Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How to Know You're Ready

He carried me that night.

Across the parking lot, through the sliding glass doors, into the waiting room.

"WE'VE GOT A STAT!" someone yelled. "IT'S A LITTLE GIRL!"

I was 18 years old but it didn't matter. Small enough to be mistaken for a child, and large enough to break a grown man's heart.

It was ironic... eerie. Nine months ago he and I were in this same room together.

But tonight I was the one hooked up to the monitor.

Worry welled up in his eyes. Unspoken fears.

"The doctor will be here in a minute," he said.

We waited. I couldn't help but notice the scar on his arm.

Fresh. Recent.

9 months recent.

I'd visited him here... behind curtain number 7. His skin was ashen and gray that day, his breathing short and labored.

"I'll be OK," he said as he looked in my eyes. "I promise. We're going to make it through this."

They slit his arm and removed his artery. They cracked his chest and operated on his heart.

His heart. The part that was so personal to him. The part he shared with almost no one.

How could a stranger look at it?

That stranger saved his life that day. A few weeks later and he would have been dead.

"I have a second chance at life," he told me. "I want to live."

And live he did.

He repeated his promise that night as he stood by my bedside, short of breath from carrying me in his arms.

"It will be OK," he said. "I promise. We're going to make it through this."

We did make it through.

My situation was nothing compared to his. My problem was minor and treatable. There were no battle wounds, no scars. Yet I left that place with a new appreciation.

A new appreciation for my Daddy.

He'd carried me. Despite the risk. Despite the pain. Despite the knowledge that carrying anything above 15 pounds could damage his body. Permanently.

As I looked into his eyes, I knew: the surgeon wasn't the only one who'd seen my daddy's heart. I'd seen it too.

I share this story because you can relate to my daddy. You've been through the Emergency Room of Life. Something terrible sent you there.

Your loved one died. Your innocence was stolen. Your parents divorced. Your child rebelled.

The pain cracked your spirit wide open and revealed your heart for everyone to see. Your heart. The part that was so personal to you. The part you shared with almost no one.

Now you're finished with the emergency room. You're healed. A little. And you're not going back to that place.

Until you see them: people who are hurting. People who have no one to take them to the Great Physician.

And your mind wants to help them -- to write Life-giving words for them -- but your heart screams that you can't go back there. It hurts too much.

At least... you think it does.

How do you know when you're ready to go back there? How do you know when you are ready to write about what hurt you most?

How do you know when you have the strength to walk your readers through those emergency room doors?

You will know. You will know when you can't put the pen down because the words are flooding out like stored-up tears. You will know when it burns like fire, and everything inside of you screams to stop writing -- but you can't.

You will know.

And in that moment when you know, you will carry your readers across the threshold to the Great Physician.

You will whisper in the darkness, "It will be OK. I promise. We're going to make it through this."
And you will.
B.J. Hamrick


  1. I have to echo Betsy; that was beautiful...

  2. Zing! That one hit me right where it hurts -- in the best sort of way. You were right on target today, BJ.

  3. Betsy - Thanks, Girl.

    Arianna - Thank you so much...

    Christiana - Thanks for sharing... I'm still learning this for myself...

  4. Wow, that's a touching story, BJ. Thanks for your heartfelt post.

  5. Such a powerful story. Great job :)

  6. Wow... this is such a beautiful story. I'd been wondering about that sort of thing lately.

  7. Oh. My. Goodness.
    You just spoke to my heart.
    I've dreamed of writing (better) for two decades...it gets put on a back burner but then cycles around and I struggle with what to do and how to do it. . .

    I recently started writing something and ---- well, what you said matches what I was writing - about how God uses our experiences to share with others.

    Thank you. I've been deeply inspired and reminded that what is on my heart is truly something I need to keep working on. Where it will take me, I don't know, but it needs to be written!

    (And now that I know this little blog of inspiration exists, I will be back, rest assured!)