Litany for Surgery

It’s only a tonsillectomy. In all likelihood, our little gal be bouncing around asking for ice cream within a few days. But…. THEY ARE TAKING MY BABY, PUMPING HER FULL OF CHEMICALS AND CUTTING HER WITH SHARP OBJECTS.

My monkey mind is having a heyday with this. Or it could if I let it. Because I know for certain when she gets out she will be feeling the worst pain she’s ever felt. And she will be feeling this pain because her Papa and I have willingly and consciously made the decision to allow her to feel this pain. We’ve made this decision for good reasons that we believe will benefit her and our family going forward, but that doesn’t change the fact of our child’s pain, the fact of what walking through the next 48 hours will be like. She will cry. I know that her pain will stress me out and make me cry too.

Fortunately I’ve been practicing the trick of stepping back from the monkey mind. Giving it a look from a distance. Perhaps chuckling at it a bit and nudging it lovingly. I’m only beginning to learn this skill, but wow is it helpful when I can remember it.

Peace, be still, Mama.

Hey, Mamas and Papas who have walked your babies down cold corridors, kissed them at O.R. doors, and relinquished them into the hands of mostly strangers. You who have done this many times because of accident, chronic illness, or ongoing medical issues. You who have spent countless hours in waiting rooms, drunk countless cups of awful coffee, and glanced up eagerly every time the door opened, a hundred times, in hopes that it’s over and the report is good. You. I see you now.

(This litany is not just for parents. I'm hopeful that this prayer can be helpful to most anyone going into a surgery or medical procedure.)

God, it’s into your hands that we send our Loved One*
She* was only ever there all along.
We breathe in the peace of your presence:
     Your presence with her as she sleeps
     Your presence with us as we wait.

Be present to those caring for her while we are apart.
Let the peace of your presence come to them as well.
Let your lovingkindness fill their hearts,
     Calm and focus their minds
     Steady their hands.

Let no evil befall them or our Loved One.
May each body system come to perfect harmony.
May each wound inflicted bring health and healing behind it:
     As by Christ’s wounds we are healed,
     So now, we ask for healing wounds.

Make us awake to our blessings,
Things we take for granted,
Things many people throughout the world don’t have:
     Sanitation, education, access, options, medicines and therapies.
     Hope, provision, support, community, nourishment.

May we care for her with compassion and patience while she recovers.
We know that in the midst of pain, you bring growth and goodness.
May we be strengthened and tireless as we offer help:
     Each word echoing the mercy of Christ
     Each action formed and informed by love.


*Substitute the name of the individual here
*Replace gender-specific pronouns as needed