1:4~The Dark Night
The day following brain surgery, I continued to take stock of my condition. I had lost all hearing in my left ear. My left eyeball was catawampus…with the pupil turned toward my nose. I saw two of everything unless I closed one eye. I could still hear my breathing twice for each breath I drew. I could barely walk. It had not occurred to me that the effects from brain surgery would be so much worse than the symptoms of having a brain tumor in the first place.
On top of that, I now had terrible tinnitus. The high pitched squeal had me on edge and I would wonder if I would end up taking my own life before it got better. I was on powerful steroids as my neurosurgeon attempted to stem the swelling that had destroyed the hearing in my left ear. But a vivid dream kept feeding me hope. Each time I fell asleep, the dream continued.
I saw myself on a large stage. Blue velvet drapes cascaded from the top of the auditorium and skimmed the floor behind me. An audience filled with thousands of women sat quietly, waiting for my next words. I heard a slight rustle as they shifted in their seats. Electricity seemed to permeate the very air around me. It was heavy with the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the dream, my words quenched thirsty hearts, hurting souls. I regaled the large audience with tales of what God had done; how he had rescued me from the serious mental illness I suffered in my twenties and the trauma that had marked my life like the scars on my wrists. These women needed to hear these words. They were words of life.
The women leaned forward in their seats as I explained how, now, God had saved my life after I was diagnosed with an “inoperable” brain tumor. Women were being healed right there in the auditorium as I spoke. It made what I was suffering worth it all.
The beeping of the heart monitor tickled at the edges of consciousness until I woke up once again. I had brain surgery! I still couldn’t believe it. This was the stuff that other people went through. I thought I had filled my quota for tragedy.
I was laying half in and half out of the hospital bed, my legs dangling off the bottom of the mattress. The head of the bed was raised to help quell the swelling of my brain and as I slept, my hips slid low. I seemed to have lost the ability to move the lower half of my body. Every hour or two, a couple of nurses tag-teamed and came in to pull on the sheet underneath me to raise me up again. I was helpless as a newborn.
My head felt like a watermelon, ready to burst. I felt around at the bandage, and found Frankenstein staples at the base of my head, behind my left ear. Panic buzzed around my head like a swarm of bees. But this is a miracle, I told myself. There is nothing to fear. I pushed the button for a nurse but fell asleep before she arrived. The dream began again. I was on stage in front of thousands of women…
The steroid-fueled dreams were my lifeline, and I hung onto the message I believed I heard in them. “What I am going through has purpose,” I thought.
I thought back to others parts of the message my friend had sent right before my shoulder surgery (See 1:3). I couldn’t believe how apropos those words seemed now that I was here, lying helpless in Brotman Medical Center.
*Seek Me above all. Feel after Me when your sight and hearing are gone. Fumble toward Me if you must but move TOWARD ME…not away…when your peace is gone, when the joy is gone, when all that seems left is your breathing…”
I was astounded. I am a logical, thinking person. I do not give in easily to things that do not follow rules or make sense. I thought about the mathematical possibility of these words being coincidence. The odds were not in favor of that explanation. My faith that my Creator had saved my life for a purpose infused and inspired everything I would do for the next several years. It was a very dark time. Recovery was more difficult than I imagined, and there were times I wondered if I would make it through it all. But I had those words…and the words gave me hope. And the hope gave me life.
But hope that is seen is no hope at all. For who hopes for what they already have? Romans 8:24b.
*Copyright © 1989 by Lucy Brown. “Through the Dark Night” is from Oh Gracious Love by Lucy Brown. Copyright © 1993 by Lucy Brown. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Cedargarden Springs Press, 204 Lexington Lane, Clinton, Tennessee 37716