They're what much of the Christmas season is made of. Surprise gifts, surprise visits from a loved one, surprising new ways of celebrating what God has given...all pleasant surprises.
This year, I've received one that's not so pleasant. I'll be spending Christmas in the hospital.
Yesterday, during what was expected to be a very routine appointment with my orthopedic surgeon to check my progress and look at xrays, he discovered some not-so-good news. It's complicated and I won't try to explain it here, but it really amounts to quite a mess inside my leg and hip and necessitates pretty much a reconstruction of the whole leg from hip to knee. I naively asked my great doc if he could manage to do it before he leaves here in February (I wouldn't want anyone but him to do it) and he seemed slightly amused and told me that he was going to check his schedule to see "if I can do it in the morning." And he made sure that even though I had walked in to the examining room, that I had a wheelchair on the way out.
Well "tomorrow" (which would have been today) didn't happen, but Christmas Eve did, so I'll be reporting into the hospital at 5:15 in the morning for an early (and probably lengthy) surgery. The best part is that I'll get to have one of their great diabetic dinner trays for Christmas Dinner! And no, I won't be sharing.
Really, I'm trying to keep smiling. We've just finished opening our family gifts, since taking them into the OR was not an option. We celebrated last night with all the grandchildren except the two in Virginia and I thank God that we had at least enough notice to be able to get together for that.
And I have a remarkable surgeon, one who's taken me into the operating room five times before and who looks to the same God I do for strength and guidance. Despite the fact that I don't like the timing, the Father has had His hand on me and will continue to walk his daughter through the next painful part of the journey. It's a road I'd rather not walk, naturally, but I didn't get to choose it. My God chose it for me and equipped me with His presence and with a family, friends, and a church family who are the best I could ask for when going through trials. So I accept it as from His hand and ask for the grace to rejoice in His love and the gift of His Son no matter which bed I'm sleeping in on Christmas Eve.
I will truly appreciate the prayers of those of you who are led to remember me tomorrow morning and to lift me up as I sort of start all over down the road of recovery, physical therapy and re-integrating into all the things I want to be able to do.
And may each of you celebrate Christ's incarnation with joy no matter where you are or what your circumstances! Merry Christmas!
(I'll try to talk CJ into getting on with an update when I'm on the other side of tomorrow's operation. You don't want to see me type on morphine. It's not pretty.)