Tag Archive | surgery

Open-Heart Surgery

This post is a part of my 10-Minute Tuesday series. I use a one-word prompt provided by a friend and write for just 10 minutes without heavy editing and see what I come up with. Today’s prompt is “surgery.”

In the evenings, my family is reading out loud the classic At Home in Mitford by Jan Caron. Yesterday’s reading including a scene where Hoppy Harper, the town doctor, was telling Father Tim, the main character in the stories, how it was when his wife died several years before.



“I’ve been away from church so long . . . so long away from . . . believing.” Hoppy leaned against the wall, avoiding the rector’s gaze. “I’ve been very angry with God.”

“I understand.”

“He operated without anesthetic.”

He looked at the man who had lost his wife of sixteen years, and saw the sure mark that bitterness and overwork had left. Yet, something tonight was easier in him.

At Home In Mitford by Jan Karon, p. 148



Loss can feel that way, like surgery without anesthetic. Hoppy’s wife had died of cancer, and he wasn’t really ready for it. And it hurt.

A lot.

It was a good analogy for the town doctor to describe the pain he felt.

People in the medical profession know that deep infections have to be cut out in order for healing to happen. If there is an abscess, work will need to be done. A gangrened limb has to be cut off. It’s really better to get these things taken care of before such dire measures are needed.

Likewise, God will perform surgery on our hearts whenever there’s something that needs to be cut out: idolatry, envy, covetousness. But He can also pry open our closed hearts if we aren’t letting ourselves be known by others.

We were created to live in community, and if we’re not experiencing authentic community, God may need to get our attention to let us know that we’re holding ourselves back.

Just having friends isn’t enough. We need to be willing to open up ourselves, to be real, to be known, to be authentic. If we don’t do this ourselves, we might find ourselves experiencing depression or extreme loneliness. It’s not healthy for our hearts to hide themselves.

There’s also a scene in C.S. Lewis’ The Dawn Treader where the boy Eustace, who has been turned into a dragon because of his greed and generally obnoxious personality, has an encounter with the lion, Aslan. In order to be turned back into a real boy, Eustace has to undergo a type of surgery.



After several attempts to free himself from the terrible dragon scales, Eustace hears Aslan say,

“You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know—if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”

“I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund.

“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off—just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt—and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me—I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on—and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I had turned into a boy again.”

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis, pp 90-91.

Our scaly hearts need God’s attention. And He won’t always use anesthetic. But we can be assured that the outcome will be worth it.

Ezekiel 33:26: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (New International Version).



Today, I took my two teenagers in to their pediatrician for their annual well-check. Seeing as how Justin now is taller than his doctor, it was an interesting experience. We’ve had the same doctor since Justin was born, and we love him. But I know eventually we will have to move on.

I remember the interview we did with him when I was pregnant. I remember Justin’s induced birth and bout with pneumathorax immediately after, and his brief stay in the NICU where we dubbed him “Bubba” because he was so much larger than any of the other babies in there. I remember our rush to the emergency room when Justin was 6 months old and had his first scare with his milk allergy. And the stitches in his head when he fell on the coffee table. And the stitches near his eye when he was pretending to be blind and walked into the edge of a bookcase. And his surgery where the meds they gave him beforehand made him act drunk. And the rush to the hospital when he had his first asthma attack. Dr. Didea talked us through it all, even if he couldn’t be there to do the fixing himself.

And I remember Nathan’s uneventful birth. Three hours and done. No scary NICU or anything. It was smooth sailing. And I remember how Justin loved him when we brought him home. When we finally moved Nathan into Justin’s room once Nathan was sleeping through the night, every little noise he made had Justin yelling for us: “Nathan’s crying! Nathan’s crying!” Then there was the staples for Nathan after Justin threw a broken piece of asphalt in the air and it landed on Nathan’s head. Back to see Dr. Didea.

The boys have always shared a room, but not always happily. I have stuck to my guns on this issue because I believed it would make them better friends, better people, better roommates, better spouses. Do they still argue? Absolutely. Do they drive each other crazy? You bet. But who is the first one they look for when they want to show someone something cool they’ve discovered? Their brother.

It is my fervent desire that they be the best of friends as they grow up. They are two very different personalities: Justin is into guns; Nathan loves swords and knives. Justin is a go-getter, seemingly not afraid of anything; Nathan hangs back a bit to see how things play out. Justin is driven; Nathan is laid back. Nothing wrong with either of those personalities and they both have much they can offer each other. As they mature, I see them respecting each other more. That is a wonderful thing.

They are brothers; I pray they become best friends.




Thankful today for:

123. a good report

124. teaching poetry writing to 2nd graders

125. bananas