“Given what we saw in there, you made the right decision to take them out!”

I speak today not of church buildings or budgets, but rather of my son’s tonsils and adenoids, removed earlier this week. His doctors had noted their enlargement, the way his tonsils were crowding his throat and his adenoids pressing in on his Eustachian tubes. Another set of ear tubes were put in to allow fluid to pass through and not build up, now giving my boy less of an excuse to claim he didn’t hear some directive from his parents!

These pre-surgical interpretations were confirmed during the operation, as his capable surgeon shared with us afterwards about what he ‘saw in there.’  I found myself surprised at the emotion that welled up within me to hear such a report. For until his surgery, Liam has seemed fine! Extra prone to strep throat and complaining of ear pain from time to time, but by and large, a healthy, happy kid. To hear that unbeknownst to any of us, everything from his breathing to his swallowing to his hearing were growing even more problematic by the day was a hard truth for this mama to receive.

In these days of caregiving since, I’ve mulled this over and imagined all the ways that we of all varieties let problems grow in our emotional insides, if not our otolaryngological insides! Resentment — towards spouse or friend or colleague — that swells and obstructs our capacity to absorb difference or change. Anger — over injustice, the general state of things in the world, or a particular grievance that just won’t go away — that presses in on our most basic functions and keeps us from inhaling the great gifts of life, and exhaling with trust and faith for the rest. Pride — of self, of ideas, of position, of power, of role — which builds up and blocks our ability to hear one another or God through it.

With but a few outward signs to capture our attention, we can go days (months! years!) without addressing what grows in our inner darkness, all the while growing sicker without even realizing it, less able to ‘live and move and have our being’ in constructive ways. Sometimes it takes a surgeon, a counselor, a friend, a trusted guide to help us address the things that choke off our capacity to love well. And sometimes only the Great Physician is capable of removing that which prevents our thriving within God’s dream for our lives. What it takes from us, then, is the willingness to examine, to explore the contours our minds, hearts, and souls, to invite the bright light and the sacred scalpels that will move us from sickness to health. Might we be so brave?

Together in the work of Love,
Pastor Emily

Ps- The surgery was routine, and Liam is recovering well. Your prayers and well-wishes through texts, cards, and emails have been so kind! Thank you!

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