Emptied

Attempting to write a blog after more than a year. A year that has been filled with severe health issues; from a near death stent in ICU, over 120 days in the hospital, and the daily struggle to breathe and have enough energy to move around.

I am emptied. Physically, mentally and yes, spiritually. Emptied of emotion, strength and fortitude.

I am emptied. Often times, emptied of thought, creativity, and desire.

I am in constant pain. And I constantly struggle for my next breath.

What I pray I will never be emptied of is hope. Not an earthly hope, one of a, “I hope this meeting goes well”, or “I hope I get a _________ for Christmas”, but a hope that is secured and anchored in Christ.

A heavenly hope. A hope that is anchored in God’s word, that doesn’t yield a “hope so”, but is bound to a “know so”.

Life is a struggle, and it is extremely difficult right now.

Perhaps being emptied is a good place to start.

It is when we are emptied that we can be filled.

Paul tied the two together this way.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Romans 15:13 ESV

Realities

Time is slipping away,

Time is money,

Time flies,

No time left,

not yet,

Maybe.

Love is in bloom,

Love is eternal,

Love heals,

I give love,

not always,

Selfishness.

Laughter is good medicine,

Laughter is contagious,

Laughter rings,

I laugh,

at times,

Smile.

Pain, a constant companion.

Pain is healing

Pain reminds;

I’m human

I grow

Peace.

The Power of a Song

We have a print in our home that someone gave us a long time ago. It is a wonderful thought about music and concludes with this statement;

Music makes people kinder, gentler, more staid and reasonable. I am strongly persuaded that after theology there is no art that can be placed on a level with music; for besides theology music is the only art capable of affording peace and joy of the heart.

Martin Luther

In the lobby here at Duke Medical Center sits a piano. Patients, staff and guests are encouraged to sit and share their talent with those who are passing by. There are several places to sit all around for those who might want to stop and listen a while. So, with it being Sunday, and not getting the opportunity to participate in corporate worship anywhere, I decided to head down and play some hymns for a while. Even if it was just for me, but in hopes someone else might be interested as well.

When I first arrived, there was nobody there. I mean the lobby was empty! I first thought, “What’s the point, if there isn’t anyone around.”. Then I heard “a voice” quietly speak, saying, “Just start, whoever needs to hear will be here.”. So, I began.

When I started playing, I could see out of the corner of my eye, a lady had quietly taken her place in a chair to my right. After a few moments I noticed she was crying. I kept playing and after a little more time, I noticed a couple of others who had joined her.

I looked up at a break and she said, “Keep playing, you have a gift.”. So I played for 10 more minutes and stopped to head back up to my room. Kind of thought the nurse might be looking for me!

Upon exiting, I stopped and spoke with her. She began to tell me how much she appreciated the music, etc. and I asked her why she was here and shared my story too. She told me her 26 year old daughter had been diagnosed with cancer and at this point, the doctor’s aren’t trying to find a cure, just trying to make her feel as comfortable as possible. She is receiving chemo, but the prognosis isn’t good at this point.

We prayed together and she said, “It has been so great to be able to connect with people while being at Duke and walking through this with her daughter.”

After leaving her, I started thinking about how music can be such a bond between us as humans. How it can affect us on SO many levels all at once. How music has such magnificent “connecting powers.”. That it can draw two strangers together so they can help “bear one another’s burdens” in a time of crisis. What we think is a simple act, God can use to do a thousand things!

I am not a preacher, but I also thought about the fact that isn’t it incredible that God can take music and turn it into a sermon that someone needed to hear.