My granddaughter Carly had her first experience with anesthesia and surgery this week at the tender age of almost seven months.
My daughter-in-law Christy first spotted the little bump near Carly’s collarbone shortly after she was born and dutifully mentioned it on every visit to the pediatrician. On their most recent visit, the doctor suggested they have a specialist check it out.
The specialist quickly diagnosed the problem as a “branchial cleft cyst” and suggested scheduling Carly for surgery to remove it. A week or so later, Carly was being prepped for surgery to take care of this congenital condition.
Left unattended, this abnormality can become a serious problem. We parents and grandparents checked out references to this malady on the Internet prior to surgery and saw graphic images of surgeries involving adults. The images were not pleasant.
Thoughts go through the minds of parents and grandparents when they learn that a child — an infant, in this case — will experience surgery or another treatment for an illness or condition. Those minds naturally think about worst-case scenarios. Will the surgery be more serious than we thought? Isn’t it a little tricky to place an infant under full anesthesia? Could something go wrong?
After the surgery was complete and not long after Carly emerged from anesthesia, she flashed her trademark smile. The result of surgery was the best-case scenario; the surgeon excised the offending cyst completely and assured Mark and Christy that tiny little Carly’s surgery was a success.
Concern for others is created in us (even though it is constantly fine-tuned by life experiences), and nowhere is that more evident than in situations involving family and close friends. We understandably care about the physical, emotional and spiritual well being of these loved ones. We fret when they experience challenges or hardships in their lives. Deep concern sometimes keeps us awake at night.
It seems to me that in believers, this concern expands in concentric circles and quickly encompasses as objects of our concern people we may not know in circumstances that we can only imagine. You might say that this kind of concern for others is re-created in us as we strive to be more like Christ. We value people more and have a growing concern for humankind in general.
Carly and older brothers Chase and Caleb are fortunate to have outstanding medical care, comfortable shelter, healthy diets and a loving family. I am grateful. However, thinking of them prompts me to think of other children who don’t have one or more of those things. It bothers me to know some children struggle without the basics necessary for living as their Creator intended.
Our challenge, of course, is to act on our concern in ways that make a positive difference. Every time we see this high level of love-concern in others, we witness the comforting smile, understanding eyes and welcoming arms of Jesus. This kind of person sees people as Christ sees them and obediently responds like Jesus.