Saturday, January 15, 2011

Things I've learned...

from having major back surgery.

While not life threatening, the surgery is most life changing. Those things that I took for granted became significant goals for the day. Things like standing to dry my hair. Or putting on my socks. By myself. Picking up a plate with food on it can be heavier than a glass of tea. The list of everything that is heavier than a glass of tea is exhaustive and annoying. I may never drink a glass of tea again for the memory it creates.

The body of Christ ministers in the big and little details. Friends authentic enough to sweep my bathroom and not be grossed out by the hair. You can proclaim all you like that you're not a good housekeeper, but it is a different sort of thing altogether when your friend witnesses first hand what exactly that means. Vulnerability for a fiercely independent sort is a fiery part of sanctification.

Pain at all levels has two choices. There are drugs for all types of pain. And there is legitimate concern for the drug side effects, no matter what the pain is. At some points, only the medication could stop the body's insistent clamor for peace. At other points, rest was found in the merciful gift of lying still and praying, reading His word and meditating upon His compassion. The clamor would stop.

My sons, each three years older since the first surgery, seem eight years older in responsibility. Any concerns I had regarding their understanding for this life's upheaval, have disappeared in seeing their reaching up to a standard of care that most at this age have not experienced. Giving a child a higher standard than usual is not being insensitive to their esteem. Our family has enjoyed the fruits of seeing these boys take delight in helping others without necessary reward to themselves.

Twenty years of marriage can prepare you for a lot when it comes to new levels of personal care for your spouse. Twenty years of marriage can give you a perspective of patience and understanding and gratitude for all that God has brought you through and for all that God has not asked you to undergo.

My family has more than once come to the rescue, so to speak, when we have been in need. When James was in the hospital, my mom took weeks off of work to help me in the hospital. With both of these back surgeries, my mom and dad spent the necessary time and energy to help me stay off of my feet so I could get back on my feet. That's a gift of family that I know not everyone has. Relearning where my measuring cups are organized and having the pantry alphabetized is a small price to pay. 

God's use of all things to discipline me or any of His children is something to look for at all times. In this episode, God underlined for me the power of His word to soothe and restore a sound mind. He renewed my passion for teaching and my commitment to not grow weary in doing good. God chastened me to trust His ways where my way at first does not accord with His. The daily routine of living should but doesn't always highlight these lessons. Lying on your back for hours at a time gave time to ponder or pout. I didn't always choose wisely, but He was faithful to not abandon.


  1. I get this. Two stints of long-term bed rest means I've had to sit in the bed and watch somebody scrub my bathtub and toilets. Torture. I don't mind my filth, but nobody else should have to clean it. Glad you're up on your feet again. Hugs!

  2. Vulnerability for a fiercely independent sort is a fiery part of sanctification. Yes, indeed. Oh, the faithfulness of our God!

  3. God knows exactly what it takes to make us pliable and willing learners of His ways, doesn't He? Being forced to lie flat on one's back for weeks or months is a very effective means toward His eternal purpose!