The view from flat on my back

I didn’t see Friday morning coming.

I’d been feeling a little pull in my back for a few days, just above the left shoulder blade, but nothing serious. Not a big deal.

Until I tried to get out of bed Friday morning.

As soon as I put weight on my elbow as I was raising up, my back lit up with pain. After a couple tries I managed to stand up and the room started spinning. I managed to call my husband, who was out running, and tell him I needed him home. Then I started walking toward the bathroom. The next thing I knew I was hearing my toddler’s voice from somewhere above my head. Opening my eyes, I realized I was on the floor.

Not the way I planned on starting my day.

A trip to the ER wasn’t really all that helpful. I left with pain meds and muscle relaxers and a diagnosis of severe muscle strain. I spent the rest of that day and the next two in bed, flat on my back, the only way I could get even the slightest relief from the pain.

Monday morning we visited the chiropractor’s office that several friends had recommended. This time, I left with an explanation of what had happened and why, a comprehensive treatment plan, and a little bit of hope.

After six days, three adjustments, and many hours lying on ice, I am sitting up as I type this. Still in a lot of pain, and after an hour or so upright I’m definitely ready to be flat again. But I’m making progress.

So what is the view like from flat on my back?

Well, first, it’s very humbling. I need help. It’s not always a pleasant feeling to need help. I lie in my bedroom listening to my husband juggling everything that comes along with having a full-time ministry job, six kids, homeschool, a house, and a wife on her back and it is no fun. It’s humbling to watch other people do for my family what I cannot do for them.

But, more than that, it has filled me with overwhelming gratitude. Our church family has taken such good care of us, bringing food, keeping kids, even doing laundry. Our friends and family have prayed for us and checked on us. Even the chiropractor and his staff have gone out of their way to be kind to us.

And my husband. Well, he has been golden. He has not complained, has not pressured me to hurry up and get better, has not lost patience with the kiddos, has not let the house become a disaster. He has gone from changing a diaper to fixing lunch to doing dishes to fixing me another ice pack to teaching phonics to preaching without missing a beat. I think he’s doing a better job at my job than I do.

I don’t know exactly what God’s purpose is for me over the past week or so of being flat on my back. I do know that while doing what I do every day is hard, not doing it is even harder. So I hope I will remember, some day in the future when I’m tempted to say it’s all too much and wish for a day to stay in bed, that staying in bed is not as great as it seems, and to be thankful for every ounce of strength that allows me to do the daily chores that start to seem so tedious.

My perspective gets too easily out of alignment. My spine is not the only thing that needs regular adjustments. I need reminders that what I far too frequently complain about, is really a good gift from God.

And if this episode with my back teaches me only that–to embrace this season of life that is full of nonstop care for others with a spirit of joy and gratitude–then I would consider it pain well spent.

So I continue to focus on resting, icing, getting a little better every day. And all the while, as I’m longing to get back to my life again, I am thanking the Lord for the life that awaits me.

It’s a very good life indeed.

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