not Christ, and thus there have been and there will be days when I do cry out and feel ready to give up. But, by the grace of God, following those moments of weakness, I will shake myself off, stand back up, and keep plodding along.
The more I respond as Christ would have responded, the more I am conformed to him. And the more conformed to him I become, the more complete my hope, peace, and, even in this difficult situation, joy.