2012-02-29 - Time for Healing
Be still and know that I am God. Ps. 46:10 (ESV)
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles Is. 40:31
Im not a patient person. Anyone who knows me well could tell you that. Im not always patient with other people, but Im definitely not patient with myself. So, when I got what I call Intensive Care Unit sick with pneumonia in February of 2011, I had a lot to learn about the patience needed for the process of physical healing.
After spending five days in ICU and another five in a regular hospital room, I was finally sent home. I figured that, within a couple weeks, I could get back to work. I knew I would have to start off slowly, but was kind of eager for life to get back to normal. God, my body, and my pulmonologist had other ideas, though.
Take things slowly, Dr. Mayson said. Get a lot of rest. Get up and around as you feel able, but dont push yourself too hard. Youre immune system is still compromised. Youre still on medications to help your lungs heal. You have a stressful job. You need to give yourself time.
Since my goal was to get well and stay out of the hospital, I was very willing to do whatever Dr. Mayson said would be best. I knew he knew pneumonia a lot better than I did. I was supposed to rest and not stress over anything. Thats what my doctor said, so I decided to think of this as an actual "on paper" prescription. Having the decision for me to stay out longer, handed down from a higher authority, took away any pressure I was putting on myself to hurry up and get back to work and stop being lazy.
I realized I had a unique opportunity to concentrate on healing, without pressure of any kind to do anything else. That made so much difference in my ability to focus on the task before me. I tried to really listen to myself, as far as what felt comfortable and healthy. I rested and slept a lot. I started taking vitamin supplements. I got outside for a little sun and exercise, when the weather was warm enough. I was protective of my limited physical and emotional energy, and steered clear of all avoidable stress. I operated in energy storage and conservation mode. I was quiet a lot, choosing to let Mom handle most of my phone calls, and using email and Facebook to keep friends posted about how I was doing.
I began paying a lot of extra attention to small sensory things that made me feel better, too. I wore comfy clothes, read enjoyable or interesting audio books that seemed right for my slower mental speed, listened to music I liked, journaled about my experience to make sense of it, and appreciated little things that made me smile or laugh. I allowed myself to be entertained and distracted by TV shows I liked. If I wanted company, I sought out those close to me, the people I felt safest and most comfortable with. If I wanted time alone, I went off to myself and snuggled under a fuzzy blanket, with my yellow Labrador snoozing next to me. I just intuitively did whatever my body said it needed, either for literal physical reasons or for emotional/mental reasons.
I started doing so many things mindfully, because everything I did took more effort, and because I wasnt pushed for time and rushing to try and get so much done. I took each day as it came, and accepted operating at a slower pace. Regaining strength and health was a gradual process and there were setbacks. I got frustrated with myself at times. I had to come to terms with certain limitations, and humble myself enough to admit these limitations to other people.
I realized through this experience that healing happens in Gods time, not in ours. Obedience to Him (and to Dr. Mayson) was the key. I had to rely on those who were wiser and more experienced than me, and trust that they had my best interests at heart. If I hadnt, the process would have taken longer, and I could have gotten sick again.
There are times when God wants us to be more productive and involved, and times when He wants us to pull back and rest. Even Jesus had to take time to recharge, when He lived on Earth with human limitations. When we become depleted or ill, God may be telling us to step back and be less active and more meditative for a while. We get very caught up in being human doings when sometimes, we need to be human beings. Our job is to pay attention to which time and season God has us in, and to do what He wants from us at that time. His timetable may not suit us, but it truly is for our best.