This summer has been a long one for me. I have had very limited mobility and have spent most of my time in rehab and exercising to increase my strength and endurance. One of the by-products of my recovery was the fact that I can’t bend down or squat as much as I used to and I had to learn to be okay with that – at least for now.
Normally, if I see weeds in the flower beds, or gravel out of the dog run, I am the first person to correct the issue – to pick up the loose piece of trash or dispose of the weeds. And it drives me insane when one of the front landscape lights goes out. I may well be out in the front yard with my flashlight laying on the ground unscrewing the fixture to replace a bad bulb late at night.
And as crazy as it sounds, when I drive past the house each evening before I turn in the driveway, I take a mental inventory to make sure that I see all the lights and that none of them have burned out since the last time I looked. So imagine my surprise when I noticed not one, not two, but three lights out in the front earlier this summer. I was almost apoplectic about it. I went out the front door and tapped on each fixture to see what was wrong. One of the lights came back on – and has been on since then. But the other two needed to be replaced.
I got my cane, tried to spread out a blanket on the ground to keep me from getting dirty and started to get down on the ground with my bad knee. It was pretty impossible, especially when I realized that I may get down but there was no way that I was going to be able to get back up off the ground.
Janet offered to help me but I really couldn’t explain how the top of the fixtures came off and we finally gave up trying to change the bulbs so near to the ground. That was several months ago. I thought about asking others for help, but I finally decided that I wanted to do it myself and you know what – even with physical therapy and now having been released the my doctor, those lights still haven’t been changed. Oh, I was going to try again about a week ago, but other things took priority and I didn’t get around to it. I still don’t know if I could get back up and, frankly, it isn’t worth the effort to find out right now.
On a similar note, we have a fountain in our back yard and last year, I religiously cleaned it and changed the water every week. Not so this year… It just got to be too much for me to handle every week. So, I started out putting in additives that would keep algae and other undesirable things from getting in the fountain. Then, I recalibrated my expectations and vowed to clean the fountain the first week-end of each month. Eventually, I think I ended up completely cleaning the fountain every six to seven weeks. I honestly don’t remember…
I am also a little obsessed with keeping leaves off the rear deck and lower patio. I have a blower and every several days I head out and make sure that the front porch, sidewalks and the rear of the house have the leaves blown out of the way. Well, surprise, surprise, that didn’t happen very often, either. It was just too tough going up and down all those stairs and, sometimes, I was afraid of falling – at least until I gain more strength.
In short, so many things that I took for granted are no longer things that I take for granted. I move much slower, and even though I can now walk more than two miles, I have learned to appreciate a much more leisurely pace as I watch the world pass me by. And that’s okay. This forced sabbatical has allowed me to re-prioritize the things in my life. I have, at least for the time being, been constrained in ways that I never considered before and it has become much more about the journey than getting to the destination.
I now take several trips to carry groceries into the house when I used to pride myself on how many bags I could carry at once from the car in the garage. And while I used to check my emails and phone messages as I walked down the street, I don’t dare to do that anymore either. The phone can wait until I am safely seated somewhere without any distractions. I can’t risk falling again; and uneven pavement has become my enemy. In short, I am trying to learn to be okay with some limitations.
Please don’t misunderstand me – it’s not easy. For those of you who know me well, I am a typical type A person. I want things done NOW – and no loose ends please… So this transition has been something of a challenge for me. But I am learning to be okay with it. And if, for some inexplicable reason, I don’t regain full range of motion, strength and endurance, I must be at peace with that.
Our verse for this evening highlights the words of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of John. We are told, in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Wise words for me during my current journey.
My encouragement tonight is that Jesus will be with us for eternity and there is no rush to get everything done right now. My prayer is that we will all focus on our relationships and realize that some of the nitty gritty stuff of life isn’t as important as we once thought it was. It can wait… Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…