When the Healing Comes Slow

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abby norman -when the healing comes slow-3

Fourteen days ago I went into the hospital. If you follow me on social media, you know that in January I was diagnosed with achalasia. Basically my esophagus stopped swallowing. It’s as uncomfortable as it sounds. After three months of a totally liquid diet, I was more than happy to go under the knife in order to be able to eat a sandwich again.

I heard loud and clear that I was supposed to take a week off for recovery. I found someone else to preach for me and stayed on my couch for a week, even getting other people to pick up my kids and feed them dinner while I fell in and out of consciousness on the couch. I had heard healing would take a week. I scheduled a week, and then I found that a week was not nearly enough.

At one week I could go without the pain meds during the day and drive the car to the girls’ school, but I still needed about twelve hours of sleep a night. Getting myself to school was not going to happen. I forced myself to a meeting I had scheduled, thinking I had given myself “plenty of time,” only to be completely wiped out by the effort for about three days.

I may have decided it would take a week to recover, but my body had other plans. Even laparoscopic abdominal surgery is hard. It doesn’t matter how perfectly the procedure went, when someone rebuilds your stomach, it takes a minute for your body to catch up. Everything happens in tiny steps. Everything happens slowly. First you drink broth, then you get Jell-O. If everything goes well, you can have a popsicle–as long as there are no chunks.

I like being known as a badass, someone who takes life by the horns and handles the business. However, my body has other plans. Turns out healing doesn’t care–like even a little–about the kind of reputation you have carefully cultivated about yourself.

Here’s the thing about healing: there’s nothing I can do to hurry this process. I can’t do anything but rest. I can’t do anything but wait. Any striving I might do is only going to make it worse. Pretending nothing is wrong hasn’t been working well either, in fact it makes things worse.

One of the hardest things about healing is having to be honest about the fact that I am not quite well, that I can’t do everything I used to be able to do, that I still need to give myself more space, more time, more tender loving care.

I think in some ways physical healing is easier to talk about than emotional healing.

If you really want to know why I am taking the elevator, only eating soft foods or using the handicap button to open the heavy doors at school, I can show you my scars. They are still right there stuck together by the surgical glue I’m not allowed to scrub off. It isn’t the same as emotional healing. I can’t just show you my emotional scars. That doesn’t mean they are any less real.

There are emotional scars from my past that I thought I was over. Then some things came up and well, it turns out that was not the case. There is still healing to be done. It would have been so much easier to pretend I am okay. To ignore the sharp pain that comes when a tender spot is kicked with something I read or a word I encountered.

It turns out I need more time to heal. I need more rest. I need more space. I just plain need more time. That doesn’t make me weak, and it doesn’t make me broken, it just means the healing isn’t finished yet.

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Abby Norman
Abby Norman lives, and loves in the city of Atlanta. She lives with her two hilarious children and a husband that doubles as her biggest fan. When not mothering, teaching, parenting or “wifeing”, she blogs at accidentaldevotional.com. Abby loves to make up words and is excited by the idea that Miriam Webster says you can verb things.
Abby Norman

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Comments

  1. pastordt says:

    Oh, how I know this. ALL OF THIS. Be good to yourself. And patient. Physical healing is a huge wake-up call, forcing us to really see how tightly interwoven body/mind/spirit/heart truly are. And emotional healing?? I think we revisit loss/abuse/remembered pain regularly, even cyclically – sort of like a spiral, you know? At different ages/stages, we wind back by it. This gives us the chance to re-visit old pain with all we have learned and gained since the last time. Welcome it, Abby. Look at it again. See new ways God has shown up across time. Many, many blessings as you continue down the path of healing.

  2. sandyhay says:

    Yes Abby I know how much easier it is to pretend everything is ok. I’ve gotten a little smarter as I aged. But the temptation still creeps in.

  3. Jeng Dela Cruz says:

    Sometimes it’s the waiting for healing that makes us feel more sick. But writings like this one give comfort and remind us of something greater than physical illness– our inner strength. Thank you, Abby. <3

  4. Thanks, Abby, for offering up your own healing process as a parable, instructing us in the patience we should be gifting to ourselves in all our healing.
    You do inspire me by following your big dreams while staying close to all that’s dear to you.

    • Abby Norman says:

      OH Michelle. Oh man, these words….they are SUCH A GIFT to me. Such a gift to me. Thank you.

  5. Robyn Rapske says:

    Oh man. Resonating with you a lot. Keep up the humbling, slow work of healing.

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