Feeling blessed…

Chelsea, Michigan.

Population 4,400. Home of Jiffy Mix, the Purple Rose theatre (funded by actor Jeff Daniels), and MHNI (Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute)….which is why I am here in Chelsea.

I’m staying at an inn on the campus of Chelsea Community Hospital, waiting to hear if today is the day I will be admitted. Being a nationally renowned program, the waiting list is long, availability of admittance is limited and based greatly on immediate need. And believe me, I am extremely grateful that I was not admitted on Monday. There is something to be said about not being first!

When Jim and I arrived at the clinic on Monday, it was apparent that we were at the right place. Located in Ann Arbor, it was a quiet, unassuming building. But upon entering, the difference in this and other places I have been was immediate. The lights were low and in one waiting room, off the main room, there were no lights on at all. Everyone spoke quietly, but with great compassion. There was a bar set up with coffee, tea and water. The artwork was all very calming and serene.

The first thing we did, after they drew blood work, was to meet in a small conference room with the other new patients and family members. A RN went through what we should expect that day and what would happen if we were admitted into the hospital program. She was very knowledgeable and answered everyone’s questions.

Afterwards, I met with another RN who did an in-depth study of my headache history, which began in high school. After gathering information and reviewing test results from my other neurologist, she left to consult with the neurologist that I would meet with. The two of them returned and went through my history again, from the beginning. It’s amazing how many things you forget over the years and how talking about it several times helps you remember more and more details.

Dr. Prestegaard is the first person I’ve seen since all of this began a little over a year ago, that recognizes, as I do, that I have two separate headache issues that are ongoing. By the end of our visit that day, the decision was made for me to enter into the program. After seeing the state that some of the other patients were in, I indeed felt honored and blessed.

Jim and I moved from our hotel in Ann Arbor to the White Oak Inn, in Chelsea. Driving in, it reminded me of New Harmony. I’m looking out the window just now at two deer coming through the woods. How precious is that! What a gift!! God certainly is making sure I feel comfortable here!

I am reminded of another time that God sent me a deer. It was on a Walk to Emmaus weekend. I was the lay director and Doug Heiman, now my pastor, was the head spiritual director. We were having some issues with team members that weren’t getting along, and after the latest “crisis” that was overheard by some of the pilgrims (those attending the walk), Doug suggested I go for a walk, to regroup.

I headed out the back, behind the kitchen and headed down the road. I was fuming. I was really letting God have it! Why couldn’t these team members get along? What was so important that it had to interrupt the pilgrims’  weekend? I must have walked (stomped), throwing my fit for about ten minutes, when I heard a snort. I stopped and looked and in the clearing beside the road stood a majestic eight point buck! He stood still and stared at me as I stared at him. We must have stood that way for two or three minutes. Finally, he shook his head at me, snorted again and turned to walk back into the woods. I sank to my knees, feeling very chastised, and prayed to God to forgive me. Where was my compassion??

You know, the other day I mentioned the story of Jesus raising the widow’s son from the dead. What he could not do for his own mother…to keep her from the suffering that was to come…he did with great compassion for this stranger.

Compassion for others is like a balm that is applied to a wound. It usually doesn’t heal the wound, but it can bring some relief and give hope of the healing that God can provide.

Praise the LORD. 
       I will extol the LORD with all my heart
       in the council of the upright and in the assembly.

 Great are the works of the LORD;
       they are pondered by all who delight in them.

Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
       and his righteousness endures forever.

 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
       the LORD is gracious and compassionate.  –Psalm 111:1-4

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