What’s left when the doctor says you can’t read, use a computer or watch TV?
Two weeks ago today my head bounced like a superball when it hit the driveway. One minute I was taking the recycling out, and the next minute a neighbor was standing over me saying, “Do you want me to call 9-1-1?” Okay, so I felt nauseated for an hour or so, but I took a brief nap, and, other than a headache and some soreness from where I landed on my upper back after my feet went completely out from under me when I slipped on a patch of ice, I figured that was enough “taking care of myself” that I needed to do, and off I went to work. I had a lot to do…and Diocesan Convention was Friday and Saturday and…and…and I didn’t feel like I had time to “take care of myself” anymore. When I woke up on Monday morning and STILL had a headache, I realized it might be time to consult my neurologist.
After an ER visit and CT I learned that I had a concussion, that I was to get “brain rest”– no computer, TV, video games (they said they couldn’t assume that just because I was an adult I didn’t play them; I don’t) or reading, and that I could come back to work on Ash Wednesday. Ugh.
Someone suggested to me in the first couple of days that I consider myself to be on retreat. I had lots of time to ponder that thought. One has LOTS of time to ponder LOTS of things when one is electronic and reading-free. I resented the suggestion of being on retreat at first. Don’t get me wrong– I love to go on retreat and do it regularly for my spiritual health. But I do it on my terms– when I want, where I want, how I want– and this was not that!
It took another day or so to work through my resentment. Though relatively minor, I feel like I’ve had enough health related issues in the last few years, and I didn’t want another. But when I was able to let go of the resentment and realize– SURPRISE!– that I wasn’t in control, I was able to see what God could have in mind for me.
So here is how I answered when someone at the 8 o’clock service asked on Sunday what one does when one is electronic/reading-free (or as Dave said last week, no longer living in the 21st century): I slept a lot. A lot. Apparently bodies need time to heal and sleep helps with that. Imagine. And I prayed a lot. A LOT! Because I could, and I wanted to, and I had time to! Each of you was held in the light of God’s liberating love. I’m not sure I’ve ever had the freedom or time to pray in quite that way ever before.
Obviously I am back at work, but I’ve been warned that short amounts of “screen” time are probably best for now, and that it could be a while before the headache and nausea are completely gone. (I’ve already learned the hard way that the former is true!) But I’m grateful to be sitting at my desk, looking out at South Street, grateful that I didn’t do any worse damage than I did, grateful to Dave and everyone who helped out in my absence, grateful to my beloved, who makes a great nurse/mama bear, and grateful for my pre-Lenten prayer time.