Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Laser Treatment that Didn't Happen

Several folks have asked how Judah's laser treatment went on Friday. In short, it didn't. Here's an excerpt from my journal about the situation at Hopkins written the next morning:

Once at Hopkins, we were told authorization was not gotten for this treatment. They tried calling the girl in charge of acquiring that for us, but of course she wasn't answering her phone. It turned out that George, our nurse, tried reaching her, came out and spoke with me to try to work something out. I got on the phone with Lawrence's insurance broker from work, Sharon. LA pulled his PR guy, Keith, in on it, too. What it came down to (as far as I can tell) is that Nicole (from Hopkins) didn't do her job. I gave her the information she needed a week ago and asked her to call me back if she continued having problems with our insurance. She never called me back. So, I assumed she did her job and authorization was received---wrong assumption.

It was very upsetting. Judah had been given Benadryl which I think was semi-sedating him as he was farely patient through it all. But, it was upsetting to me that he had his numbing cream on as long as he did, that we ventured down there, went through the emotional stress of it all, arranged for a sitter, etc.---only to be turned away because someone didn't do her job.

Well, on the phone with Lawrence I gave full vent to my anger, declaring all the ways I was going to "let Nicole have it" for putting us out. I was quickly convicted over the poor example of humility I had been to my son who quietly witnessed my interactions with the staff at Hopkins, my frustration and exasperated tone of voice, my sense of despair when we realized the laser treatment wouldn't happen and finally, my anger.

I knew I would be instructing my son to do otherwise if he was the one facing a similar situation. More importantly I knew I was valuing something of earth over the things God values--that being gracious speech, humility, gentleness. Philippians 4 says, "let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near..." I became convinceted that I wanted what I wanted in that moment more than what God wanted.

Stopping to pray and ask for forgiveness both from God and Judah ushered in grace to begin to view the circumstances a little differently--with more humility, recognizing the possibility that I didn't have the full picture or all the information playing into what happened and even if I had, was I going to demand my rights, make them pay for inconveniencing me so or choose God's priority for me to be light in darkness by remaining calm, peaceable, gentle and humble?

Well since then, I have wrestled with my heart quite a bit not only to know what is wise but also what would glorify God. I don't want to be a doormat about the situation and not hold anyone accountable for what happened. But, I don't want to demand recompense (well, I do but am feeling as though that might not glorify God).

Living in America clouds this issue quite a bit for me. I know I am influenced by my culture that is always aware and pursuing one's rights. Where do I stand on this? God, how do you want me to respond? Where do you want me to stand? Teach me wisdom AND grace. teach me, show me how to be humble and wise--looking out for my family, protecting them and providing for them while remaining dependent on You and humble before others.

Proverbs 12--
v.15 The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.
v. 16 A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
v.20 There is ... joy for those who promote peace.

Later on during the day on Saturday, I started listening to a message by John Piper, a biographical sketch of sorts of the life of Charles Simeon. He entitled his message, "Brothers, We Must Not Mind a Little Suffering." In his introduction, Piper writes,

I need very much this inspiration from another age, because I know that I am, in great measure, a child of my times. And one of the pervasive marks of our times is emotional fragility. I feel it as though it hung in the air we breathe. We are easily hurt. We pout and mope easily. We break easily. Our marriages break easily. Our faith breaks easily. Our happiness breaks easily. And our commitment to the church breaks easily. We are easily disheartened, and it seems we have little capacity for surviving and thriving in the face of criticism and opposition.

When historians list the character traits of the last third of twentieth century America, commitment, constancy, tenacity, endurance, patience, resolve and perseverance will not be on the list. The list will begin with an all-consuming interest in self-esteem. It will be followed by the subheadings of self-assertiveness, and self-enhancement, and self-realization.

We need help here. When you are surrounded by a society of emotionally fragile quitters, and when you see a good bit of this ethos in yourself, you need to spend time with people – whether dead of alive – whose lives prove there is another way to live. Scripture says, "Be imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Hebrews 6:12).

This proved to be instructive and very helpful to me in my wrestling over this situation at Hopkins. I know the inconvenience I faced on Friday was just inconvenience, not a major trial; although I responded that way! I do want to help my children learn as I learn that God does not promise us sunshine and roses all the days of our lives. We will go through life being at least inconvenienced by others, at worst, sinfully wronged by others. I want to teach my children again as I learn myself that God provides HIS way through these situations and it's not the knee jerk reaction to self assert and self protect. It's to "allow my gentleness to be evident to all for the Lord is near." The Lord will assert Himself as my protector and defender and as I step aside, He will receive more glory.


By Saturday night, I had moved on from the situation at Hopkins to take care of more pressing matters in our home: that of the stomach bug! Two of our three kids were throwing up Saturday night, and we are now at home spraying Lysol, doing lots of laundry and praying the rest of us manage somehow to stay healthy!


zz said...

Briana, I am learning from you how to do business with my heart. YOu really put it into practice. I"m nowhere near as humble before my kids as you. I still tend to justify my annoyance/irriation/anger especially if I have paid for a convenience or a job to be done. I don't think you'd be wrong to call Nicole and ask her (when you are really settled down) if she called for approval, how many times, and what she was told. Perhaps she herself was having such a bad week that her mind wasn't on her job. It happens. I seldom assume the best of people but I want them to assume the best of me. So that's why I believe God is allowing me to experience one mini-suffering after another so that I'll be able to recognize a really big trial when it hits. Just today I was home from church doing a continued study on anger. These same verses you mentioned came into it.

Leanne said...

God has shown me of late that I don't always know everything I thought was obvious! I was sure one coworker reveled in making my life difficult. Turns out that she was going through some pretty unbearable circumstances - both at work and away from work - over those 2 years. I had no idea. Does it excuse the way she treated me, time and time again? No, not really. But God showed me how far a bit of kindness can go to someone who, in our minds, does not deserve it in the least.

I'm definitely not about to tell you how to handle your specific situation, but I feel confident that God will provide peace about the path He desires for you to take.

Danielle said...

I was wonderin' where you all were on Sunday. Sorry to hear you were sick. Hope you're on the mend now! Will be praying you all get well and the Lord will give wisdom how to handle the situation.