I am trying to tell this story as completely as I can - and my memory for this time in my life is pretty good. They say what imprints the brain with memories has to do with adrenaline. This makes sense to me, since there are specific details that stand out in my mind. Another side of this could be that I have told and re-told this story many times and have probably cemented the memories created by adrenaline!
I guess I had left out the part about when Sam got stitched up. Sorry for the following gory details. We sat in the E.R. and they called Sam into the same room where I had my stitches done the previous month (after the brick-clobbering incident). When I had had my stitches they told my Dad to wait outside - so I endured the ordeal alone. I just assumed they'd tell me to stay outside too, but I guess multiple stab wounds gets more sympathy than just a single gash to the skull. They invited me inside, and I hesitated. I asked Sam if he wanted me there, sure he would say no, just out of a sense of independence and bravery. Instead he said that he'd like me to come. So I agreed.
They told him to lay down on the same cold metal table I had been on. Mind you he was shirtless (the stab wounds were in his chest and side), so the cold table was just one extra measure of uncomfortable-ness. He was pretty pale and still quite shook up. I stood to his side and the Doctor leaned over him from the top. Sam asked if I had a mirror so he could watch. Thankfully he was out of luck. I said I would narrate. That was a dumb move.
First they had to numb the area. You'd think they would be very gentle and careful about this. But maybe they're too practical about it all - gotta get the job done I suppose. (Reminds me of the time my Dad needed stitches - in the same hospital - for a gash on his little finger. The nurse asked him how many stitches he wanted. He said, 'As few as possible.' With that advice from his non-medical expertise she attempted to stitch up the inch + gash in ONE stitch. Dad passed out and woke up to nurses slapping him on the face saying loudly, 'Be a man! Be a man!' Needless to say, he was not amused). Sorry for the digression. I couldn't help it.
Back to the stitching. The Dr. leaned in with the numbing needle - just your average size syringe. The wound was right on Sam's sternum, about an inch away from his heart. I guess the knowledge of anatomy gave him the confidence to dive right in, knowing if he dug too deeply he'd only hit bone. And dig away he did. At this point I began to go a bit pale. When the needle was pressed in until it bent at a right degree angle my knees began to feel a bit weak. I know they are flimsy and must be easily bendable, but the thought of it bending on the resistance of my or anyone's open, gaping wound was pushing it just a little. Sam said I could hold his hand if I felt I needed to. That jolted me back to reality and I began to feel better. There was no way I would hold his hand. The whole thing freaked me out.
Maybe now it is making a little more sense as to why I responded to this incident with such emotional distress. Not just the burglary, as bad as that was, but also the awkwardness of the hospital visit, plus the blood and visual effects of it all... these were enough to set me on a path of fear and anxiety.
A few weeks later, when I was still in the throes of sleeplessness and fear, I also had to face the struggle of identifying the two thieves that were caught. It is not like in America where they have nice mirrored glass windows and you can’t see them. I had to walk right up to the man I thought it was and say loudly that I suspected him while his beady eyes glared at me. It was a bit of a panicky feel then.
Fear had gripped me, but I stared it in the face until it diminished. I tell people I think about heaven every day. Some don’t believe me. Some say this is a sign of depression. I don’t know what it is. I think it is just my way of connecting to my true home, since much of my life I have felt ‘homeless’.
There are many weaknesses that I have and many faults, but my one aim is to allow God’s perfect love to cast out my fear, and to someday be perfected in love. The one who fears is not perfected in love. The antidote to fear, I found, was basking in, revelling in, and growing in knowledge of the unsurpassing love that God has for me. His love is redemptive. His love intends to change us, to move us, to use us to be conformed to His likeness. Fear has no place when I cling tightly to the God of love and grace.