After surgery a friend prayed over me, doesn’t every great story start this way, it was a prayer for rest and it was also a prayer to actually understand rest.
When you are forced to actually slow down, all of the sudden the moments of busy really do stand out. Prior to surgery I managed to spend 4 days at Disney World, shoot 12 mini-session, drive to PA/DE to photograph a wedding, and prep my house for mom’s arrival in the span of about 18 days. Needless to say, surgery was the nap I so desperate needed, but it wasn’t actual rest. When you find yourself in a place of rest that is healthy, you also happen to learn the absolute limits of your needs. Let me be the first to say it’s terrifying. The timing, however, is liturgically perfect. It’s almost like I planned my surgery around the church calendar. Enter the season of advent, a time of waiting and anticipation.
When I slow down, my brain tumbles over and over again with the what ifs. They aren’t quite as bad as the if onlys, but they still leave you in a state of questioning. Question upon question without answer upon answer. Combine this with a period of time that is spent on the couch with a set of crutches and then I attempt to begin a period of active mental avoidance. Let’s admit it, We all do it. I mean, why else are we all so dang busy? I generally like to think it’s not because we really love having no time to think and is probably because we don’t want to be forgotten/unneeded and we really really really don’t want to have to think, about most anything, but we also don’t really want to be known either. And we wonder why our anxiety runs at an all time high. We see anything we can’t control as a failing. So what happens when we stop and we wait and we anticipate.
We wait in quiet anticipation knowing, fearing, that we can’t save ourselves.
In our weakness, we find grace and in grace we learn hope. Hope takes us to the unknown and a place were we find a peace we have never known. This peace required conflict, it requires conflict with ourselves. It involves active engagement and fighting for truth and transformation. This isn’t about sitting on our laurels just hoping the answers appear, it is the realization that weakness is our gateway to create change.
Sometimes, that change might not be so much so outwards and be very much inwards. Over the course of the last month I physically couldn’t do much for myself which made me want to pull my hair out, good thing I have a mop of hair on my head. For two weeks I depending on other people to drive me around, feed me, or just be around. Ann would check in every night to confirm that I, in fact, had not fallen down the stairs in my nightly activity of crutching up said stairs to my room. For someone who thinks she can legit do pretty much everything, except hike, it was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting because I thought I was a superhuman who would heal like such. To go from shooting a wedding and 3 photo sessions in one weekend to being exhausted after spending 15 minutes in Trader Joes, well let’s just say it’s an eye opening moment. Some expectations fall short and on the other side, there are people who who are so above and beyond that is blows your mind a little. And so it goes. And so I wait with much anticipation.
So the realization of baby steps instead of a sprint. Being present with a purpose. And embracing every moment of rest that comes my way and the directions that will comes with it.
“for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory” – Book of Common Prayer, Evening Prayer, Rite II
For those who are like, wait a second, back up, surgery…what?! Quick version: Way back when (in May) while living my best life now (on vacation), I was hiking in Glacier National Park (it was Day 1 of said vacation). I was trekking along planning how I was going to send mom and dad photos and be like “BOOM! you think I can’t hike but look at me and my rockstar hiking self.” Then something happened, there was a pop, I played it off(ish) and danced at a wedding, and a month later I had a diagnosis of a not-so-hot labral tear in my hip. So, apparently I’m living “my best I might be 80 life now” and so I had surgery to fix it in November. Woot!