Cape Gazette
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The Operating Table of Life....

By William Singleton | Nov 13, 2012

 

Sitting in the surgery's waiting room, my imagination kicks into overdrive. My mind wrestles with the utter and complete lack of control I have to influence, the outcome of my wife's surgery. My behaviors fluctuates between finding distraction and remembering to breathe, as I check in on Facebook giving updates about her progress. The estimated two hours of surgery crawled at a snail's pace to five when the nurse finally came to explain there had been some complications with bleeding, but she was going to be ok. You would think I would've immediately started breathing, letting go of the noose of anxiety that was asphyxiating me, but I was wary of what was waiting around the corner. The doctors assured me that things looked good and that in the days to come, it would be about her recovery. My gut clenched involuntarily fearful to relax wondering if it's really over...

 

The waiting room is the worst place to be for the family or friends of a loved one fighting for their life, but the hospital isn't the only place people will find themselves sitting with expectation and trepidation. The wives, husbands, daughters, and sons have all come through my office and other treatment facilities daring to hope one more time that their loved one would, through therapeutic surgery, remove the cancer of their issues. Depression, anger, addiction whatever the choice of self-destruction a person uses, demoralizes the spirit of our loved ones, as it poisons our mind and body.

 

The psychological surgeon can be brilliant identifying the issue and extracting the tumor in our soul. Slicing with laser precision, using instruments and techniques developed, the surgeon removes the corrupt behaviors grown over many years of self-neglect. The pain of watching someone destroy themselves endangers our ability to be sensitive to the plight of the person exhausting our compassion. Watching adults struggle with chronic illness and addiction passed on through generations or adopted by choice, they are still victims of terrible circumstances. We often look for blame in response to the lack of control that exists so that we can stop the person we care about from killing themselves. Rolling through a mixture of emotions, I often see people try to amputate the part of them that cares, because it hurts too much to witness the ongoing battle on the operating table of life.

 

I battle those feelings myself and admit it would be so much easier not to care, not to connect, not to hope or dream with people that walk into my office. Some stories I hear from clients hit so close to home I want to wear kevlar around my heart to prevent penetration. The repetition of relapses can jade even the Pope over time, but what keeps me honest and open to continue believing is the fact that every person that walks through my door is someone's precious child.  Someone's son or daughter. They are just children of addiction, depression, or self-loathing wearing adult clothes scared that the world no longer cares about them because they've been bad...

 

But a child who gets lost in the woods isn't bad; he or she just made a wrong turn and couldn't find their way back home. We live in a nation that is at risk, not for addictions and mental dysfunction, but instead we are at risk for losing our compassion for the person right next to us... Encouragement and compassion shouldn't be an option within our communities. Forgiveness, love and laughter are more precious than gold and yet still don't cost a thing, for we have one life to live and the recovery is just the beginning...

 

Dedicated to the Nurses and Doctors at BeeBe hospital who took care of Arthur and Claire Sweeney's child, my wife, showing her compassion when she needed it the most.

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