In the grand scheme of things, the surgery I had scheduled to replace my deteriorating hip was “routine.”  Hip replacement is one of the most effective and successful procedures in the annals of surgery, having been performed many thousands of times with few complications.  “You’ll be fine,” I told myself.  “Many friends have undergone far more complex surgeries and come through just fine.”  Conversations with my doctor and other knowledgeable and experienced friends (like Rosalie!) had given me further comfort and confidence.


Yet one’s brain can only go so far in communicating with one’s heart, and a subtle but persistent anxiety simmered just beneath my calm exterior.  At a meeting for worship a few weeks before my surgery, we sang a favorite Taize hymn, and I knew immediately that I needed to make it my personal anthem:


Come and fill my heart with your peace

You alone, O Lord, are holy

Come and fill my heart with your peace



To borrow a phrase from Allyn, this became the top song on my inward playlist over those next few weeks, and it floated right back into my consciousness the morning of the surgery:  getting showered and dressed in the morning; on the ride to the hospital; in the pre-op area as I changed into the hospital gown; as I climbed onto the gurney and began to be wheeled into the operating room.


Lying on my back on the gurney, settling deeply into the rhythms of this hymn, I felt an overwhelming sense of light, warmth, and comfort.  I thought “You, O Lord, have truly come here this day to fill my heart with your peace – light and peace beyond words.”  I was giddy with delight at God’s presence there with me, overwhelming any lingering sense of anxiety I may have had earlier.  I felt drawn ever deeper into the Light and disappeared into it.


My next awareness was of lying on my back in the post-operative recovery unit and noting that my hip felt really different.  The pain would come later, but the knowledge that the procedure was complete brought a smile to my heart.  The hymn was no longer playing, but the light and peace remained.


I treasure this experience of the Light not only for the comfort it gave me that day, but even more for reinforcing my belief that if I invite the Light into my heart, I will experience the Light in my heart.  “Knowledge so wonderful is beyond my grasp.”  (Psalm 139:6)

—Greg Morgan