Today is my second full day at home post-surgery. I have been given strict orders to rest, to walk around the house throughout the day, to not lift anything heavier than ten pounds, no housework or yard work of any kind, no driving, no bending…pretty much to restrict my activity and sit in my chair with an ice pack on my tummy…for up to four weeks (or longer if I don’t follow doctor’s orders). For a woman who has been described as someone who runs around like her ‘hair is on fire’ on numerous occasions, this mandated period of recovery could prove to be a challenge. However, I’m trying to view it all in a different light- to learn things about myself, to learn how to be still, to be more aware of the beauty of silence and of the peace of my home. This time of recovery might just turn out to be a really great gift, as challenge can often be, if I will just be open to it.
This morning was absolutely gorgeous- blue skies, puffy white clouds, a light breeze that made the trees dance, and comfortable temps. I decided to leave my usual resting place of my comfy big chair downstairs in the living room, and slowly headed up with the dogs to sit on the decks to make the most of this lovely day. Before I settled, I went to visit Secret Garden to check on my flowers. Secret Garden is at the back of our property, an area that was horrible when we first moved to Chez Gainey fourteen years ago; the previous owner had used it as a car battery graveyard, and it was covered in weeds and broken glass. I saw it as the Charlie Brown Christmas tree part of our yard and adopted it, pouring a lot of love and blood, sweat and tears into it over the years. It will never be pictured in Better Homes and Gardens, but it’s a place that is special to me now. It raised my spirits to find so many things growing robustly, with blooms popping out riotously all over. Spring is my favorite time of year, and seeing plants that I have put into the earth with my own hands grow and bloom makes my heart sing- healing in its own way.
I settled into the ‘GG Chair’ (a wonderfully cozy rocker chair that belonged to Dan’s mom, GG, that we say has palliative powers), and looked around me. Everything is so green and lush right now, and Dan has done an amazing job with the plants on the decks- it’s our own little urban jungle. The dogs were thrilled to be outside; Sophie always happy at my feet or very close by, Coops ever hopeful that I’ll play tug and throw the red ball over and over- which I’m not allowed to do right now…sorry, Coops! The birds were in full chorus, and I couldn’t help but be filled with gratitude for this funky old home of ours, our very own oasis in the city. We have found such joy and peace here over the years, and no matter what we’ve gone through, home has been a healing place on so many levels.
At lunchtime, Dan (aka, ‘Mr. MacKenzie’, my husband’s home repair alter ego), came home to make lunch for us- but first, a bit of lighting repair. One of the long strands of lights that hangs from the top deck down to the lower level of the house had somehow come crashing down, leaving broken glass right in the path of the downstairs dog door. I wasn’t able to help him as I normally would, so I could only watch- with much gnashing of teeth- as he pulled out not only the regular ladder, but the big extension ladder, too, to deal with the situation. He, of course, had to mug for me before he got down to work. Oh, how I love this goofy man.
During the heat of the day, I went back inside to appreciate our home in a different way. From the sun porch, it feels like we live in a big tree fort in Spring. The trees seem more effulgent than they have ever been this year, almost looking like one big magical creature surrounding the house in constant motion, the birds darting in and around as they stop in at the swaying bird feeder for a snack. In the dining room, I smiled as I looked at the beautiful flowers and thoughtful cards that have been sent to me from students, friends, and colleagues. How lucky am I to be surrounded by so many wonderfully caring people in my life? I felt such peace as I slowly ambled from room to room. Our home is not fancy, but it is ecclectic and cozy and filled with love. I wouldn’t trade it with any other place in the world.
While I am resting, healing, and growing stronger over the next few weeks, I don’t want to miss any opportunity to appreciate my life and the gifts of love and friendship that surround me like a forcefield. Sometimes it takes something to stop us, to pull us from the frenzied treadmill we put ourselves on, to wake us up. I like to think that I am always grateful for my life and everything in it, but I hope to use this quieter time to learn to be more in the moment, to feel the wonder of the richness of life. Now is not the time to wallow in self-pity for being unable to do things. Instead, I want to relish in this gift of quiet and solitude, in the blessing of the time to be able to step away from normal life and celebrate everything and everyone from a new perspective. That in itself will be healing- not only in regards to my recent surgery, but to my very spirit.