When I got back from my errands of finding a place to stay, Ash was not in the room. He had been taken for some tests.
His roommate was a man of 74 years. He was healthy as an ox and sharp as a tack. He biked 15 miles a day or something like that. Anyway, he was in the hospital for some digestive problems.
The first night Ashton was checked in, he did not know that he even had a roommate. Ash’s bed was closest to the door, and the curtain was drawn, so Ash did not know that there was another person there. Mind you, it was like 2 am. The nurses were checking Ashton in and were speaking loudly, turning on all the lights. When Ashton found out that there was a patient, he felt AWFUL for keeping him up. It was not his fault, of course, but he apologized anyway.
This man and his wife were wonderful. They even came to see us in the ICU and I am irritated with myself that I did not get their contact information.
Anyway, the day of surgery, Ash had been getting tests done, etc. I wanted to talk to the fellow some, though he was obviously considering watching a DVD. I feel badly, but I just ignored the DVD player and chatted for a few minutes. Not my most selfless moment, but at that point, I was not my best.
Because that man had digestive issues, they had put him on a full liquid diet. They kept pushing him to drink as much milk, juice, soup, etc as he could. Later the day of surgery, before Ash was taken back, the man asked me if I had eaten. Frankly I had not. I had had a piece of pizza on Monday and some candy and cokes and the biscuit that the clerk insisted that I eat from the hotel. I was just too wound up. I was running on fumes, and I knew it.
However, I assured him I was fine. Thankfully, he was not convinced. He had seen me in the room and knew I had not had any meals. He said “Here, why don’t you take this?” and offered me a carton off of his tray. I smiled politely “Oh, thank you so much, that is very sweet of you, but really I am fine.”. He insisted again. I assured him I was fine again, but he would not hear of it. So then I said “YOU are the sick one, you need this more than I do!”. He said “I have had enough, I cannot drink anymore.”. Then I laughed and said “The nurse is going to get mad if I eat your food.”. Then he said “Here, how about this: you drink that, and I will drink this” and he handed me a carton and gestured to a bottle of ensure that he would drink. That seemed a decent compromise, and frankly I was out of arguments. I took the carton. It said “Might Milk” on it. I was afraid it would taste like a vitamin shake, but I was going to drink it.
Now, typing this, I literally get tight in my chest and tears come to my eyes when I think of how wonderful that mighty milk tasted. Please understand that it was like drinking a liquid miracle. My body was so terribly desperate for nutrition. Every sip of that was a blessing, every drop was strength. Not only was it sustaining, it was delicious.
I polished off the carton in a matter of seconds. The man then offered me his milk. At that point, I firmly declined, with a smile, and said “Thank you so much. This was just what I needed. You go ahead and have that.”. He did not argue with me, but he did not drink it either.
Not very long after that, he was discharged to go home. After he left, I noticed that the carton of regular milk was sitting on his tray. I asked Ashton if I should take it. I knew that they would not give it to another patient, that it would be thrown away. I knew that I needed more nutrition. I knew that it was the Lord providing for me, so I drank that too.
The Lord fed me, literally fed me, using a wonderful, sharp, stubborn man with two extra cartons of milk. The Lord provided for my spiritual needs, my physical needs, my every need. That milk was just enough of what I needed to get through the 24 hours. In the Bible, the Lord said that the Promised Land flows with milk and honey. Apparently the milk comes in cartons and is delivered by 74 year old men :)
In all seriousness though, I muse if the Promised Land is not always a physical place, but a place with the Lord. That can be in heaven, or on the ocean, or in a hospital room. The Promised Land may be where we see that the Lord’s promises are sound, good, and here for us. Maybe I can call it “The Promises Land” and know that it is where my spirit and heart and mind and body are being provided for by the Lord God Almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth. That Place where our needs are so overwhelming that only He can provide. That hallowed ground of desperate need and His Perfect Provision.
The Promises Land.