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