A Repaired Heart

I write to you on the fifth week after my quadruple bypass surgery.  According to the professionals, I am progressing right on schedule. Even so, it is slow progress.  I am a “let’s get it done and I mean right now” kind of a person.  Unfortunately, this is a slower than molasses recovery process.  After four weeks I got the staples out and thought I would be ready to go.

I was beyond shocked when my wonderful surgeon let me know I had two more months (not weeks, months) of picking up less than ten pounds. My purse weighs almost ten pounds. This is miserable. No raking, no sweeping, no cleaning, etc. What can you do?

So I am in a situation of evaluating my life. I thought I had a handle on life. Work. That is what life is all about. Doing, doing, doing. I grew up in a home that did not understand the word play. My mother always worked. She owned a five and dime store. I stood on an apple crate to ring things in the cash register when I was eight years old. Work was what I was taught to do.

Each morning you wake up and go through your list of things to do. You prioritize your list and attack it. Each evening as you go to bed you reflect on your list. You think of those things you have accomplished and you get some rest because you have worked hard and you are ready to start another day of doing, doing, doing.

My husband, on the other hand, knew how to play. He grew up in an orphanage and had chores and worked on the farm, but he also learned how to play. In our relationship he pushed the play button and I pushed the work button. I never learned the value of play. Now, I am having a hard time learning how to relax and be still.

Not only does the activity level throw you off, but the self worth and emotional levels are out of sync. When you work all the time, you use your accomplishments to boost your self worth meter. When you are sitting all day and you evaluate your worth at the end of the day, there is not much in the plus column. That leads you to battle emotions of low self confidence, low self worth, hopelessness and depression.

Questions such as “Why did God leave me here instead of letting me die?”  “What am I suppose to do with my life now?”  “What did I do wrong that led me to have this issue?”  “Will I ever get my energy back?”  “Did God use this to give me a message?”  “What if I don’t get the right message from this?”  “What am I suppose to do with all of this?”

My three daughters are doing their best with me. My daughter that lives in Alaska even came down to help out. They are trying to re-educate me. I have a list of Stress Relievers that one daughter helped me put together. Twelve things to help me relieve my stress.

It is stressful to look at it.

I am listening. I am learning. I am trying. I pulled out my Erma Bombeck books. I am reading and laughing out loud. I am watching a movie each night. I am reading and re-reading all of the cards that my friends have sent to me.

I am slowly finding my way to a new life. One year ago that my life was torn apart. I adjusted as best I knew how to through the tragedy. Now I am adjusting again. I know a few things. One, I have a very strong faith. If God left me here on earth then I have a purpose and I will find what I am meant to do. Second, I am an eternal optimist. I will find the positive in the situation. Third, I have a great family and wonderful friends that will help me along the way.

The repairing of the heart will take time but it seems I have plenty of that.

 

All in Perspective

Last week I was at the beach with lots of work to do.  I am getting the houses ready for summer rental.  So I had my things to do list and one chore was spray painting a wicker loveseat.  I had waited several days to do this because the wind seemed always to be blowing and spray painting needs a calm day.

I got up and was anxious to get the job done.  But when I looked out at the ocean all I could see was very tall, rolling waves and lots of foam.  I thought to myself, “What an angry sea!  That wind is terrible.  It is blowing so hard that the ocean itself is upset.”

I saw an angry sea because I was angry.  I was anxious to get my priority list done and nature was not cooperating with me.  It seemed that I would never find a day that the wind was calm so I could get my painting done.

As I moved to another chore I began to reflect on the ocean.  Actually, it was really pretty. The waves were huge and the foam that was stirred up almost looked like frosting on a cake.  I noticed how the clouds almost touched the horizon.  I began to see the picture differently.  My perspective began to change.

Life is like that a lot.  We have the power in our minds to see things as we wish. We must consciously make an effort to put the positive spin on what our eyes show us.  Many times we let our emotions cloud our vision.  If we are angry, as I was, we will put a negative spin on our view.  But if we can change our emotion or our perspective we will see it in a positive manner.  It makes a major difference in how we approach the world.

Recently I overheard my daughter say to my granddaughter.  You cannot have two thoughts in your mind at the same time.  So if you have a negative, or sad or terrible thought, make your mind think a pleasant or happy or positive thought.

I was impressed.  She is so right.  We choose to think.  We control our minds.  If we choose to go down sad paths, we will be depressed and overcome with those emotions. But if we are conscious of what we are doing, we can work to change our thoughts and stay out of the depressed thought realm.

No one has the perfect life.  Bad things happen to all of us.  Sometimes it is financial, sometimes it is a major loss, sometimes it is physical and sometimes it is annoyances. But all of us have bad things that happen.  And sometimes it seems that they all come at once.

Last year was a horrible year for me.  Illness, loss of my husband, financial crisis, a major relationship issue, recent loss of my mother and it just seemed like it would not stop.  There were even little things that seemed to go wrong.

I felt that maybe it was me.  Maybe I had angered God so severely that I was being punished.  I read Job many times.  I had to be strong.  I had to get through this negative time in my life.  Somehow I had to find a way to exist and be happy.

I cannot say that my life is perfect now.  I recently had an unexpected flat tire, I have more to do than my old body wants to do and I get thrown a curve now and then.  But I am trying to keep those positives thoughts in my head.  I can control my way of looking at even the bad things that happen.

God promised to take care of me.  He has kept His promise.  It is my responsibility to be happy and have the right perspective.  Think happy.  Be happy.