“Nothing to do. No where to go. Just be here now” – Stephen Cope
I had surgery on December 19th. I did not anticipate the struggle that would ensue. It turns out that I have a really hard time letting go. I am an obsessive pillow straightener (and I have a dog who loves to push them off every chair), I cannot have dirty dishes in the sink and I have been making dinner for my family since…well…I gave birth to my first child some 20 plus years ago. I am compelled to “be doing”. So imagine my surprise, when being released from the hospital, that the instructions from the doctor were, no housework for 4 weeks. I smirked. Sure. I can do that. Piece of cake. Eat bon bons and sit on the coach for 4 weeks. This is my dream. I’ve been waiting 20 years for this.
It has not been easy. In fact, I’ve over done…several times. I know that I have over done because I start to get dizzy, I feel weak, my incisions start to ache. So why? This is the dream of a lifetime to “let go”;let my children and husband wait on me. But flicking the switch to be the pampered is not easy. I hate to ask for another glass of water or for my husband to put my socks on. Like Sampson cutting his hair, I have had to let go of my strength. But, the magical thing is, that others have shined beyond my imagination.
So here are the lessons I’ve learned from letting go:
1. Agenda. I’ve had to let go of my agenda. I am now at the whim of everyone else’s schedule. If I wake up at 5 AM, well, so be it. I am stuck. If there is no one in the house awake at that hour, perhaps I need to roll over (if possible) and get another hour or two of sleep. Letting go means not having an agenda.
2. Hands off. So I guess I am more of a control freak than I realized. If my son is making dinner, I need him to fail or succeed on his own. I cannot step in and take over;because I physically can’t. I must say that some of the food that has been coming out my kitchen has been fabulous. Keeping my hands off has let my family’s culinary talents shine!
3. Small steps. I’ve learned that the smallest steps, are now, some of the greatest rewards. My daughter was in the hospital room the morning after the surgery. Walking to the bathroom was an enormous, if not insurmountable, task. She cheered me on. Unabashedly, literally, cheered me on. “You can do it, Mommy”. Her enthusiasm was infectious. The small steps count.
4. Patience. I am so patient with others but fail miserably with myself. I want to be doing, but after testing my limits by actually going to the grocery store 10 days after surgery (note to self, REALLY bad idea) I have learned that I need to be patient with my recovery. I am not the only one who can push a cart through a store and get out a debit card. Really. I am not the only one in a household of six who can do this. And, there is a point, in the not so distant future, where I will have the privilege (sarcasm) of grocery shopping again. Patience.
5. Accept. I learned to be accepting of other’s help. I’m not sure why this is so hard. I am surrounded by a loving household. Everyone has made me breakfast or lunch. Every over easy egg has been different (some seasoned, some not, some stiff, some runny) but they have all been prepared with love. I just needed to accept it. With love.
Perfection. I need to give up on the constant striving for perfection. So what if the dog barks to get in for 10 minutes because I’m the only one hearing her. So what if there are crumbs on the table from last night’s dinner. Who cares if you haven’t worked on your book for the last two weeks. I live with imperfection, no harm done. No harm, no foul.
7. Vulnerable. I’m learning that being vulnerable can enhance my relationships. My husband has had to do countless personal things for me, including drying me off from a shower and helping me dress. My daughter helped me in those first few trips to the bathroom in the hospital. These are the things I have been doing for myself since I was a toddler. I’ve learned to be vulnerable and found deeper connections with my family. They are there for me. No matter what. And that is wondrous.
So many folks have risen to the occasion to help me in my recuperation. Letting go has been difficult but the rewards have been incalculable. There are so many people in my life that were there for me, I just needed to let go to finally discover it.