Small, Still, Slightly Afraid

I’m still broken.

I’ve been happily anticipating Friday – today – as emancipation day for me. Post-surgery recovery positioning prescriptives expired today. After a week on the couch, keeping my head at an angle so that the gas bubble in my eye could stay in place, I’ve been looking forward to the first day of the rest of my life.

I’m still broken.

I’m up, moving around, putting a load of clothes in the washer, practicing some music for a wedding commitment, putting on real clothes for the first time in a week, fixing my hair…

…and nothing’s really working as well as I had hoped.

My depth perception is screwed up. I poured a glass of milk and missed half the glass. I grasp things that aren’t there. I struggle to read.

My muscles are complaining. This sedentary recovery has left me weak. I feel as though I’ve gained back most of the weight that disappeared when I started eating healthier last fall.

(For the record, healthy eating went by the wayside. Have Kelley Llewellyn bring you her chocolate cake pudding thing and try to remember that you prefer kale. Just try it. And good luck with that…)

I’m broken, still, and there is a message in this somewhere. Optimism is a great motivator – I made it to Friday, but here I am and I’m still not ‘normal’ and I have to ask for help and I need so much grace for that. My eye is swollen and filled with blood and incapable of doing what it was made to do. It’s just there, taking up space, but it doesn’t look good and it’s not functional.

And there’s the metaphor.

I’m here. I’m taking up space.

But that seems to be about it. I don’t look good and I’m not so functional, at least in all the ways that have defined me in this season of life.

I scrawled in my journal last night – another arrow in my arsenal of complaints (“I can’t even WRITE correctly!!!”) these words, a quote from Ruth Haley Barton referring to the perils of leadership:

“…poisoned by the hypnotic belief that good things come only through unceasing determination and tireless effort.”

I don’t feel poisoned today, but I am disillusioned, and I know that I haven’t learned that lesson yet. I have been broken, and now I am laid out and restricted while the world spins on without me and I offer nothing but a word or two, an email response or an answered phone call while I tend to the thoughts in my mind.

And rest.

I must honestly confess that I do need this rest, I do appreciate it and to some degree, I savor the long minutes and hours to watch Albert Nobs and consider it, process it. I am sinking into this cushion of rest, although it feels like so much laziness, like I am letting everybody down, like I am not doing enough, like nothing good will come unless I work harder and make it happen…

I am still broken, and my eye is far from healed, and all the ways I had planned to slip right back into my old self are looking quite doubtful, and I can’t help but think that there is much more for me to extract from this time of stillness.

Some small, quiet, terrified place in my heart is crying, “Please don’t stop needing me! Please tell me I still matter! Please don’t forget! Please leave room for me to prove my worth! Please let me show you how good I am!”

I am still so broken. And grateful for it.

Oh God, be my everything
Be my delight
Be Jesus, my glory
My soul satisfied

7 thoughts on “Small, Still, Slightly Afraid

  1. oh honey, your heart crying hurts more than your eye being physically hurt.

    I wish there were words to help you with this. The rest will come when you stop fighting. Remember when the kids were little and fighting sleep? What did you do for them?

    The image that comes to my mind is the pictures that you have posted from your chair. I can see the cat and the TV. I also see all these women surrounding you with our arms all linked together…not letting anything get in and keeping you safe so that you can rest and get out of this what you need out of this.

    You can never ever be forgotten. You are so valuable. More than silver or gold.


  2. I feel badly for not bringing cookies. Please don't think I'm not your friend. I've been sick for a week. It started as a cold, and I went for my grandma's 95th birthday party, anyway, but now it's a full-blown sinus infection. The girls are on steroids for the croup. Chip has swollen lymph nodes; Lord, help. If my head explodes, I'd like you and Rachel to co-preach my funeral. I'm not even kidding. I love you, and you matter so very much, and nothing is the same when you're down. Be better. Sending love and prayers.


  3. That's it, isn't it? Realizing that secret fear that after all these years, all we pour into our homes, our children, husbands, jobs, friends…what if they don't need us anymore? What then?

    But it isn't so, they just need us differently. And sometimes, even our grown kids will still need us to fix them a sandwich.

    And I love, love that song. Especially when I sing it with Matthew O'Donnell's voice on my head!

    Praying for you-your eye-your heart…


  4. Beth, it takes a while to truly allow your mind and body to rest. Your are in a place that both tries your patience and demands your patience. You don't have to do anything for anyone just now. I hope you can feel the love and support of those around you and allow yourself to rest in the hammock of their arms. Let me know if you'd like an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. I have waled this road all year, and I am happy to help I any way that I can.

    Tracy green


  5. I'm going to send you a private note. Or better yet, call me 561-972-7074.
    Your self worth does NOT depend on whether or not you have two eyes, one eye or none. You are not needed for your “eyes” your vision comes from within Beth. Reach down deep for that one. You will know.
    God calls us to number one trust, and as a result we are called to be patient and quite often to our dismay, to stand still. We don't like that, it goes against our nature. Yet, lest we wrest back our surrender and trust. sometimes you just hand it over and say take it. I'll just wait it out., I waited over 2 1/2 years for a glimmer of hope, my last chance glimmer… and while yes I wiggled in my seat, the wiggling and waiting made me more pliable. And this last mess was not my first crisis. No, you don't get better at it, trust me on that one.
    Yes, your depth perception will be off, you have one eye. You brain hasn't had time to accommodate yet.
    Your “eye is full of blood” and do you mean internally or the bleeding in the conj. That is a normal look. Looks pretty good. Your pupil also because it is dilated makes it more difficult to see and have any surety of perception…. perception here is a good word. It is or I should rephase is this how you see yourself? Sit with that. When you are doing things that require such, like pouring, cover the one eye… and use your hand to guide you. And for pitys sake, get a massage and get rid of your body tension and stress.
    Oh Beth, I wish for you deep peace with this… I do know how hard it is to wait… healing in any form takes time. I know it's been a long road and it hasn't been a pleasant one. It's frightening to think all the scary stuff that probably won't happen, but our minds like to stir up the pot a little… just to make our suffering even more annoying.
    Take heart, and take heart… and peace. You are not your eyeball. ANd remind yourself however many times a day it takes… “I am enough”
    Love you Beth. sending you prayers and healing and a boatload of grace.


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