I never thought I'd ever go back. Never. But somehow...here I was walking those sterile hallways once again. It had been nine years since I was last in the ICU of the local hospital. I had spent hours of vigil at the bedside of my father who, at the time, was flirting with death every single moment. Even though I had seen God show up big, still I couldn't go back. Couldn't visit that place all this time...not even though it was the sight of many little (and big) miracles that have since changed my life. Trauma had taken its toll. I have since lived with the tightness in the chest, the fear that comes over in the blink of an eye, the shaky knees...and so...I have avoided going back. I have resisted. I have seen it as the sight of my trouble, not my healing.
But relationships and love are stronger than fear. And grace can prompt you to do things, to change who you are, for the sake of His bigger plan. And now, for the sake of my dad once again and for the sake of my friend Phil, I went back. I trusted Him more than I trusted myself. And I walked through those doors where I did not wish to go...
Perhaps this is His way of healing, I ask myself. Maybe the path to faith lies in the fighting of the fears. Just maybe the ticket to joy, to peace, to truly living, is given through the journey of suffering...and overcoming. Through the struggle... and the victory.
I sensed His peace as I faced the old me in those hallways. In my heart, I told that old me that it no longer runs my life. Back then, I did not live in grace. I was governed by lies and fear, and I had turned my heart away from His love. Now, for several years, I have daily sought to live in faith. I have done all I can to open my life to Grace. I have strived to lean in when that old me still tells me to run away. I know that to hide might be my natural tendency but it doesn't have to my final choice. I can decide to follow Him, to believe even when all I want to do is doubt.
And so I went into my father's room, and I visited him. I visited my friend Phil. But I also confronted my past. And I walked out a stronger person. I left the old me behind those doors. I can't promise that that old me will stay there and won't try to come after me again. But I know that I can choose to not invite it to visit me. I can cooperate with my Savior to create a heart-environment that will not welcome such fear and falsehoods about myself, about life, about Him.
Just maybe going back is our way out. If you're struggling like me to make peace with something or someone in your past and yet you know your life has changed since you were there last, perhaps a visit back (figuratively or literally) is what is needed to put that old you to rest.
Jesus is the resurrection and the life and those who hope in Him and receive His grace are new creations. As such, making peace and leaving the old us behind is a necessary part of our journey to becoming more like the One who forgives, who is Himself the true essence of life abundant. The One who is making all things new...including us.