|Jonah healing from his palate surgery.|
As I've tried to pinpoint how I have felt this month, I have thought about healing in all it's forms. It's amazing to me how our healing bodies parallel our healing souls. A physical wound often feels numb until we see the full extent of the damage, and then the mind recognizes it's severity and implications. Then the pain arrives quickly, often unbearable and unceasing. The agony sends a message; it compels us to seek healing.
Healing is always hastened by cleansing, repair, rest, and care. It can be a painful and arduous process. We work against the healing process when we over-exert ourselves, or neglect a wound. Our efforts to avoid the pain of healing usually lead to infection and lasting scars. With time acute pain seamlessly transforms into a dull throbbing ache that floats in the background of every movement and every breath. It stays as a constant reminder that life is not yet what it used to be. Pain's new message is "slow down," "take your time," "you are not yet whole."
This is where I find myself today. As I move forward into normal life I am constantly aware of the dull ache of Jonah's loss that permeates my every step. It requires extra effort to get up each day and move forward. I wonder if people can see it in me; if they know that although I'm functioning, the motion is difficult and labored. I have found at this stage of healing, movement is the best option.
I had jaw surgery when I was 22. My face was so swollen I looked like a "Who" character from Dr. Seuss. My jaw was wired shut and I was on a liquid diet for weeks. I remember trying to slurp jell-o past my numb lips, only to feel it escape over my chin, down my chest, and finally settle in my belly button. These were not my brightest days. I felt like crawling in bed and staying there...and I did for awhile. When I felt the worst I remember my mom coming in to care for me. She would encourage me to get up and take a shower, and while I was gone she would carefully make my bed. I realize now this was her way of helping me move forward. It is harder to crawl back into a bed that is made. She knew that I needed to move, to get out of bed, and to heal.
I think about my mom each morning when the world seems upside-down and too hard. I drag myself to the shower, and then return to my room, and make my bed. This simple act seems to me like a statement to the world, that I want to be healed, no matter how painful and difficult the process. I want to be whole again.