Lessons from Pain…SUBMISSION TO OTHERS.”
“…be subject to one another in the fear (reverence) of Christ (Ephesians 5:21).”
“Open your eyes Milan; you are talking with your eyes closed.”
“Have you taken your blood pressure today?”
“Don’t forget to do your breathing exercises.”
“Are you ready for your walk around the block?”
“It is getting late in the morning, did you take your AM meds yet?”
These were some of the phrases that I heard repeatedly from Kay, my kids and friends throughout my recovery process. Most of the time I hated to be questioned or challenged, as I was so fatigued and uncomfortable that all I wanted to do was sit and stare. (I might have even drooled once when my mouth was hanging open and I was dozing in a chair in the back yard.)
While I was often resistant to doing something that was important for me to do, I had to learn to say, “OK, I will do whatever you tell me to do.” In so doing, I was no longer the leader, the strong one, the lifeguard, the counselor… I was the weakened dependent one who would rather take the easy road of inactivity as opposed to pushing against the pain toward activities that would make me stronger.
Perhaps the most memorable time of yielding to the leadership of others was when I was at my darkest moment in the hospital when I was told I needed to have emergency surgery to remove the fluid from around my heart. Even though I had been deteriorating and sleeping much of the 48 hours prior to the surgery, I remember becoming alert when I was told that I had to immediately go back to the operating room and have a second surgery. I protested vehemently and said, “I cannot go through another surgery… I cannot tolerate having my chest cracked open again… NO… I won’t do it!”
Somewhere in the midst of drifting in and out of awareness, I remember Kay and Kevin’s (my oldest son) faces and voices and I remember a dialogue that went something like this. “Dad, your refusal is unacceptable. You NEED this surgery. Look at me, you CAN and WILL do this. Listen to me…we love you and have your best interest at heart. Saying ‘No’ is not an option.” Dad, you need to do what we say.”
Kay prayed for me and asked God to give me a peace that would somehow settle my mind and heart as well as relieve the panic that I felt because I could not breathe well and catch my breath … something that my athletic lungs had never before experienced.
Kay, Kevin and Kelly told me later that it was “amazing”, that after that prayer, I exhibited a peace and calmness that was a dramatic contrast to the state of agitation, confusion and protest that I had exhibited a few moments before. All I remember saying to Kevin, was “Yes son!”
May the Lord bless your journey as you learn when and how to yield to the leadership of others.
Milan and Kay
Next week: “Community”