How am I doing after my eye surgery ? I’m keeping my eyes fixed on the goal of better vision.
It’s been a rough recovery. Not complaining, just reporting. In a recent blog, I told how quoting a number of bible verses helped endure the initial surgery. In some respects, the recovery has been equally if not more difficult. During the surgery under local anesthesia, the retina specialist gave me the hope I needed to pull me through the rougher days.
He told me he found and took liberties to repair more than the torn retina. I was born with congenital cataracts in the olden days when doctors thought removing cataracts from a baby’s eyes would pull out the entire eyeball. Over eight childhood surgeries, doctors did a “couching” procedure where the cataract was stirred up with a needle. They hoped the cataract would dissolve on its own. Instead, surgeries left my eyes with a debris field of lens fragments and a mangled, tiny pupil in my left eye. The surgeon was able to clean out the debris and enlarge the pupil. “I’m normally cautious and don’t like to give people false hope,” he told me during the surgery. “But I think I can guarantee that you will have better vision than you have ever had.”
After my surgery , I must heard three different health professionals tell me, “Do what you are told and you will see better.” Part of retina surgery involves insertion of a gas bubble that seals the retina, giving it time to heal. The patient must lay face down—I my case, a quarter turn to the right—for at least a week, until the bubble dissolve and the natural fluids of the eye replenish. If a patient with a torn retina wants to have restored vision, they have to do this–to the letter.I was sent home with instructions to lay on my right side, nose down, 80% of the time for an entire week and to do nothing. Don’t lift anything. Don’t bend, don’t read, no computer. Nothing. After one week, the face down restriction was lifted but still do nothing. If you do what you are told, your vision will get better.
I will be honest. The extended surgery done under local anesthesia was a test in endurance in and of itself.. Recovery was uncomfortable, painful and tedious. Just when I thought I was going to be freed from “jail” as I called my do-nothing restrictions, my eye pressure spiked and inflammation flared because my fragile eye protested being messed with. Sutures designed to dissolve had a mind of their own and waved horse hair like fragments across my nerve studded cornea. A parade of church folk came to stay with me while my husband was at work. They brought food, flowers, cookies and conversation to fill my hours and after two weeks, I stumbled to church, clutching my husband’s arm. I swallowed my pride at church people having to see me disheveled, weak, and helpless.
Friends were more than compassionate. They lamented how difficult it must be and wondered how I could stand it. Ah! Every time I was about to throw my doughnut shaped pillow across the room or swipe my array of eye drop bottles into the trash, I thought about the joy set before me – the joy of improved sight. I lay awake at night, trying to imagine—what will I be able to see? Haven’t I longerd for better vision all my life? Wasn’t it worth a few days–weeks, months–more to have that improved vision I’ve longed for? Yes! It was worth it.
Was it tough for Jesus? Unimaginable. Did he ever want to give up? “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done (Mt 26:42).” Why did He do it? Because it was worth it. His end result was so much greater than my promise of renewed sight. Endure the cross and the human race We love is set free, the Father must have whispered, and then you will join me In Heaven’s throne room. The end result was worth the struggle. The gain was worth the pain.
My friend, Nancy, understands this too. A veteran Sunday School teacher, Nancy has endured the rebellion and disrespect of many children. She’s been ignored, disobeyed, yelled at, and kicked in the shin. She’s watched kids walk out her Sunday School classroom and wondered if they were taking anything with them that she had taught them. “It’s odd,” she told me recently. “It’s the children who gave me the most trouble that reconnect with me years later to let me know how they’re doing.” The gain was worth the pain.
My international prayer partner understands this too. Ministering in a restricted country, he told me how he and other church leaders have bible students lay on the floorboards of a car so they can sneak them into a compound where they can train them to be church leaders. His wife runs church camp programs for children under the nose of the authorities who have outlawed child evangelism. “It’s very dangerous,” my friend told me. “But it’s worth it.”
Fixing our eyes on the end goal gives us the tenacity to overcome the pain and the embarrassment of the moment. The Author of our faith chose to endure horrific pain and disgrace so He could give us a better life. We were worth it. He valued our relationship with His Father so much, He would do whatever it took to get us home. No matter what struggle we face, no matter how we might suffer because of our faith in Christ, we can get through if we look over the top of the current, temporary struggle to the glorified person of Christ, waiting to give us our reward at Heaven’s gate.
Jesus made it through. So can we.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Cor 4:17).”
The gain is worth the pain.
What have you endured to gain a greater good? Tell us about it.