I’m lying propped up in a dimly lit room, curtained off from the other occupant. Lifting heavy eyelids, I see there’s a man seated beside me.
Oh, right, it’s my husband. He’s been here the whole time they worked on me. I went under the knife around 10 a.m., so I think it’s maybe eleven-thirty. I ask what time it is.
“Two o’clock,” Scott says.
Wait, what? I have no recollection of the recovery room. At all.
This whole experience has been bizarre.
First, the dawning realization that I’d need to get my hip joint replaced. Then the steps of preparation and planning. Get ahead at the office, plan to work from home for a while – check. Get ahead with schoolwork – check. Get medical equipment – check.
Finally, the mental push to jump off this high dive before I change my mind and climb back down the ladder (I’m a medical wimp).
So here I am, and it’s done. I’m the Bionic Woman. Boom.
Recuperating at home, I recognize there’s more to healing than what’s happening in my body (although that’s the only part everyone talks about).
How’s recovery? How’s your hip? Getting around okay?
Thankfully, that’s all good. I’m healing up well and should get back into the swing of things quickly.
But how am I really? That’s another question entirely.
Truth is, I just experienced significant trauma. Doctors sliced open my leg, sawed through my bones, hammered a piece of titanium into my femur, then sewed me back up.
Sure, it was all under anesthesia, but it’s a big deal—and my body knows exactly what happened. For the ultimate sake of its healthy function, my body suffered a type of necessary violence against it.
I didn’t see what happened. I didn’t feel it at the time. But I feel so very vulnerable.
When the surgeon’s scalpel made that six-inch incision on my hip, it opened more than just my flesh. It opened a portal to another dimension, spiritually speaking.
Being cut open transported me to what the ancient Celts called a “thin place”—a veil where earth and heaven meet. Where revelation comes easily.
Through this portal of pain, I see the cross of Christ a little more clearly.
My body is wounded, my soul raw and tender. I’m overwhelmed by all the suffering around me.
A man requesting prayer for his wife’s brain tumors. Friends with chronic health concerns. The local guy whose brother just died.
So many reasons to weep. We are small. Life is hard.
But also, beautiful.
A couple finds their lost little boy. Newly born twins reach out to grasp each other’s hands. Two people disagree on social media with respectful kindness.
Such things, too, sting the eyes with tears.
On our difficult journey, we need the help and comfort of our Good Shepherd. We need each other’s empathy.
Human fragility and pain and vulnerability are not realities which most of us are comfortable discussing. We’d rather help with something practical or share the perfect Bible verse. We’d rather stay busy, our drug of choice.
But the thin place offers more.
There, the upside-down turns right-side-up. Weakness is strength, trials are treasure, sorrow turns to joy. There, awareness of human mortality is a gift, transforming our perspective.
There, we encounter One who suffered a necessary violence, not for the sake of his own healing, but for ours.
Jesus let the weight of our sins crush him. He was pierced, hammered and hung without so much as a sip of sour wine for the pain. He fully entered human suffering. He understands our fragile nature, our limitations, our wounds and scars, like no one else.
He invites us to walk with him through this hard life, not to escape pain, but to gain the strength, joy and beauty he provides along the way.
He warns us the way is narrow, that persecution will come. He makes no promises of a trouble-free life.
But he gives us himself, and he is enough.
May I encourage you? Don’t fear the thin place.
It’s a glimpse into heaven.