I had a long-awaited cataract removal on my right eye in May. I’m too young to have cataracts but they are a well known side effect of a medication commonly used to treat my Psoriatic Arthritis. Much to my delight it was an easy, absolutely pain-free and the return of eyesight was a joyous experience.
Then on July 30 I underwent a major orthopedic surgery on my left foot. I expected to feel poorly for a few days but was confident I would bounce back like in no time. While the pain has been minimal, so has the bounce back.
On August 11 I had cataract surgery on my other eye. My spirit and body felt weary, but I talked myself into believing that it was no big deal to move forward with his surgery because my first was so easy and the benefit would be instantaneous. Oh brother…not what I experienced. I did have pain. The pressure in my eye was too high and had to be drained the day following surgery. My eyesight did not return as quickly as it did with the first eye, and I felt beat up. The best thing I could do for myself was simply close my eyes and go to sleep. It was during this time between closing my eyes and the brief prayer of, “This is not what I expected” the word grounded came to me.
I feel like an airplane that is at the gate ready to escort it’s passengers on their chosen journey. While the mechanics were reviewing all the systems they found serious issues that made flying before repairs were performed unwise. The flaws weren’t easily repaired and the plane was taken to the hanger where it would undergo the care necessary to fly safely.
I took our living room recliner hostage. It is where I sat, slept, ate…around the clock except for brief trips to get a drink, use the restroom, or change clothes. A couple of years ago client told me about Sybil Macbeth’s Praying in Color. It taught me that I can sit and doodle, create designs, and pray while doing so. My daughter set up a table next to my recliner, stocked with coloring books and colored pencils. As I sat, for hours upon hours and days upon days, I started out mindlessly coloring. It didn’t take long before God brought family, needs, things I am thankful for, clients, and future dreams to my heart as I colored and prayed. This time left me feeling full, blessed, and connected.
I also sat and listened to my own heart — where this season of grounding took me in my own life stories where lies poke at me.
The season of being grounded is an extended Sabbath. I found I had time to write, pray, and look forward, as my body healed.
Not easy or fun. I had to let go of control in so many ways. I could have focused on all I wasn’t doing and wanted to be doing but that only serves to invite despair and that wasn’t a choice I was willing to make.
As often happens when mechanics set about repairing one thing, another shows up and delays departure even longer. During the routine chest x-ray a multi-nodular complex cyst-filled goiter was found on my left thyroid gland. It is a concern because it is displacing my trachea and because the cysts are complex.
My plans were that all would be well by the end of August. I didn’t have the emotional nor physical energy to think to another surgery. My foot remained in a cast until they were sure the bone marrow grafts were taking and I could safely walk. I had a choice as to how to enter the delayed plans. I was ready for the season to change. I chose to enter the grief, fear and loss, while holding onto hope.
For now, I choose to believe God remains enough, and loves the playfulness of coloring in this season of grounding.
Annette Schuster lives in Phoenix AZ. She has 3 daughters and 5 grandchildren. She is passionate about entering into the stories of those have given up hope that God is good and rejoices when they begin to live out their hope-filled dreams. Founder and Executive Director of Kids Need to Know Foundation Inc., she educates parents, children, and leaders of churches on how to reduce the risk of experiencing sexual abuse. She writes here.