Last Friday I had foot surgery to correct arthritis damage to two toes. I have had day surgeries before and in general they go well, just as this one did. But as I waited to be taken in to surgery I began to think of the consequences of my doing this. The benefits are easy to name, the primary ones are, being able to wear my shoes comfortably again and being able to walk without pain in my feet. But there are also consequences and benefits I hadn’t considered.
For example, I wasn’t going to make an InterPlay group on Saturday that I really wanted to attend, and I wouldn’t be able to make it to church on Sunday. In fact not until next Thursday will I be able to leave the house.
In addition to being stuck in the house my foot hurts, a lot, and because I can’t take the more popular pain killers, I have a pain medicine that, while it works well, has some drawbacks like extreme dizziness and fatigue. However, I have begun to see some real benefits, other than walking, that I hadn’t taken into consideration.
First of all I have to slow down, something I don’t often do, and think if what I want to do is really important and necessary. I have been surprised at how much I do during the day that really is busy work. Simply letting go of those fussy details has been a great relief and I think I am going to continue with that. The things I am able to do right now have real importance, mean something to me, and are getting done better and with less effort.
I also have to say “no” to extra tasks when I am asked for “help.” Setting of boundaries has always been complicated for me. I never want to “offend” anyone and so often take on tasks that I know I don’t have the time to do nor the energy and strength to do them. Saying no is one of the hardest things I am trying to learn. I overextend myself all the time all because I can’t set boundaries and tell someone “no, not today.”
There are benefits of saying no such as more the time for meditation, and pausing to take the time for myself. I don’t mean a short meditation I mean sitting down, which is all I can do anyway right now, for a couple of hours and meditating over a passage of scripture, or something I’ve just read. Instead of worrying about what I can’t do I have been rediscovering the joy of what I can do in the moment, the return of silence and quiet peace. Holding Suzie, my Chihuahua, in my lap I have been reconnecting with the Divine in art, literature and music and letting all of it wash over me and renew me.
I have also relearned the joy of receiving the generosity from others. From hospital staff, to friends, to family, especially my beloved husband John, I have been graced with an amazing amount of love and care. These lovely people have helped me slow down and have given me the space to be right here, right now without feeling guilty.
I am grateful that I am not seriously handicapped or so ill I am unable to learn from this slow time. I am learning to accept with joy the gifts others give me and not feel embarrassed or feel I don’t deserve such grace. I know at some point I will grow impatient with being unable to do exactly what I want, but right now I am grateful for this time of rest and recovery.
Now I know I am not the only one out there who has difficulty in accepting gifts. Therefore, I offer this spiritual practice of saying “thank you” for the gifts you receive this week. Simply say thank you, don’t elaborate, just accept. Allow someone to do something for you, or do something for someone else and receive their gratitude with grace. Recognize the joy of being in the moment and offer a thank you. Offer your gratitude to the Holy for this time, this place, the people, creation that is the now. Let the gifts of others to you renew your spirit and let the grace shine out from your heart to those around you.
May your week be filled with joy of gifts unforeseen, and may they bring you peace.
Ruth Jewell, ©October, 28, 2014