Rejoice always, pray continually , give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
This post links with my post Memories of underlying sadness
Before I say that I walked up the aisle in the dress Mum made me for my wedding day, I need you to know something about Shelly, my sister. She was my bridesmaid and I respect and love her very much.
Shelly came from Rhodesia, where we lived, to South Africa to read music at Stellenbosch University and we shared a room. She commuted to her lessons and we both had different demanding schedules but we were usually in our rooms by 10pm and up by 6am (often earlier).
One night she was either accompanying a clarinettist on the piano or playing the clarinet as a soloist I can’t remember. Shelly never made a big deal about her performances, she just got on and sometimes enjoyed the experience. This night was to be different. During the performance her pain became excruciating and not like what she had ever had before.
My first memory of this time is of standing next to her in a white , high ceilinged room, with unusually bright lights. I had been asked to help her bathe in preparation for an operation. I find this memory strange but I guess it was a kindness the staff felt we needed .
My next memory is of talking to my parents and helping them get in contact with the hospital. Dad said he had his emergency fund( Dad always payed tithe, bills and then the emergency fund) and that he and mum would get a flight from Rhodesia as soon as possible.
I then returned to our room, sat down feeling alone and wrote a letter to my sister’s new boyfriend. I think I was kind, but blunt in telling him that he needed to support my sister 100% through this bad time, no matter what happened in the future.
It is then on my next visit to the hospital I realised how unique and precious Shelly was. Shelly was lying in a theater bed, her small body dwarfed by large amounts of equipment. She had experienced a perforation of the bowel after patient endurance of many episodes of what we didn’t know she had – Chron’s disease. It was a serious time. Life or death. The timing of when it happened was all important.
It happened when the right surgeon was available and Shelly was taken to him. He was at Tygerburg Hospital when she could have been taken to an equally good hospital. The uniqueness of this surgeon was that he had taken a keen interest in this unidentified disease and had some strong ideas about how much bowel should be removed. This surgeon performed an operation 43 years ago that hasn’t yet needed to be repeated. Shelly’s recovery from the operation was a surprise to the medical staff .
God was good to Shelly as well as us. God’s timing was so important. My sister has been and continues to be an inspiration and blessing to us, her family and those she taught in high school ( 12 to 18 year olds) for many years.
God loves to bring good out of bad. He loves to turn crucifixions into resurrections… Rick Warren (Baptist pastor and author)
Here are some sayings about crisis:
In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.Albert Einstein
Never let a good crisis go to waste.Winston Churchill
Thank you for reading this memory.