Entries in patience (4)
We live in a world with pain; intense, distant pain of senseless tragedy and heartache. Pain so close it can eat at our soul. We long for safety. We hope for a place to rest.
Pain in the deepest parts of ourselves. We all know it. We all manage it. Or deny it and run as fast as we can. Oh, the things we do with pain.
Pain in those closest to you. Why do we trample over those we love? We diminish their pain because we don’t know how to fix it.
And most times we can’t fix their pain. So we distance ourselves.
Pain in the world. Overwhelming. We either crumble or close our eyes.
So, I say to you:
~ Don’t walk alone.
~ Pay attention - Hear what pain is whispering to you.
~ Rest and Breathe - Sometimes it is too much.
~ Be gentle - Walk slowly and safely into pain. You are on sacred ground.
“Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain.” ― Bob Dylan
“We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.” ― Marcel Proust
The day that I intellectually knew would arrive in my life came a bit unexpectedly on April 25th. My appointment with my cardiologist was planned for five months and it was a follow-up to check on a bad aortic valve that I had had as long as I could remember. My health was good but my tests were bad… bad enough that my doctor strongly suggested surgery for a valve replacement. I was a bit stunned but not shocked. I knew that the surgery would one day be necessary, but I was feeling so well! After hours of thought and days of prayer, Renee and I both felt that it was time to take the step. I am writing these words nineteen days after my surgery and am doing well so far. Here are some post-op lessons:
1. You cannot rush recovery. I am an impatient man and prone to make things happen faster if I deem the pace is too slow. Recovery, however, has a pace all its own, and taking the requisite time to heal is the fastest way to true recovery.
2. Pain is a tutor. Instead of masking pain, learning from it is necessary in understanding the healing process. I don’t care for pain, but I need to heed it at every turn and allow it to teach me the best direction to head for my healing.
3. Taking care of your heart is a good thing. It is true… you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Having attention drawn to one vital part of your physiology is a true attention getter. Blood pressure, beats per minute, arrhythmia… all these factors are crucial in living a healthy life. I need to pay attention!
4. Life is best lived moment to moment, not event to event. Seizing the moment is the best way to live life. Too much is missed otherwise. I am continually struck with the fact that every day is chock full of wonderful stuff, stuff that is too easily missed if I don’t pay attention.
5. God is the One who heals. Certainly this is a no-brainer for believers, but it is all the more poignant when one’s life hangs in the operating room balance. The only time I was brought to tears before my surgery was in the waiting room of my surgeon’s office. In that room hangs a painting of an operating room scene with a surgeon and his team working on a patient. Standing next to the surgeon, guiding his hands, stands Jesus, the Great Physician. It still brings tears to my eyes…
6. Doctors and nurses are key instruments in God’s healing. What wonderful people! Words cannot express my gratitude…
7. Each day of healing is a unique journey. Ups and downs are inevitable in the healing journey, and even though I knew this, I am reminded of this process every day. Patience…
8. Family and friends are a healing balm. My wife’s care, my family’s comfort, my friends’ concern all join together to make the burden lighter and the days less stressful. I thank God for them all.
I’m still in the healing process, but I trust the learning process will never cease. Thanks to all of you for your love, care and concern. I love you right back!
“Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the Spiritual Life.” - Simone Weil
“Patience is everything.” - Rainer Maria Rilke
How many times in our life have we been told to have patience, or be patient, or patience gets us to good places? How many times are we telling others the same thing? Somehow, in some way, our patience is tested every day. Whether it is a child, a spouse, a friend, a line at the grocery store, or being on the phone dealing with some sort of business item with an automated voice telling us what to do and to wait. It is constant.
As Simon Weil wrote, “When it comes to the Spiritual Life, patience is everything.” We cannot rush growth and we cannot rush God. Somehow His timing is perfect!! Waiting patiently can be one of life's hardest tasks, but most rewarding if genuinely understood and practiced. It tests us…try's us…causes us to grow if we allow it to. It also can bring a sense of deep healing in our lives and relationships around us. Patience is virtuous. It will cause us to get to a different place with God, others, and ourselves.
I heard a sermon on patience yesterday, probably my 3,451st sermon on patience. But apparently even after 3,451 sermons, I still have not gotten a grip on it. As our pastor began to outline what patience is supposed to look like, I found myself, feeling a readjustment coming on. It was a good reminder that God is in control of everything and my job is to be faithful...and patient, in the little and big things. That's the thing about patience, it covers everything, from patience with the people we come in contact with daily, to patience with our family (who seem to have the ability to test our patience more than most), to patience with our place in life (which is generally not exactly where we planned it would be).
Here's the cool thing about patience, most people assume it is for the people around you. For example, not going off on the barista who just messed up your coffee order again, but in reality, the practice of patience is more for us. As you become more patient, your anxiety decreases and you have a lot more energy to focus on the things that really matter.
Patience is a choice, but we can only choose it if we remember that it is something we WANT to choose. Meaning, it is not going to be easy to be patient if we allow our emotions to take hold without putting them through the filter of patience. Honestly, I did that this weekend. My sister was married on Saturday in a fabulous ceremony. There was a lot to do getting ready for the event, and a lot of flexibility and adjustment needed. I went through the entire weekend without even thinking I needed to approach it with patience. It never even ENTERED my brain, until Sunday evening at 6pm in a chair at church when it full on smacked me in the face.
So today I'm beginning my day (and everyday this week) putting patience in my face, literally. I've written notes to myself on my bathroom mirror and in my car, even on my phone reminding me to put patience on my radar. And now I'm sharing it with you. Will you join me this week by reminding yourself to take a breath and apply patience?