Good defined (n), “profit or advantage; worth; benefit.”

Defining good.

It’s taken me quite awhile to finally process the past few months and actually write this. “Alot” has occurred since August, when my mom was first diagnosed with a brain tumor and scheduled for surgery. Haunted with memories of my dear Brooke’s journey through brain surgery, the entire ordeal seemed like a very bad case of deja vu. We made our way, and thought everything was behind us. Onward to normalcy. Or so we thought.

Defining good.

The day after Christmas 2012 will forever be marked in my memory. It had been a different holiday–just five of us this year: Rob, me, Brooke, Grant, and GMA (my mom). After six weeks of hospitalization/rehab/post-brain surgery, GMA walked up the stairs of our home. It was a glorious moment. Unaccustomed to a “small” gathering on a holiday, Christmas felt a little strange. Typically, our house is the center of holiday activities, with days of cooking and washing dishes, and doing it all over again. But, this year, it was relaxed, for a change, which felt very uncomfortable, honestly. We kept trying to fill it with this and that, but something inside of me said, “Rest. You’ve been through quite alot these past few months. Take advantage of this quiet opportunity to regain some strength.”

Hindsight lets us in on a little secret…we would need the rest.

Be careful what you pray for.

The morning after Christmas, I woke up, kneeled beside my bed and actually prayed, “Lord, something good today would be real nice.” This isn’t a typical prayer for me, but I was exhausted and spent. All I really wanted was a little break from life.  After a quick bite, I went to the gym: cycling and yoga, the normal routine. I always felt better after a good workout.

Defining good.

It was a miserable morning. A nor’easter had set in. As I made my way home, I remembered the house would be quiet. With both Brooke and Grant working, I would have some time to myself. Ahhh! Sweet relief. I was prepared to nestle in my lazy boy for the afternoon, watch a movie, and eat a quiet lunch. Ahhhh, rest.

Just as I finished my lunch, I saw my cell ringing.

“Grandma Calling,” it read. Not sure why I have “Grandma” instead of “Mom” but nevertheless, her ringtone, “Lord of the Dance,” rang out!

Hesitating momentarily, I initially thought, “I’ll call her right back after I finish eating.” But, then, prompted by God, I presume, I answered.

At that second, the dreaded memory of a repetitive television commercial began playing out. My mother had fallen in her apartment and couldn’t get up.

Through mumbled sobs, she cried out, “I’ve fallen. I’ve fallen. I’ve fallen.”

As I raced down the road, hazard flashers going, I ran through every red light to get to her. I heard sirens and then saw the firetruck turning into her apartment complex.

Watching it turn, I remembered my morning prayer. Once again, I cried out, “Lord, is this your idea of good? Really? Because this is not what I had in mind.”

The blustery day with its’ frigid cold, harsh rain reflected the interior of my heart. Drained from the last 4 months of life, I wasn’t happy.

When my idea of good collided with God’s idea of good.

Defining good.

But, on December 26, 2012, at 1:10 in the afternoon, God redefined what “good” really means. My idea of good and his idea of good collided, head on.

As the rest of the day unfolded, this is what “good” looked like for me:

  • The EMT’s and fireman were astoundingly kind and careful with my Mom. They calmed me and lightened the load.
  • Maryview Emergency Services/Room immediately took her back and began medical treatment. The nurses guided me with excellent advice.
  • The best orthopedic surgeon was “on call” and surgery took place within hours.
  • A dear old friend, Joyce, was on duty in the surgical prep/recovery room. Joyce had been the nurse on duty when my mother-in-law was in ICU, way back in 1997. When I walked in and saw her, I hugged her until she couldn’t breathe. She sat with me, explained everything clearly, and was with me through the entire ordeal.
  • The hospital chapel provided solace, comfort, and space to breathe.
  • The words written on the hospital wall seemed to unveil secret messages of hope and cheer.
  • For the words of a beautiful poem, penned by a dear friend of my mom’s, Patti (see below).

Defining good.

Be willing to learn from God.

I don’t think I’ll ever hear the word “good” without remembering this daunting day. Isaiah 55:9 captures the essence of it all:

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

You see, when we give our lives to serving Christ, his ways are so often not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts. He is so much wiser than we are. I asked for “something good” and in his wisdom,

it seems he gave it to me.

Like giving a child vegetables, when they want an ice-cream sundae.

Good defined (n), means “profit or advantage; worth; benefit.” Vegetables are far more beneficial than ice-cream.

Has God ever sent a “redefining good” circumstance or situation into your life? If so, what, if any, lessons did you learn? How did you handle the disappointment or frustration of it all? I sure would love to “benefit” from your wisdom. Please share with us all.

P.S. It’s now almost 3 months since that dreary day in December and I’m still learning. Mom is recovering. It’s been an uphill battle, but she’s giving it her best shot.

When God redefines good

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