Category Archives: Safety

A Summer’s Rain by Lydia Floren

102816-a-summers-rain

[Note: I wrote this in the summer (obviously). It is the intro to a book I am writing called “Beloved Adventure.”  Hope you like it…]

It is raining outside. I am safe and dry, in our tree-house-like back porch, and it is raining. The water taps against the leaves, gurgles from the downspout.  The moist breeze brushes coolness on my face, and tickles my nose.  It rains, and I remember.

My first panic attack happened the day before I started my residency. I had struggled the first 2 years of med school, wrestling with a massive amount of material, never feeling like I mastered it very well. It finally started to make sense my last two years, and on the eve of beginning my residency, I was ready for a fresh start.  I desperately wanted to make a good impression with my new colleagues.

On that eve before my first day as a “real doctor,” I was alone, sitting on the hand-me-down couch of my new apartment.  It had started to rain, gently at first, and then with massive sheets pounding the pavement. I was fretting. Despite my prayers, my anxious thoughts multiplied. My skin broke out in a cold sweat. My heart raced. The room seemed to close in.  I felt like I was suffocating.

In my panic, I jumped up, threw open the front door, and flung myself out into the storm. And stopped. I just stood there for I don’t know how long, soaked to the skin, water dripping down my face and limbs and puddling in my shoes. At some point I remember raising my hands to the sky and declaring  “God, if You can do this – if You can make rain appear from the sky and water the earth – you can take care of me in this residency.”

As I stood there with my hands raised, God responded. He didn’t speak audibly, unless you count the drumbeat of the rain. Yet, He answered me clearly, as He settled His peace deep into my spirit, and  gently washed my fears away.

Today, many years later, I am safe and dry on my back porch.  And I am enjoying the sights and sounds of a summer shower watering the lush Wisconsin greenery.  At moments like this, when I am quiet enough to notice the rain, I smile to myself.  On that night long ago God met me at my point of need, and He has done so many times since.  Each time I reach out to Him He meets me, and answers by raining His love and mercy down on me.

In Psalm 37:25, David said “Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet, I have never seen the Godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.”  NLT

Like David, I’m older now. I have practiced medicine, married, raised a family. I’ve pulled up roots and put down new ones. I have experienced joy and pain – and yes, a few more panic attacks.

God has never left me. He has filled in the cracks of all my imperfections with His unfailing love. And I know from years of experience, that each time I step into His presence, God gently washes my fears away.

Waking Up With a Smile

8:4:16 Waking up

by Lydia Floren

“Father in heaven, when the thought of Thee wakes our hearts, let it not awaken like a  frightened bird that flies about in dismay, but like a child waking from its sleep with a heavenly smile.”  –Soren Kierkegaard

Our Heavenly Father loves us unconditionally. When we turn to God, we always have a warm welcome.  His arms are open wide. We can run into His embrace, and unburden our cares and worries, leaving them at His feet. Once we are settled and at peace, He’ll give us a big hug, tousle our head, and send us on our way with a smile.

Being in God’s presence reassures us that He is with us, and will guide us through whatever difficulty we face.

We can always turn to God with complete trust and confidence.

       When I awake, I am still with You.  Psalm 139:18

8:4:16 When I Awake

8:4:16 Every Smile

Focus

7:30:16 Focusby Lydia Floren

“O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see?”

These are the first lines of a great old hymn. Even though Helen Lemmel wrote these questions decades ago, they are relevant today, aren’t they?  Here’s what she says next:

“There’s a light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free!

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

We all feel overwhelmed at times. Lemmel simply reminds us, when we get discouraged, to take some time to focus on something—Someone—else.  As we shift our attention to Jesus, our troubles don’t disappear. They just settle into a different perspective.

Turn your eyes away from your troubles, and look at Jesus.

Listen, as He says:

I love you in the mess of your life, and day by day I’m redeeming it and setting it right. It is beautiful now, and it is becoming more beautiful. You don’t have to fix anything. You just have to rest, and follow and let me work.

Live in the present, aware of God’s loving presence. The past is redeemed. The future is secure. The present is really all you have at any given time.

Perfect love drives out fear.”  1 John 4:18

Light In the Shadow

5:5:16 Light in the ShadowLight in the Shadow

by Lydia Floren

I am slumped on a chair beside ICU bed #5. I’m trying to catch a few zzz’s after a fitful night on the waiting room couch. My loved one, tethered to her bed by a dozen tubes and wires, miraculously sleeps. The smells, the sounds, are so foreign. And frightening. Yet I nod off…

beep beep beep beep BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.

“Huh? what’s that??!!”

My eyes fly open, and turn to the bed. A heartbeat traces steadily on the
monitor overhead. Her chest rises and falls, rises and falls. I let out a breath. And then push the call button. After a few minutes the nurse steps in. She glances at her patient, and then moves over to check the IV.

Oh. OK. She’s not concerned. Must be a problem with the IV. OK, good.

“Ma’am, if you will step outside, for a few minutes, I will change the IV out, and clean her up a little bit.” Her eyes smile at me, and somehow her voice does too. I step out.

She’s so compassionate. How does she do that, surrounded day after day out by such anxious, hurting souls?

I walk down the hall. I’m anxious. Hurting. I walk and I wonder, reflecting.

There is a shadow of death in the ICU. It flickers in the eyes of the staff, wafts thru the smell of antiseptic, echos in the clangs of bed adjustments. But whether we realize it or not, we live in this shadow every day.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,”. David said.

Fear no evil? How can that be? It was not because there was lack of evil, or death in David’s world. He felt the evil. he experienced it. Yet it didn’t frighten him. He explains.
.
For you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

He did not fear because God was with him, guiding and protecting with His rod and staff.

Christ conquered death. For each of his children, death is not the end, but the transition into a brighter, more beautiful forever, one with no shadows at all. And between here and there, He guides and protects us every minute, with His compassion, His presence, His rod of protection and staff of guidance. Isaiah described Christ’s time on earth this way:

              The people walking in darkness have seen a great light, on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned. Is. 9:2 NIV

Christ is our light, our hope, our life in the shadows of every day. He does not disappoint.