Thursday, November 1, 2012

Preparing for Pain, Plus

Yesterday it was confirmed by a second opinion -- from the orthopedist of the Oakland Raiders, no less -- that I need to have rotator cuff repair surgery. I have one large tear and a smaller one, plus there is some arthritis in the joint (no surprise there) that he wants to work on a little while he's "in there."

By all accounts -- meaning both docs I saw and everything I've read online -- the recovery is long and often very painful. Just like life, yes?

But on this upward/outward/inward journey, I know there is always more than meets the eye. While I am preparing for perhaps the worst physical pain of my life (and that's after two total knee replacements!) I am also preparing for a rich and deep experience with many lessons learned...of gratitude for the love and support around me...and of the deep, deep love of God which becomes more and more tangible to me the older I get. Just when I think I have been through the darkest valley, another one comes along and I have to hold on even tighter to Him.

My closest friends have marveled at how many stressors I've endured in the past five years; hmm...let me count the ways:

Diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis
Both knees replaced within 6 months of each other
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia
New job
Moving out
Moving back in
Stepping down from ministry
Quitting job
Moving to a different state
Near-divorce again
Moving out
Moving back in
Suicide of a friend
Car accident
Shoulder surgery (soon to come)

Not to mention various other family issues!

Each item on that list represents many weeks/months/years of pain. But as I said above, that's not the whole story. I look at the list and remember how God met me in each of those experiences, strengthening my faith and deepening my relationship with him. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

That being said, physical pain is much harder for me to endure than emotional pain. It's very hard for me to "count it all joy" when I can hardly breathe because my body hurts so much. So I will need you, my readers and friends, to remind me to trust that God is going to show up and meet me in the pain and walk with me through this new valley.

If a painful surgery is what's needed to bring me even closer to Him, then bring it on. Though I wouldn't mind a miraculous healing, either!

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