I had a dear friend in the congregation I was serving forty years ago. Her name was Gertrude and she had served as a missionary in Japan for decades before I met her. At the time I met her she was already in her 80s (she lived into her nineties).
One day, she suffered a serious stroke. Her physicians doubted she’d survive. She was comatose, non-responsive. For several weeks, as I visited her in the hospital, I prayed aloud for her and told her the latest news from the church. I was certain that, within a short time, I’d be conducting her funeral.
What a surprise it was for me when her doctor called to say she’d come out of her coma and looked like she’d have a full recovery, and that she wanted to talk with me. Shortly thereafter I was beside the bed in the hospital.
“I have to share something that I want you to pass on.” First, she said that she was aware of the world around her the whole time, and was thankful that I treated her as if we were having a typical conversation (thanks to my teachers in seminary). The second thing was deeply important.
“I was trapped for weeks with the only thing I could hold onto were my memories. I was so thankful that I had regularly read and memorized Scripture, and was also able to remember so many of the hymns I love. Can you imagine how I’d have been if all I had filled my mind with were scary and angry things?“
Great words to live by. Let your spirit and mind be filled with good things.