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A Lesson Learned from a Frustrating Day

This has been one of the most frustrating days of my life!

My husband, Dave, and I flew to Jacksonville yesterday for an appointment at The Mayo Clinic. The appointment was scheduled last May. Yes, almost six months ago–that’s how far in the future they are booking appointments.

Some of you know that Dave has suffered with several back and nerve issues. For the last six to seven years he has been in constant, unrelenting pain. He has seen orthopedic doctors, orthopedic surgeon, a spinal specialist at Emory Hospital, and two pain management doctors in Newnan. Not one doctor has been able to give him an absolute, definitive diagnosis, much less recommend a course of treatment. This appointment at Mayo was pretty much our last option.

When the appointment was scheduled, Dave was told to plan on being here two to three days. He would see different specialists, have any tests performed they felt necessary, and we’d have a recommended treatment plan presented to us before we left for home.

We saw the first doctor this morning who basically left us with the impression that a) he didn’t care about Dave’s case; and b) he really didn’t think Dave has a serious problem–if a problem at all. He had his nurse schedule Dave for a consultation with the pain management doctor here at Mayo. Naturally, we assumed it would be sometime this week. After all, that is what we were told. Right? Oh, no. Not at all. The appointment is for Tuesday, October 28. We are finished here for the week. But we’ve paid for the hotel room for three nights, flights tomorrow (Thursday) to Atlanta are full and some are overbooked (we fly standby) so we are staying here until Friday.

It was an incredibly frustrating situation that I allowed to really get to me and I complained for hours.

Finally, God had heard enough. He spoke softly, but with authority. “You think this has been a frustrating day? That you have it bad? This has been nothing. What about all the women you have seen with scarves covering their heads because they lost every single hair on their head during their chemo treatments? Or what about the young girl in Registration this morning whose legs were prostheses and whose hands were stumps? What about the wizened little man who joked and laughed with you, but his color and his body language says he’s losing his battle with cancer? These people are fighting the battle of their life while today’s situation for you was an inconvenience. It was a test and you failed completely.”

I was broken. Completely broken. I cried and asked for forgiveness and cried some more. How could I be so self-centered when there are people all around me, not only here at Mayo, but also in the world, who are suffering unimaginable diseases, abuse, poverty? How could I pass these people by without silently lifting a prayer for them, or reaching out and speaking, offering encouraging words? May I never reach this point of self-centeredness again.

God was gracious, as always, and extended mercy and forgiveness to me and I thank Him for that. But my prayer is that He will help me to always be aware of people around me, that He will even put people in my path and i will know beyond a shadow of doubt that the person and I have crossed paths for “such a time as this.”

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