I know it has been a long time since I posted last, and you may (or may not) be wondering what happened?
Early this spring I had surgery on my left shoulder, and at the time I believed that within a couple of weeks I would right back to full effectiveness. Two weeks after my surgery my wife had her ankle reconstructed from a break that wasn’t healing. So. I added a couple of weeks to my initial estimate and believed that even with needing to help her, I would have only lost about 30 days of full activity.
I was very naive.
Here we are, well over 2 months after my surgery, and I have just begun to realize how much I didn’t get done. Posting to this blog is high on that list. If you’re reading this… I apologize for my extended absence, but there are some valuable lessons I learned that you may need for your future.
- We are all getting older. That seems obvious, but many of us fail to take that into consideration when we are making our plans. If the last time you went through a major difficulty was 5 years ago or more, plan on this time being different. That works if you are going back to school, or recovering from a surgery. The older our bodies get, the slower they react and recover. It is a fact of life, and we should factor that into our plans (then multiply by two) to keep from being disappointed.
- Embrace the little doses of humility injected into your life. One day while my arm was in a sling and Terri’s foot was in a cast (we looked like refugees from a war zone), we went out to dinner. At the door an elderly lady (20+ years my senior) quickly shuffled to the door to open it for me, when I had verbally offered to open it for her and Terri. So there I was forced to accept this loving act of service from a stranger who could barely hold the door open. In the end, a dose of humility helps us realize we need each other.
- Do yourself, and others, the favor of taking the time off that you need to recover. As I look back over these past weeks, I realize I have made life more difficult for those who work with me because I stubbornly tried to inject my useless self into the tasks of the day. I should have more often left it to those with two good arms and stayed out of their way. Sorry folks!
- Pain killers dull more than your pain. I have never used recreational drugs, but I have come to understand how powerful they can become. I realized at one point that I wanted to take a pain pill to help me sleep, and not to reduce my pain. My pain was nearly zero that night but I realized I was feeling something like loss at the thought of going to bed without the pill. That was when I decided to only use them for major pain events. They can become habit forming, and telling yourself you are immune, only sets you up for failure in this area. Fortunately I knew what to look for. Even when used properly, they affect your thought processes, so realize you are not as sharp, and your memory is not as keen while you are recovering.
- People want to help. I have realized that while wanting to be fiercely independent, I have removed opportunities for others to serve, bless, and show their love for Terri and I. Usually they don’t know what to do, because we don’t tell them. Often we don’t really “Need” the help, but if we let them serve us we discover how wonderful their help ended up being. All-in-all, we need to serve each other and allow others to serve us. It’s how things were meant to be, and it is a blessing to all: the servant and the served.
I am sure I’ve learned more than that over these past months, but that is enough for us to chew on for now.
May God bless you, and may He keep your arm out of a sling!