The Full Time Job of Healing 


I am on medical leave. For the first time in many, many years I have time. I am not moving. I am not job hunting. I am not on limited vacation time. Instead, my full time job right now is to heal. 

It is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done. 

Here’s why: 

  1. Healing takes discipline. It takes discipline to set aside time for physical therapy. It takes discipline to eat properly, discipline to not just veg out and binge on television shows. It takes effort to get up in the morning when you hurt, discipline to put your feet on the ground. I am not disciplined and at heart, I’m pretty lazy. I would far rather have a quick fix then a slow, steady process. But healing has its own agenda and schedule., and it demands discipline. 
  2. Healing takes rest. So much of physical and emotional healing is about resting. And true resting is when both your body and soul are at rest. I find myself trying to rest, but my mind buzzes anxiously with thoughts about what I think I should be doing, how I think I should be reacting. Rest is uncommon in the Northeast. Instead, what is applauded is achievement, academic success, graduating from top schools, busy and successful career paths. Rest is something that we don’t talk about or give permission for, instead opting to glorify busy. But healing demands rest. Our bodies have undergone trauma – whether it be from surgery, from illness, or from an accident. The body’s needs for rest increase. Our bodies also need proper nutrition to augment the rest. 
  3. Healing takes humility. Giving up control is hard. Having to have others help you dress, bathe, cook, drive, clean, even put on your shoes is deeply humbling. Actively watching out for self-pity is also humbling. It’s easy to clothe self-pity into “well I’m just being honest about how I feel..” But at the end of the day, it’s still self-pity. It takes humility to follow the guidelines and restrictions of others, to trust medical personnel. It takes humility to allow strangers into your home to see how you live, and to give you suggestions and ideas of how to live better. It takes humility to accept that healing doesn’t happen on the timeline we request. It takes humility to respond to questions about our bodies, to use assistive devices when we go out the door. 
  4. Healing takes time. Above all, this is true.  Neither physical nor emotional healing comes quickly. Instead it’s a long journey.  Yes, there are things we can do to heal as quickly as possible, but ultimately it still takes time. 

And so I have time – and my only job during this time is to heal. 

Years ago, I listened to a recording of a woman who spoke on suffering. It was a powerful talk and I probably listened to it over fifty times in the course of the next few years. One of the many things she said was this: 

Our churches are full of wounded and hurting people who have never taken a season to heal. 

These words are profoundly true – true for the ones who need physical healing, true for the ones who need emotional healing. 

So I will not fight this season, nor will I wish it away. Instead, I gratefully accept my season to heal, and the gift of time. 

14 thoughts on “The Full Time Job of Healing 

  1. Marilyn, This is so so good….may I share it on my Interval Coaching FB page?? So important…I also loved Hospital Time…so true. Like Island Time…only different. Though, the hospital is a kind of kind of island for some…

    I have an idea I wanted to pass by you when you feel up to it. A Mastermind group…curious about your thoughts and interest level. Are you at a place in your healing where you want some distraction or where your energy is still mostly given to rest and self care?

    May this time be restorative and restful and filled with continued insight. Warmly, Carolyn

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m finding it takes even longer to heal when there’s a combination of physical (major surgery- which has removed the risk of further bowel cancer) AND emotional (my mum became very ill just 3 weeks after my op- active treatment was stopped and “end of life” care was in place for 8 days, during which time our mum improved) healing required at the same time. And resting rather than doing is not always encouraged in our task-oriented culture. Patience and wisdom are much needed…

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  3. Excellent post, Marilyn. As I am healing and preparing for surgery, I am finding the benefits of peace and joy in the Lord. I am thinking of Phil. 4: 4-9 and Paul’s ending of “put it into practice and the peace of God will be with you.” I have also been re-reading a devotional book by Joy Ridderhof titled REJOICE ALWAYS. I did not find it in print now but it ought to be. Meanwhile I found her bio available to read on line.

    http://globalrecordings.net/en/count-it-all-joy plus the following links

    http://www.heresthejoy.com/2011/04/the-joy-of-joy-ridderhof/

    http://globalrecordings.net/en/380 Brief bio

    She has been an inspiration for me for years. You can add some joy to your healing with these links.
    With love and blessings as you heal. …Mildred Salmon

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  4. Thank you for this, Marilyn! I am coming up on double knee replacement surgery in July, and I can truly see myself needing this kind of reminder to be patient and allow healing to become my full time job.

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  5. Beautiful post. I have had the task of healing from multiple complex surgeries and now face the task of heallng from losing my adult son. The principles you put forward are helpful and sound. Thank you! May the Lord bless you as you heal and as you honor Him in your healing.

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  6. oh Marilyn thank you…while I healed…and I am thankful that my body has healed in its own way (this humility of realizing that the medical profession is still in the “learning” is yet another challenge)….I enjoyed visits from friends I didn’t usually see, sitting with each one in our twin “lounge chairs”…and chatting like we never had done before…I also enjoyed reading more and miss that now…taking the time to live …more slowly
    wishing you “good” healing

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  7. I was just about to shower, but now my mowers are here! Sure hope I can get a nap later in the day! I live on a very quiet street, but not this morning!

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  8. Oh, so true, Marilyn! I am absolutely hating my new chemo drug so far, it has made me feel weaker, sicker, yuck-er than anything previously. And recovering from being so profoundly poisoned is taking longer, and I really hate that part in particular! I am somewhat grumpy this morning, too, because roofers seem to have started work next door over an hour before I got my night’s sleep in. No, I didn’t stay up late intentionally, we had a thunderstorm last night. Why is anyone getting loud carpentry work done on a house the week we have 40 to 60% rain chances every single day?! You see the drift of my grumping? The world is not ordering itself around my current needs, and so I am not happy! Plus I resent my new chemo being so awful. I was doing well resting in the Lord until this deepening misery hit–now, I am being tested, and I don’t like it! And yet, even in all of my grumps, it is well with my soul. Thank You, Lord!

    So all of that was part being honest and part identifying with you. Let’s heal together!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I love your honesty! I have thought of you SO much these days and the long journey you are on. Thank you for tuning in to this space and communicating well within it. I don’t take that lightly or for granted. Love to you and yes – let’s heal together.

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