Well, I’m fixed. Sorta. One week ago, I was at Duke getting my shoulder cut, drilled, and screwed back together. They say I had a biceps tenodesis, capsulorrhaphy, and a labral repair. In layman’s terms, my shoulder was jacked. But jacked no more! I am officially on the mend.
Surgery day was actually quite decent. Because every significant life event deserves its own Spotify playlist, the calming melodies of Jay Z and Taylor Swift gently crooned away our anxiety on the 4:30am drive to Durham. Matt would sweetly ask me how I was feeling, and I’d turn the music up louder. Because I worked HARD on that mix, yo. Also, I apparently can’t cope.
Anyway, the rest of the day was a breeze. My care at the surgery center was fantastic, I had a fabulous nap thanks to the blessed anesthesiologist, I woke up with a blissfully numb arm, and my PACU nurse brought me endless refills of Diet Coke. I felt great. Life was great. This shoulder surgery stuff? It ain’t no thing.
And then days 2-4 hit. Hard. I remember a few things from those days: pain, nausea, and drug-induced delirium. Oh and Matt. Because he’s been the hero around here, people.
He’s been my nurse, keeping flawless records of my meds. Refilling my ice machine at all hours of the night. Ensuring that every contraption, wire, and tube was in its proper place at the proper time.
He’s been my stylist, washing my hair in the bathroom sink and brushing it into ponytails.
He’s taken up all of the slack at home- running carpools, packing lunches, and wiping counters. Never a complaint to be heard.
And he’s handled my tears of frustration, pain, and exhaustion. Because, quite honestly, this has been harder than I had thought. The pain? I can deal with that. But, as predicted, it’s been my dependence on others that has been the hardest on me. It’s when I’m postured to receive help that I’m most often reduced to tears. Why? Because it admits defeat. That “I can’t”.
So my brilliant response? To stubbornly refuse help. Or to try anyway, independent to the end. Just this morning, Matt came home from preschool drop-off to find me crouched on the floor of our bathroom. Eyes dripping with tears. Head dripping from my freshly shampooed hair. In Matt’s brief absence, I had convinced myself that I could totally handle washing my own hair in the sink. That this girl needed to regain some semblance of independence, and my sink baths would be attempt #1. Suffice it to say that it didn’t go well.
So, with that precious experience and a rocky first week under my belt, I’m stepping into week #2 with a different approach. I’m launching into this next week laying it all on the table. That I can’t do it all. That I am weak. That two steps forward might sometimes mean there will be one step back, and that’s okay.
Because here’s the thing I’m (slowly. very slowly.) beginning to realize- if I continue along this path of meeting all of my own needs, smug in my own self-sufficiency and yet quietly dying inside in a state of utter exhaustion from all of my doing and trying and striving, I am only robbing myself of divinely appointed opportunities to experience God’s grace and power.
Those words spoken to Paul so many years ago- “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinth. 12:9)- are not just meant to be plastered on a coffee cup or cheesy Christian wall-hanging. They’re supposed to be lived. Because Jesus’ words are no less relevant today than they were 2,000 years ago.
So that’s what I’m setting out to accomplish this week. To live those words. To rest in the freedom that they foster. I’m just an emotional, bum-armed, halfway-shampooed mess in need of the extravagant grace that Christ has already promised. And I know that His grace is way more than enough.