What We Can’t Have

Week Two of foot surgery recovery and we’re still not having any fun. I’ve discovered that I’m not a very patient patient. I know now that it’s much easier to be the care giver than the care recipient. Whew. I’ll take waiting hand and foot (pun intended) over someone else any day.

The first day after the surgery, I was on pain medications and completely out of it. The second day was kinda fun, especially since my darling husband brought me chocolates and flowers and let me pick anything I wanted for supper. The meds took away my appetite, so that was a fairly easy choice, but nonetheless it was fun having the right to choose. The third day I started feeling like a slough-off and it’s been downhill since then.

Things are getting serious. The day before yesterday, I had an uncontrollable urge to sweep the stairways. Yesterday, I found myself yearning to scrub the toilets. Today, I was moping about mopping – or my lack thereof. At this point, even snow shoveling sounds inviting.

Here’s the weirdest part. For a month I’d been anticipating the surgery, plotting and planning for all the things I’d finally have time to do while I was immobilized. I’d read volumes of books, scribe belated greeting cards, return overdue phone calls, catch up on writing projects, reconnect with old friends, and wade through those columns of emails. I’d have the luxury to pray slowly and contemplatively. Yuppers, there were all kinds of great things I was going to do now that I was going to have the time to do them. Sure.

Instead, I’ve been spending all my time obsessing about what I can’t do rather than taking advantage of the things I can. I’ve been following my doctor’s orders – for the most part – but can’t resist the temptation to see how far that limit can be pushed. I can be a good girl for a while, resting and elevating and icing my foot – but then I get a surge of impatient and just have to get up and try to do something “normal”.

The other day, I took my son to a meeting at the Schoenstatt Retreat Center in Waukesha. I had clearance to drive, so thought I’d give it a try, figuring I could rest and elevate the foot while John was in his meeting. After the meeting, we decided to stop in the Marian Shrine on the grounds to greet our Blessed Mother. Navigating the heavy wooden door was a little tricky and my genuflection ended up being a cross between a profound bow and a curtsy. I clumsily maneuvered my oversized surgical boot into the pew. Enthused by my success thus far, I decided to try my hand…err…foot…at kneeling. I was down on the kneeler in a snap and without a flinch.

I was so happy to be there, visiting with my “Mom”. Going to the Shrine was one of the things I missed most since the surgery. I knelt and prayed for quite a while, thinking about all the people and situations in my life for which I needed to pray. I resolved to spend more time on my knees for these intentions. I wished I could have stayed longer, but rush hour was approaching and I wanted to avoid it. I finished my prayers and started to rise. Then I started again. And again. And again. Every approach I attempted put stress on the incision. I tried this position and that position, but none worked. I was stuck!

I burst out chuckling, startling the other people praying in the Shrine. The whole scene was simply comical. It’s almost as if Our Lady was trying to teach me a lesson with her wonderful, motherly sense of humor. I wanted to rebuff my doctor’s advice and spend more time on my knees praying, so she granted my wish in a very real way.

Isn’t that the way we humans are? We obsess a bout the things we can’t do instead of taking advantage of the things we can. We always want what we think we can’t have, and don’t want what we have. Like kneeling in the Shrine.

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