Little Paint Speck

By Hillary Asbury

Around Thanksgiving I had to had surgery and I was wildly anxious.

I had known for about a month that surgery was probably going to be my only treatment option, but when I went in for my surgical consult on a Wednesday and they told me to come back for surgery on Monday, I panicked.

I’m a worrier.

I try to keep a handle on my anxiety but it seems to get the best of me every time. I pray. I remind myself to put my trust in God. I have tricks I use to shift my thinking, calming breathing exercises, strategies for combatting stress-related insomnia. I’ve been battling my anxiety for a long time, I have the tools and I use them. They Often help. Sometimes, though, nothing seems to make a difference.

As I prepped for my appointment, there was only one thing that brought me any comfort.

I was given instructions to clean everything the day before surgery: my room, my bedding, any clothes I would wear before and after the procedure. I was told to shower right before bed the night before and had been given anti-bacterial wipes to disinfect my entire body. As I scrubbed myself clean that night, I had to work pretty hard to get all the paint off of my hands, arms, and from under my nails. Try as I might, when I was done there was still a little speck of turquoise paint that wouldn’t budge from the corner of one of my nails.

In the hours leading up to the surgery I was very on-edge.

My surgery was scheduled for early afternoon, but my doctor’s morning operation ran late. I was forced to wait around for hours in pre-op and my anxiety just continued to build. At one point, though, I looked down at my hands and I had to smile. I saw that stubborn little spot of paint on my nail and was instantly comforted. It gave me something to hold on to, something that reminded me of who I was. It reminded me that I was uniquely created with purpose- loved by my God. It was something I could take with me into the operating room, something I could look for when I woke up from anesthesia.

And I did.

I woke up and groggily looked for that little speck of paint, just to remind myself that I was okay, that God had seen me through it, and that everything was going to be just fine.

3 thoughts on “Little Paint Speck

  1. God bless you. No shame in being a worrier, or experiencing anxiety. Even when our faith is strong, we feel afraid as we go through a health crisis or operation. I pray you are well now.


  2. Hillary that was so comforting and really made me feel good reading it. We all at times, even with our faith being strong, still feel weak and vulnerable. That was beautiful and so symbolic comparing that little speck of paint with faith the size of a mustard seed and yet giving a such strength.


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