December 16, 2010
Week 3, Day 5: Amnesia
Tonight, I'm suffering from a bit of amnesia.
Between 11 a.m. and noon today I had a medical procedure that did not require full anesthesia, but would have been uncomfortable to endure awake. So I underwent what is commonly known as "conscious sedation."
For a good 30 minutes of that time, I was actually asleep. I didn't hear the doctors discussing tools and techniques. I didn't see the bright lights overhead. I didn't feel the cold air touch my skin beneath the paper thin medical gown.
For another 30 minutes of that time, however, I was awake but can't remember. I apparently made a devil's deal with my anesthesiologist in which I divulged my mothers's maiden name. I awoke in the recovery room sipping a near empty cup of Sprite, asking, "Did I drink this?" And my first words to my mom when she saw me after the procedure were not, "How did it go?" or "Did you have to wait long?" Instead, I said to her very determinedly, "Remember the color purple in case I forget."
Fortunately, I was never asked to recall such information.
The beauty of having such a procedure at the surgery center where I was seen, however, is that this was not their first rodeo. They know patients will say and do all kinds of things they won't remember and may regret. So they have a hard and fast rule for people like me who come there: you cannot leave alone. Someone else must sign for you, drive for you, and make decisions for you.
Until the effects of the drugs wore off, I couldn't be trusted alone.
I have felt a similar dependence this Advent season.
Often, I am alone with my thoughts and my spirituality, and if I happen to receive an extra large dose of worldliness or sin, I often say and do things I won't remember later or will at least regret.
That's why Jesus doesn't want us awaiting His return by ourselves. Until the effects of this world wear off, we can't be trusted alone. So He left us His Spirit. But he also left us each other. When we are especially vulnerable, he calls on us to sign for each other.
This Advent season has afforded me an especialy strong sense of community and reliance on others. From the first Sunday when I kicked off my church's Advent observance with a reading and then lit candles and ate soup with friends that night, to the daily connecting with others in the blogosphere over their Advent thoughts: I have not felt alone. And I hope you haven't either.
When Jesus does come again, may he find us waiting. Together.
And in case I forget, remember the color purple.
By the way, many of you know that I am a cancer survivor, and vague references to "medical procedures" may cause you to worry. No need, my friend. Today's medical procedure was a rather awkward and embarrassing-to-mention colonoscopy that was merely precautionary. The results were completely normal. Though I believe the entire medical community is still reticent to use the world "normal" when describing me. Thanks for your concern!
Today's Bible Reading
More Advent Links . . .
Jennifer Lee's It's Not Too Late to Start Advent
More of LL's Twelve Poems of Christmas. This one? It's a Pronoun Christmas
Ted Gossard's When the Time Had Come
Ann Voskamp's How to Wait for Christmas
I am also writing today in community with Bonnie Gray for her Thursday Faith Barista Jam. Follow the button below to see what others are writing about "Unwrapping Jesus."