After stillness was forced upon me due to a ruptured Achilles tendon, I found myself cuddling more with my kids (and I’m not a super big cuddler) simply because I could not do much more than that. Could my kids and my husband adjust to this new normal of doing everything for mom and for themselves?
The short answer was, yes.
Not only did they adjust to our new normal but meals were provided, laundry was done, kids were driven to their activities, and the house was cleaner than it ever had been before my injury.
How is that possible?
I went from feeling sorry for my family to feeling sorry for myself since obviously they could do life much better without me. During those first few days of recovery, I began to feel bitter toward my husband Greg, the eternal optimist, who “encouraged” me with his cheery words of comfort and hope. He read me scripture passages of God’s goodness. Then, one day, it was too much and I lost it. I know God is good and he always will be. I know he is deserving of and worthy of my praise and always will be. But in that moment, I told Greg that all I needed to hear from him was “this stinks”. I needed to hear that everything in my world was turned upside down. I needed to hear how awful it was to lose so many relationships that had been a consistent part of my life for over a year.
I couldn’t really explain what I was feeling (mostly because I’ve never been very good at explaining my feelings), and luckily I didn’t have to since our good friend Vaneetha had perfectly put into words what I was trying to communicate in a post she had written just days earlier.
She described a conversation with a friend whose husband had just received a scary diagnosis:
“To my friend, easy comfort and reassurance feels hollow. She doesn’t want a, “Don’t worry, it’ll all be fine,” type of comfort. That comfort feels whitewashed; it isn’t based on truth.”
Exactly. My situation is nothing like receiving news of a cancer diagnosis, but Vaneetha’s words ran true for both Greg and I and we were able to move forward in the truth of our circumstances.
The self-pity did not last long and the hard lessons on being still and being satisfied began. There were no classes to teach, no playdates to organize, no museum trips to take, no library runs to make, no chores to do, no running over to camp for a few minutes to help out. Because my calendar was wide open, these past 10 weeks have been some of the richest in terms of relationships that I’ve had all year. This whole process got me thinking about what it means to truly thrive as a family. Have I been missing out of life since my surgery? It doesn’t feel like it.
What about you? What activities on your calendar have been zapping the life out of your family?