As promised, I am continuing Word Up Wednesday by featuring reflections written during my Clinical Pastoral Education Internship. The following was written in April 2015. Again, Scripture was added and minor edits made to be shared here on www.reverendmotherrunner.com
A few weeks ago, I was visiting a patient in rehab. During our time together, she shared her life story with me and specifically the illness that caused her hospital stay. Towards the end of our conversation she said something, words that I will never forget, This patient, tired after just returning from therapy and resting up for another round of therapy in a few short hours said, “The hardest work I’ve ever done is not giving up.” She was having physical discomfort, but she was tireless. She was being stretched beyond what she thought was imaginable, but she was resolute. She had a dogged strength within that kept her going to make strides in her health. It wasn’t easy, but she was persistent. It wasn’t without pain, but she was determined. Above all, this tenacious patient wanted to be well and was committed to not giving up on her health and herself.
Her spirit brought to mind a quotation from author Harriet Beecher Stowe. She wrote, “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” My patient was correct, not giving up, when circumstances are difficult and we grow weary, is hard work. But Stowe is also correct. What if the very moment we are ready to call it quits is the moment when we will begin to see positive changes in our situations? What if the very moment we are ready to throw in the towel is the moment when there is progress made?
Have you ever been in traffic? I have. It’s a trivial example, but I often get impatient when I am stuck in traffic on the highway, especially if I am pressed for time and have someplace I need to be. I have been stuck in a lane that is not moving. A lane that I’ve been sitting in for a while, going nowhere fast. And I decide to switch lanes. I’ve given up on the lane I am in because I’m not making any progress in reaching my destination. And the very moment I switch lanes, traffic begins to flow in the lane that I was previously in. The cars that were behind me in the lane I was in are now breezing past me, passing by as I sit—absolutely still--in a new lane. And if I had waited another moment, another second, I would have been on my way, moving in the direction of my destination.
Not giving up requires patience. Not giving up requires strength. Not asks us to be still, trusting that progress is being made even if we cannot see or feel it. Not giving up is hard work, but if we hold on, we just may be at the point of a turn in our situation.
Will you pray with me?
Gracious God, there are times when we find ourselves in difficult situations. We have difficulty in our families. We have difficulty with our health. We have difficulty in our places of employment. We see trouble and distress in our world. These situations sometimes cause us to be faint of heart and physically exhausted. We grow impatient. Give us, we pray, a tenacious spirit, to keep on going, when the going gets tough. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.