Life & Health Theology

Meditations on Surgery IX: Things I am now Thankful for…

February 23, 2010

Here is a brief list of personal victories that I have had within the past few days. Most of these are things I could do with ease and took for granted before surgery. Needless to say, after having an 8-inch incision that spans most of my abdomen and post-surgery complications that landed me in the hospital for 17 days, there were many things I couldn’t do. But here are some of the things I’ve done recently that I now see as “personal victories” (in no particular order). Much of these are because I am now off of all antibiotics and medications:

1)  I can now outrun Charissa (the Briix’s 3-year-old)! Before she would catch me if I didn’t outsmart, hide from, or evade her.

2) Yesterday I had two 40-minute conversations on the phone! I believe my average time before was 3:30 and my longest conversation clocked in at 7:59, which left me exhausted.

3) I no longer fall asleep while I have visitors! I did this multiple times in the hospital.

4) I made it through an entire game of Agricola without needing a break! While I was on antibiotics I had to stop halfway through Small World and finish the game the next day.

5) I put both of my socks and shoes on my own feet on Sunday! Before Tanya or Steve had to help me.

6) I finished two 20 pg. articles on theology for a class, and comprehended everything! I tried before and couldn’t make it 2 pages before falling asleep.

7) I have lifted up to 22lbs (Asher, the Briix’s 9-month-old) without straining myself! For weeks I was limited to 5lbs.

8) Although it takes me some effort, I am now able to pick up things I’ve dropped on the floor (without my toes)!

9) I can eat fibrous foods like salad and shrimp and not worry about getting blocked up! I never thought I’d miss salad so much until I couldn’t eat it for a month.

10) And finally, I actually have a mind and can concentrate on things for long periods of time! You don’t realize how good it is to actually be productive until you literally are unable to do anything for weeks.

In hindsight, it’s amazing to me how excited I got about all of these things when I was able to do them again. You never know what you have until it’s gone. George MacDonald says, “This losing of things is of the mercy of God: it comes to teach us to let them go,” but I think that it is the grace of God that lets us regain what we have lost in order to appreciate it so much. Perhaps that is why I have grown fond of the practice of Lent.

Perhaps we could all benefit from losing things we take for granted or value too much, as long as we see it as the grace of a loving God instead of the anger of a Cosmic Sadist. Perspective changes everything, even loss. What a glorious thing loss can be! Christ changes everything, as he should — if only we had eyes to see it…

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