“It was the best of times, it was the worse of times,” this often quoted piece from Dickens classic work, A Tale of Two Cities, or in the immortal words of Led Zeppelin, “Good times, Bad times, you know I’ve had my share,” can also best describe the last couple of days of my recovery. It has been the best of times, I’m moving more and each day with less pain. Just the shear joy of being able to walk outside brought me to tears and that my therapist allowed me to walk using only one crutch, well, awesome can’t even begin to describe that feeling. Yes, I know I still have a long road, I am not entirely pain free although, as my doctors and nurses always ask, “on a scale of 1-10” a happy cartoon face or a grimace cartoon face, I am much closer to the happy face. Unfortunately, with the best has to come some of the worse. For any of you who have experienced the joy of major surgery, and the subsequent usage of pain medication and anesthesia, then you also know what it does to your system. It’s remarkable how we tend to take our bodies for granted, especially when all is in working order. We don’t realize how each part, from our more “honored parts” to our more “lowly parts” are all interconnected and that one cannot function if another is broken. Our bodies, to heal and get well, focus on the hurt and broken so that in doing so the rest of the body can get stronger and survive. This interconnectedness is what Paul tries to get across when speaking about the church and community, when one part of that body is broken or neglected then the rest is diminished.
This time has also reminded me that my healing is not just about me. This is not some self-centered, macho, go alone, John Wayne moment where I can just suck it up and do it all on my own. It is also not a time for a pity party, oh woe is me, kind of attitude designed to gain sympathy so I can drag you into my systemic suffering and pain for pampering and not the hard work of healing. This time of healing reminds me that I am at once both independent but also dependent. I need love and support, I also need the space to work towards getting better. My physical therapist, Heather encourages me as I take my tentative steps, which is great support, but she also challenges me by not letting me skimp on the exercises. I could easily spend the next few weeks in my bed, dosing myself with pain meds and railing against an unkind deity who “did this to me.” Or I can get up each day, give thanks to my Creator for giving me another morning full of possibilities. So I choose to look forward to the possibilities, to work hard to rise above this moment, to reclaim for myself and my family a sense of wholeness. Maybe and I say this with a huge qualifier, but just maybe, this time is helping me to see life in a new way, where possibility exists, where love does indeed drive away the anxiety and fear and just maybe I will become a better man.