Saturday, March 3, 2012

Little pieces of broken glass, part two

When I woke up in the recovery room, I saw my Norman's face. He smiled at me and said, "Hello there, beautiful." Now I know for sure that I wasn't looking beautiful. I was drugged, wrapped in a hospital gown in a weird shade of purple (not my color), and I had a poufy cap on my head, totally ruining the hair I bothered to fix for this adventure. Why does a woman do her hair and makeup if she's going to be admitted to the hospital (maybe you don't)?  I gave Norman a groggy smile as I snuggled into my pillow for another round of sleep. I was still in "La-La Land." Anesthesia lasts a long time in my pokey body, so it took a bit of goading to get me to wake up and get dressed so that we could leave the hospital.

"The surgeon said he removed three small pieces of glass from your heel," Norman told me with a little more volume in his voice than usual. Three pieces of glass? That got my attention, because I only remembered stepping on one sharp object, but it must have broken into pieces as it went into my foot. No wonder it kept jabbing me as I walked; I had a trio of glass pieces relocating themselves with each footfall! What started  out as a small poke (I thought) ended up requiring surgery and stitches. A little thing became a big thing.

How many times have we allowed a little thing to become a big thing between us and someone else? I know I've sure been guilty of this. I cringe now at the memories of times when I allowed some minor event to become a major tidal wave in my life, only to feel like a total fool later as the Lord revealed to me how small the matter really was in His sight. "He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbor cometh and searcheth him." (Prov. 18:17) We may seem like we've got a really good reason to be aggravated with someone, but when it's put under the magnifying glass of God's Word, there are always flaws in our thinking, because we have imperfect, self-centered eyesight. 

I wonder if we would be more careful with people if we knew their "expiration date." I can vividly remember walking in on an adult mother and daughter as they were working together in our church kitchen years ago. They were laughing and talking as they prepared food for a fellowship. Days later, the mother died suddenly. It was an enormous shock! She looked so healthy and vibrant that day in the kitchen! No one would have ever suspected that she was only hours away from her last day on this side of heaven. "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow: for what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:14) It's so easy to take people for granted, saying things or doing things that are painful and then expecting them to just "deal with it" because we're having a bad day. If you're not going love people today, exactly what day are you waiting for?

Once the surgeon removed the glass from my foot, the healing process could begin. Until that glass was out, I was forced to limp while trying to cope with the sharp pain. Is someone limping through life because you're hurting them? Did you cut someone with your words or pierce them with your actions? Are you shunning someone right now because you're making them sweat for displeasing you? It pays to check our attitudes regularly for signs of harmful selfishness. We shouldn't make people feel like they're walking barefoot on broken glass.

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." (I John 4:11)

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