As the nurse wheeled me down the long and lonely corridor and through the locked doors of that ward, I felt hopeless and humiliated. But after coming to the end of myself, I see how the church and the psych ward have several similarities and benefits.
The past year was exhausting for Lindsey and me. We needed some space to breathe. In the words of the old song, we felt broken and spilled out, and the last thing we needed to do was to pour out more of ourselves in this moment. When we first returned to our old church, the youth minister said, “We’re so glad you’re here. For now, just rest. Let us know when you’re ready to get involved.” I was skeptical when I heard it. This church has a strong creative arts focus, full of many talented people, who also knew of my talents, so I held my breath, wondering how long it would be before someone asked me to serve.
As the nurse wheeled me down the long and lonely corridor and through the locked doors of that ward, I felt hopeless and humiliated. But on the other side, I found help for my anxieties, rest for my soul, and practical ways to walk toward my new life. On my own, without the hope Christ brings, I also find myself at the end of the rope, but in the context of healthy community, wrestling alongside others who have their own burdens to bear, I know I can keep going.
Do you remember the iconic scene from Forrest Gump, when Forrest tells the woman on the bench next to him, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.” At 25, I had my entire life planned out. Whom I would marry, how many children I would have, my career, the car I would drive, the places I would travel. It was glorious. I thought I would only pick the chocolates I liked.
Cancer upended it all. In the ugly packaging of cancer came my greatest joy.