Summer of 2020 brought on multiple life events for which I couldn’t have predicted or prepared. It became a waiting period that changed my perspective. We all experience seasons of waiting; much like the winter as nature prepares for spring’s beauty. It can be difficult to see the purpose or the good from such a time. This summer, it was my turn to wait, to experience pain, to have my level of “stability within” tested, and to see how I would continue to “move forward” during trials and difficulties. Here’s what happened…
Early June, I completed my two-year academic program to be a certified Mastery Transformation Life Coach. I had been thinking about this day for years; it was time to celebrate! I was excited to extend my coaching services through Stability Within and to devote more time and energy to my blog, Moving Forward with Mary. I was also happy to have more time for my hobbies: tennis, piano, gardening, cooking, reading, outdoor fun, and getting together with family and friends. I greeted each new day with fresh enthusiasm. My speed for “moving forward” was about to accelerate.
One lovely June Sunday afternoon, my husband, Robert, and I were playing tennis. The temperature was mild, the weather slightly breezy, and we were getting in gear for our first tennis match of the summer. We were making a memory and enjoying the moment. What happened next stopped me in my tracks.
I tripped while charging the net. Fortunately, I caught my fall with my right hand protecting my head and back, but it came with a price. The crunching of bones and disfiguration of my right wrist sent us immediately to the ER. Four days later, I returned for orthopedic surgery involving a metal plate and seven screws. Following surgery, I went home to begin my recovery period. It took about two weeks to adjust to life using only one arm. I stopped resisting it and accepted it for what it was. This wasn’t the plan and definitely was an intrusion of my exciting summer plans, but I was managing. Then, one night as we were getting ready for bed, my right knee suddenly gave way. I felt a shift and a snap in the back of my knee which left me limping, and only for short distances. I was limited in what I could do and limited in where I could walk. I was left with little mobility and frustrated at the current circumstances.
The question was begging to be answered. Would I consider each day a gift from God or waste days feeling angst which would actually work against the healing process? It took self-love, compassion, forgiveness to surrender what I wanted. This compassion enabled me to look for the blessings and the lessons in my waiting season, opportunities disguised as misfortunate events.
The smallest progress toward recovery became a celebration. I was thankful. I kept a gratitude journal which reminded me how blessed I was each and every day, despite the roadblocks.
By the time August arrived, my knee was healing, my mobility increasing, and on August 12th, the x-ray confirmed a healed arm. You may know Physical Therapy from home requires a hefty dose of determination and patience to perform the painful exercises several times a day. I had a choice. It would be up to me to choose pain over comfort in order to enjoy the long-term benefits. I left my surgeon’s office that day with renewed energy, excitement, and joy of anticipation for the birth of our third grandchild whose due date was quickly approaching. June and July were not what I expected, and now I was healed and ready to get on with my plans, to live life to the full. My time of waiting was over.
The following day, Robert and I drove 600 miles to Ohio to be with family. We had plans to keep our two young grandchildren while mom and dad were at the hospital. Then, only two days before inducement, my left eye, without warning, flooded with dark, seaweed-looking floaters. No pain, no sensations, but there it was. Within two hours, I saw only blurry silhouettes of light and darkness. I was faced with the urgent need to see an ophthalmologist and retina specialist within the next 24 hours. Uncertainty, uncharted waters, and the unknown outcome were a lot to take on just 36 hours before inducement was scheduled. It was difficult to wrap my head around what had just happened, and the timing of it. (Here’s where I remind myself to keep breathing!)
The next morning, I wanted to shut down. I didn’t want to begin another ordeal of seeing a specialist, making necessary decisions, undergoing the knife, or whatever, then, waiting for another healing. It was my time to have fun, to support family, and to resume normal activities. Thankfully, my daughter encouraged me to just call; to just take the first step. And I did. Sometimes taking the first step can be the hardest part.
An initial laser procedure bought me two days for my husband and I to stay with the grandchildren; such a blessing! Soon after a second laser procedure the following week, the retina specialist determined eye surgery was necessary. This was the biggest hurdle for me. I really did not want to undertake a second surgery. The outcome was uncertain and the initial recovery period was not fun. I felt weary, I wanted to wallow in my disappointment, and fret over my separation from family as my eye recovered. I faced most mornings with a glaring question: give in to wallowing or find the blessings? It’s now been six weeks since the initial tear. My eyesight has returned, my eye gets a little stronger daily. Today, I even wore contacts and makeup to church.
I have done a great deal of reflection regarding my last four months. It’s uncanny how the atypical events happened one after another after another and during critical life events. I am, as weird as it sounds, thankful for the adversity. There was deeper awareness and appreciation in the experience, which will enrich and enhance my life for as long as God keeps me breathing. I’d like to share them with you now.
I had to practice focusing my attention on what I was able to do and less about those things I couldn’t do. It slowed me down enough to listen to my inner voice. I realized my tendency to feel responsible for how others feel or what they think about my choices and behaviors and my subtle desire to make everything ok.
I am learning to forgive myself fully, to love myself just as I am, to live in each present moment, and to know that I am who I am as God created and planned. The big surprise to me was this: I’ve talked about these things for years and have even practiced these things, although now, my awareness and understanding go deeper. I am learning to live it more naturally, not in my head, but in my heart. That’s where “the rubber meets the road” as my dad used to say.
I now have a greater appreciation for the value of community and the power of friends and family. I felt loved and cared for with a deeper sense of belonging as a result of receiving the outpouring of love, prayers, and messages from friends and family. You see, it’s always been easy for me to give to others. Receiving has been the challenge. It’s ok to have needs, to let others do for us, to see us struggle and go through difficult times, something I’ve not done well in the past. Life is not about the doing until it is first about the being.
I recently heard a quote by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which brings me calm: “The best thing to do when it is raining is to let it rain.”
I am currently greeting each day with a heightened awareness for my life, my blessings, my relationships, the value of mindfulness, my health, and those things for which I hold dear.
This blog is written as I exit this season of waiting, healing, and developing. What is in front of you, dear one? What is in need of your attention? Are you currently in a season of waiting, of struggles, of challenges that just won’t quit?
Let me encourage you...
You are not your circumstances.
Life is an accumulation of moments.
Consider what you’re grateful for as you learn to forgive and love yourself just as you are.
Embrace community and receive from others.
Focus on that thing in front of you.
...Then, “let it rain”.
Some things we can’t change, although there is much we can, including our perspective for situations, the attitudes we’ll choose, the priority of immediate pleasure or long-term growth (as with physical therapy), and the meaning you give to what happens. We are not victims. We are women created by our Father God. In our weakness, He is strong. He is the source of our strength.
If you feel stuck, trapped by limitations, and are having trouble getting past the challenges, consider allowing me to come alongside you. We can move forward together. Head over to my contact page and reach out about a complimentary hour consultation so I can hear about you!
Blessings to you, my dear friend! Thank you for visiting Stability Within and for reading my blog! I am honored you came for a visit and look forward to your return.
Be Well, Be Curious, Be YOU!