“She generally gave herself very good advice (though she very seldom followed it).” These words, penned by Lewis Carroll about Alice, made me laugh out loud tonight when I read them. If ever I have lived a quote out in my own life, lately I have been living this one.
Last month I had my first (and please God, last) major surgery. I plotted and planned and read about how to recover from surgery. I listened to sage advice from my surgeon, his nurse, and those who had “been there-done that” about the importance importance importance! of giving your body time to heal and not trying to do too much too soon! I vehemently nodded in agreement every time–I had every intention of taking plenty of time off to heal. In fact, I was secretly looking forward to being forced to slow down and allow myself to be pampered.
That intense agreement with the sage lasted around eight days. Around day eight, I started feeling a little antsy. The pain medicine I was taking prevented me from reading anything–I couldn’t focus. I started getting frustrated– I had things to DO! I would just do a little thing. Not a big thing. Like re-organize Anthony’s room. He HAS been asking me for so long…what else am I going to do? Sit on the sofa and watch HGTV until I turn into a zombie?
That one “little” thing turned into another “little” thing, and before I knew it, I was right back in my life full force. Everything was fine. Kind of. Well, not really. I was still taking strong pain medicine because that was the only way I could do all of the things I had been doing and survive my day. When I would try to stop taking the medicine, I hurt so badly because I was doing waaaaay too much. It was a vicious cycle and I knew it. I just wasn’t quite sure what to do about it because I had obligations that I couldn’t figure out what to do about and I figured I had missed my chance at really recuperating–trying to go back and do it now would disappoint people. I don’t like disappointing people.
Then I started dropping my balls. I had been juggling so many balls prior to the surgery, probably too many, but it was ok. I was healthy, exercising, sleeping well, staying in the Word, and in a good place. After surgery I could no longer exercise, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t even read my Bible–a recipe for ball dropping. My ball dropping came in the form of anxiety and tears and constantly feeling overwhelmed.
Meanwhile, I have dear family and friends that love me and kept telling me I was doing too much, too soon. One day at the beginning of this week, I actually heard them. I took my last narcotic on Monday and went about the business on Tuesday (in between my tears of almost unbearable pain as my body adjusted to feeling pain full force) of clearing my calendar as completely as I could. Each day until today has been utter agony–I really believe I had stagnated my recovery by doing so much and I treated myself like it was the first week post-surgery. It has been one of the longest weeks of my life, mainly because I disagree with the entire premise of pain.
This week has really been pleasant once I got used to the idea of nothingness. It’s hard work doing nothing, and I’m planning to keep it up for a while longer, and then slowly ease back into my life. And as for all of those “disappointed people” that I hated letting down? I have only been met with absolute support, love, and understanding. My friends have stepped up and taken things over for me, offered to help, graciously accepted my inability to do what I previously said I would do, and most importantly, listened with understanding and love. In fact, I’ve been blown away by how much harder on myself than anyone else would ever think of being. I think my mother may actually be right. lol
But if I was already juggling too many balls….does something (s) need to go? That’s what I’m spending my “nothingness” doing; asking God to show me exactly what He wants me to be invested in. I don’t want to just do good things–I want to spend my time doing the God-things He has specifically laid out for me. Otherwise, I take the chance of stealing someone else’s chance to do their God-thing and I don’t leave time in my own life for rest. And that’s the moral of today’s little tale.
P.S. I do not personally recommend going cold turkey off a pain medication–an incremental reduction plan is a much better and healthier way of going about it. But I only have a degree from Google University, so please consult your physician before embarking on any plan involving pain and drugs! lol