I am sure you all had your “Defining Moments” in life. You know, flashes of memory that are forever etched in your psyche. My latest one was just before going in for my operation in November. It was quite a stressful build up. Starting from the time I went for the CT scan which revealed that I had gallbladder stones right up to the scheduled date of the surgery. Having to have an operation under general anesthesia is unnerving.
Rationally speaking, general anesthesia is very safe and the vast majority of people wake up from general anesthesia with no problems at all. Well, that is what I tell all my patients. But when you have to go through it yourself, it is a whole different ball game. I guess it is the loss of control over the whole situation that is unsettling. You are basically putting your life into the hands of the anesthetist and the surgeon. I felt helpless and vulnerable.
As I was being wheeled into the operating theatre, I could help but think about the issue of death and other worst case scenarios. “What if I don’t wake up from the general anesthetic? What if something goes wrong during the surgery? What if…….what if…….”
At least for me, there was not so much fear of death since I am confident that death is simply a transition of my spirit from the earthly reality into the heavenly reality. So it is not so much death that was unnerving, but the thought that my family and especially my kids would have to grow up without their Dad that was sad. I know it might sound a bit “over the top” for a procedure that is considered routine, but those who have gone under general anesthesia might be able to empathize with me.
Finally the moment came when the Anesthetist told me that he is about to inject the Propafol and soon I would be asleep. This the “Defining Moment” I am talking about. As I looked down at the IV line, it slowly turned white and it was at that moment when everything ceased to be of importance. Everything that I had been, everything that I had done, all my friends, my family, my possessions, everything that I had considered important in life, nothing mattered anymore. It was in that 10 seconds or so that I felt really at peace. All the cares of the world have been left behind. My last thoughts was to relinquish control totally to God as I muttered the comforting words of Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want. He makes me down to lie……….
Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. He was born so that anyone who believes in Him may not die, but have everlasting life. My recent experience really reminded me of just how fragile this life can be and it is when I came face to face with my own mortality that I am again thankful that I have a Saviour. So this Christmas, I am celebrating it with a fresh new perspective on life and a greater appreciation of God’s wonderful gift for me and indeed for all who would believe.
God has given us eternal life, and this life in in his Son. He who has the Son has life, he who does not have the Son does not have life. 1 John 5:11-12
May you all have a blessed and meaningful Christmas!