Thoughts from Room 387

John Coulombe is an incredibly wise person and I loved his insights from room 387 in the hospital. This blog is from the Legacy Coalition. They are a wonderful organization promoting God-honoring grandparenting. This blog is really for any parent of any age.

Thoughts from Room 387

While lying in a hospital bed at St. Jude in August of 2006, I was given the privilege of time to re-evaluate my life and life’s work. I discovered that when one’s body is broken, many values change: that which was so important no longer is; and that, which meant so little, strangely means so much.

In the middle of the night I spent some precious moments reviewing my outlook on life—and death.

When I woke up the next morning I wrote them down, realizing opportunities to think like this are rare and greatly stimulated by being at and in this kind of place.

Here are some of those musings:

1. God is in control. I’m not.

  • Trust Him. Ps.115:3.

2. God is not in a hurry. I am. You’re a patient, so be patient.

  • Slow Down. Matt. 6:25-34.

3. Center your heart on the Lord’s, rather than on your own broken-down heart, John.

  • Focus on Him. Col. 3:1; Phil. 4:6-7.

4. In the hospital there are always people worse than you. – Pray for them. Reach out with a word if you can . . . the man dying a few rooms up . . . people groaning and crying out in the night with pain . . . those too weak to get out of bed.

  • Pray for them. Rom. 12:9-21.

5. The continuum of life is always present in a hospital. I heard Brahms Lullaby in the hallways each time a baby was born, and there were little groups of people singing God Be With You ‘Til We Meet Again and I Come to the Garden Alone in the rooms of their dying loved-ones.

  • Celebrate both life and death. 1 Cor. 15.

6. Be grateful for small things, like when you can empty your own ‘water’ unassisted!

  • In everything give thanks, with joy. 1Thess. 5:16-18.

7. Consider how good it is to have a life partner and friends who care, who sit quietly by your side, kiss you when you’re unlovely, sneak in treats and walk alongside you in the hallways in those embarrassing gowns.

  • Never take friendship for granted. Rom. 12:10-13; Rom.16; 2 Cor.7:5-7.

Another insight/end-sight: those hospital gowns are like insurance policies—neither covers you as well as you think!

8. It’s time to make preparations to clean up and pull together the papers, the will, the photos, the details of our lives, both for here and the life to come. Is there anyone whom I need to forgive and make things right?

  • Get it together. 1 Cor. 14:33.
  • Prepare to meet your God. Amos 4:12.

9. Someone needs to set the clocks, work the PDA,VCR, DVR, DVD, A/C, computer, sprinklers, balance checkbook, wash clothes, cook, lube car…

  • Teach one another how—now.

10. No matter how inept hospital personnel and doctors can be at times, remember—you could be in Nigeria.

  • Be grateful for what you have. Phil. 4:11-14

11. Enjoy the little things in life: a cup of Starbucks coffee smuggled in by friends, a real strawberry milkshake with whipped cream and a cherry on top from Jack-in-the-Box.

  • Savor the moments and drink slowly.

12. Don’t waste the precious pressures or stresses or try to get back to normal too soon.

  • Let the pressures conform you, transform you and make you more Christ-like. – 2 Cor. 4.

13. Keep finding your sense of humor and joy. It’s better than some of the meds you’re taking!

  • Be Happy. Prov. 17:22: A cheerful heart is good medicine.

14. Be patient, and hospitable with the hospital personnel who care for you throughout the long days and nights— even though they may not do it perfectly.

  • Be kind. 1 Cor. 13:4; Eph. 4:32.

15. And finally: Above all, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life!

  • Guard your heart! Prov. 4:23

This article was first appeared here.

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John Coulombe

Until his recent “retirement,” John Coulombe served thirty-one of his 50+ ministry years as the InterGen pastor at the Fullerton Evangelical Free Church, focusing on older adults. A graduate of Judson Baptist College, BIOLA University and Talbot School of Theology, John helped lead the Christian Association of Senior Adults (CASA), a national ministry to ‘experienced’ adults, during his stay at Fullerton. He and Jacque, wife of 54 years, have enjoyed a team approach to pastoring as well as a broader speaking/relational ministry around the country. John also currently has some ‘side-jobs’ encouraging pastors and their families through FishBowl Ministries as well as leading ministry friends through Desert Fathers’/‘Mountain Fathers’/’Music-City Fathers annual retreats. Having been on board with Legacy Coalition from its inception, at present John serves as Director of Spiritual Development. John and Jacque have two sons and daughters-in-love and eight teenage grandchildren. They have lead “Camp Grammy & Papa” over the years, seeking to pass down God’s Story as well as theirs on to their grandchildren before they ‘pass-on!’

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