Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Two years makes all the difference.

Well, it is not really the time itself that make the difference, but all that went into the two years...love and care of friends, teammates, family, parishioners, colleagues, good doctors of all kinds, God. Let me explain.

Two years ago this week, during my first-ever sabbatical, I went joyfully off to the Masters Nationals Rowing Championships in Oklahoma City, where on the first stroke of the first start of the first race I knew that I had injured myself quite badly. My roommate Mary Alice asked about it after that first sleepless night...and I mumbled something or another and simply upped my ibuprofen consumption for the next three days. Hey, we had a regatta to win!  It was not until we carried the boats back to load them onto the trailer that I realized my shoulder was not holding. Uh oh.

Back home for major surgery and the dreaded six weeks in a sling and an extended absence (after a sabbatical...yikes!)  from work. I do not think I have ever experienced as much pain as that first day of physical therapy. My PT said "it is never going to be worst than it is today". She touched me and asked "do you think you will cry?" and I whispered "no, but I may pass out."  I have always overly proud of my high pain threshold. I learned some humility that day. I gained new appreciation for the pain scale. Now I understand.

For several reasons that are unimportant today, two years ago was about the lowest time of my life. In the middle of it, I did not know how I was going to survive. The people around me were my saving grace.

I have learned about letting go completely. I have always been one of those people who needs a two by four knock upside the head to understand. This was a knockout blow of the first order and I let go, I had to.

My parishioners and my teammates and my friends and my colleagues and my family and my doctors and God cared for me. Fed me, drove me, helped me sleep, encouraged me when I was down, pushed me forward when I needed a push. Simply sat with me when that was all I could do.  I look back over these past two years and give great thanks for all of these people who helped me make it through.

I was looking through my Oklahoma pictures recently and found this one of a detail of a scupture of a Native American warrior. I like the image of 'holding', which is what I did for dear life. At the same time, I did necessarily let go completely, which is of course one of life's great paradoxes and, ultimately, freedoms.

Two years really does make all the difference.

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