A whole lot can happen in three weeks. So can absolutely nothing…or so it feels. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect as I recovered from surgery (see The Binder.), but I had high hopes that this experience was going to be better. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It’s actually been one of the most, if not the most difficult thing, I’ve had to do but I was hoping for more. Like this was time I was going to use to just “be”…be thankful, be disciplined, be still. Instead, I kind of feel like I am starring in ‘Groundhog Day’. Every day feels the same: Go to bed at 11PM, fall asleep by 2AM, wake up around 3:30AM, fall back asleep at 6AM, wake up at 11AM, make coffee, sit on the porch, watch all the neighborhood dogs poop in my yard, look through pictures, read Russian history books, check Amazon for deals, tidy up the house, check social media, shower, drink a Gatorade because showering wore me out, eat lunch, do dishes, take a stroll, write a note or two, walk around my house assessing what I can spray paint to add some “umf”, and the list goes on. It’s exhausting…and not because it’s fun & active, but because I am bored out of my mind.
That’s how I feel right now.
See, I was having an entire week of really great days. I was so encouraged for the steady improvement and overwhelmed by all the love and support I’ve received. It has been unreal. Then three days ago, the headaches came back, my body started aching, joints started hurting, the sleepless nights returned, and that attitude of gratitude flew out the window. Although this isn’t a new epiphany – it is harder to be grateful when things aren’t going as planned or as you hoped. It is easy for a seed of bitterness to take root when you forget thankfulness and God’s faithfulness.
That happened around 4:45AM this morning. I was straight up a-n-g-r-y that I couldn’t sleep. Like WHOA get a hold of yourself, woman. I couldn’t get comfortable – any which way I turned, pain set in. This had been happening for hours and on multiple nights. I kept thinking of how great last week was, that I should be further along in my recovery, that I was gaining weight because I am not able to do anything, that I was missing out, that I was wasting time, and I lost sight of how far I’ve come. Soon, I said a few choice words, threw some pillows, then let out the loudest, shrillest, most unsettling scream. It wasn’t pretty. I fell asleep around 6AM and woke up defeated.
For some strange reason, enter Bing Crosby: “When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep and I fall asleep counting my blessings.” Thanks, Bing. And thank you, weird brain, for retrieving this gem from your archives. The feeling of defeat slowly turned into determination to have a better day, even if my body didn’t follow suit. I spent time reflecting and realized how horrible of a job I was doing at thanking Jesus for the hard times just as much as the great ones. I was counting all the things that were not happening rather than all the things He has done. I know that the Lord has been so faithful in all of this, but I wasn’t doing a great job glorifying Him or seeking to know Him more. I’ve been riding on the coattails-of-learning from my last surgery (see The List.): I had acknowledged and identified areas of life I desired to work on, but little to no drive to do anything about any of it. How many people have an opportunity to be still with little distraction? Not many. I can pretty much choose how I spend my time right now (unless it has anything to do with being physically active beyond a slow walk) and it was on everything else and then sometimes Him. It was easy to surrender and trust Him before all this, why was I struggling so much now?
The answer to that question is simple: pride and control. Before, I was communing with the Lord regularly and knew there was nothing I could do that would change the fact I most certainly needed surgery. After, I have merely been giving Him shout-outs & please-helps and assumed there is so much I should do to make recovery quick and easy. I lost sight that I need Him. I desperately need Him. Every hour [especially at 4AM when I am a hot mess] I need Him.
Today was a better day. It was actually a beautiful day: it was finally time to write (albeit brief), I crossed things off my to do list, I spent time thanking the Lord for His faithfulness, I actually went for a short drive with my sister and nephew, I had dinner with my family, and did I mention I went somewhere?! All this happened with no improvements to my body, but improvements to my outlook. I may not be able to control my sleeping patterns or how my body is healing, but I can control my response to them. Thankfully, His mercies are new every morning…even on Bethany Standard Time. For some timely reason, enter Jim Elliot: “Wherever you are, be all there.” Thanks, Jim. And thank you, small word art card on my side table that I drew months ago, for the reminder.
Tomorrow may be filled with doing a lot of the same things, but I am choosing joy and thankfulness. Recovery is probably going to take more than 3 weeks. It could take 3 months to get back into the swing of things. And that is okay. I am ready, and when I fail to remember that – I’ll start again.
I know I’m not the only one feeling like ‘Groundhog Day’ is reality and wondering when things will change. But if you remember…Phil soon made the best of it and then a new chapter began
If you are in a season of life where you feel like things will never change, don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Don’t push it. Don’t wish it away. Give yourself grace. Be still. Be open. Be thankful. Be intentional. Surrender to Jesus and trust that He hasn’t forgotten you but is taking care of you and loves you more than you know. For some perfect reason, enter Jesus: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). Thank you, Jesus. And thank you, Lord, for Your promises.
That’s what I know right now.