When my husband was undergoing a course of treatment in the Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, it was a trying time for us. The hospital was 120 miles away from our home. We are not city folks, so we made the trip on Monday morning for the first treatment of the week and stayed overnight Monday and Tuesday. We returned home on Wednesday, which allowed us to touch base with our dogs, do laundry, pack food for the rest of the week, and make the return trip on Thursday morning, then back home on Friday for the weekend.
The twelve week regimen proved to be taxing for both of us. During that period of time, I learned that a routine annual screening I had had done locally required further testing. Due to the distance involved and the time of my husband’s appointment in the chamber, it was not possible to have the follow up work done at my local hospital. Therefore, I did the follow up at Memorial.
Since they now had my records, I opted to continue my annual screenings in Colorado Springs. The suite where my screening took place happened to be down the hall from the Wound Care Center, where my husband had frequent appointments for several months. The staff members there, from the receptionists to the aides, nurses and physicians, were the most caring, compassionate, and concerned professionals I have ever met. They treated my husband like he was the most special patient they had ever treated, and even the smallest improvement was celebrated as a huge victory on the road to his recovery.
I missed my screening last year (there was a lot going on then!), so when it came due this year, I made sure to schedule my appointment. My husband had been discharged from the Wound Care Center two years previous. I left for my appointment that day anticipating a visit to the Wound Care Center. I hadn’t notified them that my husband had passed away the previous June, and even though they may have found out through medical channels, I just wanted to visit and express again how much I appreciated them.
As it turned out, my screening again required further evaluation. Since I live a good distance away, they arranged for me to have all the follow up tests that were needed to rule out any problems that same day. A half hour appointment stretched into several hours, and by the time I left, it was dusk, and with my poor vision in the dark, I really needed to leave the city before sunset.
On the way home, I thought about the visit I didn’t get to have with the Wound Care Center staff. Then it hit me. The personnel there are a part of the past. For all I knew, the same staff might not even be working there anymore. Even if they are, how many patients would they have seen since my husband was discharged? They might remember me, but the connection just would not be the same.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland”
I think God was teaching me a lesson here. Sometimes, when we journey down a path and we’re tempted to look back, we find we miss what’s ahead. Of course I miss my husband terribly, and the simplest little things will take me back into the past for precious moments of reminiscence and reflection about our life together.
However, the people I know who played an instrumental part in his care belong in my past. They are meeting the responsibility of administering care to new patients. Likewise, I must meet the challenges the Lord has laid out for me in the days and years ahead.
There may be difficult days ahead, filled with disappointment and distress. We may be caught in the midst of storms and sorrow. Yet, like the Bible verse says, we may find myself in a wilderness at times, but God will provide “streams in the wasteland.” He has sustained us through dark times and He has great plans for the days ahead. He calls us to not dwell on the past, but embrace a bright new future!
Staring into the sunset leaves us pining for the day that lies behind us. Admiring the sunrise finds us seeking purpose in the day ahead.
Is there a part of your past that needs letting go?