For more than twenty five years, my wife, Gracie, has been an amputee and the subject of phantom pain has often been discussed. Sometimes, amputees can feel the pain of a limb that is not there.
In kind of a “reverse phantom-limb pain,” we caregivers often feel pain—not over something no longer there, but rather something that hasn’t even happened.
We don’t see a positive end. We see it getting worse. We fret over “what will happen if …,” and we can add despair to already weary hearts over something that hasn’t occurred—or may never happen.
Years ago, a surgeon once returned to the hospital room where I waited for news on yet another surgery for Gracie—and shared with me that she had an infection in her back that would require her to stay three months in the hospital, flat on her back (raising no more than 15 degrees), AND have an operation every third day to irrigate the infection site.
Thinking about our sons, my job, Gracie, and all the things involved, my heart sunk and I mumbled, “I can’t do this for three months.”
Putting his hand on my shoulder, he said, “You’re not going to do this for three months—you’re going to do it for 24 hours. ‘Tomorrow will worry about itself.'”
I learned a lesson that day (one I have to remind myself of often!): I have enough drama, heartache, and challenges today—I don’t need to borrow any from tomorrow, three months from now, or thirty years from now. I don’t need to indulge in pain that isn’t there.
“Few of us ever live in the present. We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.” Louis L’Amour
A reporter once asked me, “How you can and Gracie be optimistic when you know what the future holds?”
Without hesitation, I answered, “Because we know what the future holds!” More importantly, we know Who holds the future.”
Resting in that doesn’t mean living fatalistically or abandoning responsible planning. Rather, it simply means doing the best I can with today, and trusting God’s provision for tomorrow.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
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