At my checkup last week, the doc added five more pounds to my ten pound lifting limit (which doesn’t help much when my littlest is more than twice that weight), but at least it’s something. He also gave me the go ahead to try short drives. Thus far 5 miles round trip is doable; 15 miles round trip is asking for pain. I’m allowed to try short walks. The longest has been from the parking lot to the back of Target for box of toddler diapers (why are they so far away??), which my 9 year old lifted into the cart for me “because I am NOT letting you lift things yet!” She’s an old soul with a caretaker's heart for sure. Of course, most excitingly, I was cleared to have a little mental health outing: “You can go out for dinner, OR a movie. NOT both. No more than an hour or two.” We made the most of it. Eric got a babysitter, I put on a fun dress (The One With All The Happy Memories), and we went to our favorite sushi place. On the way home, we stopped for Amy's Ice Cream (yes, in defiance of doctor’s orders), and that left me ready to collapse before we made it back to our door, and still worn out and hurting the next morning. Moral of the story: Listen to your doctor, you stubborn, stiff-necked mule! (But when you have the opportunity to wear The Dress... wear The Dress.)
So much mental effort has been focused on my physical recovery, that I haven’t really had the chance to think very hard about how I actually feel about everything. I’m thankful for that. I’d like to be fit enough for frequent runs and visits to the gym before I really start any sort of serious self-examination again. My brain needs the counterbalance of regular endorphins, before I go creeping around in any cobwebby corners. A physical outlet is my primary requirement for having the capability to address this with any semblance of mental health.
I told a friend that in almost every truly dark period of my life, I’ve been most likely to react with (albeit very private) wailing and gnashing of teeth. I’ve shaken my fair share of clenched fists heavenward. Now as I accustom myself to the weight of this new cross, I cannot take credit for the peace I feel. I don’t feel particularly brave or strong in and of myself. But I feel incredibly strengthened and sustained by all of the prayers that were offered on my behalf. I feel the solace of being drenched in endless grace. I just feel thankful, so thankful. I want to cling to this cross so that I remember how much prayers and love and support matter. I never want to forget to offer all three to those whom I see struggling with crosses of their own, however different they may be. I hope that I am always able to show others the kindness and love that were shown to me when I needed it most.
Thanks, y’all. It just feels impossible to say it enough.