I’ve been trying to seek out one thing in this experience (when I’m not seeking bland things like the next round of pain meds). You might call it love, or joy — really, just an experience of God in the circumstances I’m in, an experience that goes beyond staples that catch on the collar of my shirt and paper gowns that don’t quite fasten in the back.

You’d think love would be abundantly easy to find, and it probably would be for a better person than me, and it is, in flashes. When my dad walks into my hospital room and sees me eating Jello on my own and smiles to split the moon, when I hear that my two-year-old class at church made me a get-well banner, when my baby cousins tell me to feel better, the love comes easy and quick.

But for me, with my heart the way it is (fallen, human, dirty, in a way I can’t overstate)…I have a hard time. A hard time realizing I’m not my nurses’ only patient. Not letting my medicine metabolize into annoyance with the family sitting behind me at my brother’s guitar concert. Being kind and patient with my family, recognizing the sacrifices they’ve made. I give in too easily to self-righteousness; I forgive myself far too much, with the tumor as my all-purpose excuse.

But I want to love that way in the little moments, the annoying moments…to recognize the holiness in everyone around me, holy in that they were made by God. To me, that’s an essential tenet of this mystery we believe. You can’t believe in God and not believe in people, too.

And I want to see holiness in my life. Laughing with my mom while we wait in the ER. Making sugar cookies from scratch. Picking up my brother from school. I want to live a life drenched in gratitude and recognize these things for what they are: Not accidents, but gifts.

God, fill me up with that. Give me strength to see past my smallness.

–How You Can Pray–

We had a small scare on Sunday night. My face swelled up pretty big (way more than it was supposed to five days after surgery) and the doctor on call at my neurosurgeon’s office advised us to go to the local ER. It turned out the swelling was caused by a superficial hematoma, not bleeding in the brain — good news! Mom & I both commented later that we could feel the relief physically flow through us the second we got the word. So, please pray that the swelling continues to stay down, and pray for some pain relief, because the sting is a little more persistent this time.