Unexpected Gifts Discovered In Being Still

As I underwent a long recovery from an ankle procedure, many people would ask me how I was doing, how I was surviving, or what I missed most. As the weeks went by, I realized that there were several things I didn’t miss.

I didn’t miss living by deadlines or by the clock. I still worked, but my workload was deliberately whittled down to one project at a time – enough to bring in a little money and enough to keep my brain focused and my heart engaged. The pacing was delightful and the projects freed up time for me to spend on other writing projects that spoke to me. (Psalm 37:23)

I didn’t miss busy. I rediscovered that I like my own company and am comfortable with who I am. I can be just fine on my own. I don’t always have to have something going on to distract me or keep me from having time to think. I don’t have to go all the time or always have something to do. I don’t have to make myself so tired that I drop into bed at night exhausted, even though I successfully drowned out those pesky inner voices that we all have in our heads (you know – the hecklers, the critics, and the doubting Thomases). I can be comfortable with stillness, silence and open spaces. (Psalm 46:10)

I didn’t miss “stuff.” I made it through the Christmas season, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day without being tempted once that I had to “buy” this or had to “have” that to make my life better. No, I didn’t. And, no, they wouldn’t. I didn’t look at sales ads. I deleted advertising e-mails without a second glance. I didn’t go to malls or stores (couldn’t) or shop on-line for more and more things. I was content with what I had and what I did each day: a home, a loving spouse, my dog, good friends and family, food, exercises, books, a notebook, pen and colored pencils and movies to watch. Life was good. (Matthew 6:19-21, Philippians 4:11)

I didn’t miss being tied to technology. Mind you, most people think I’m not that connected to begin with. I don’t text. I still have a flip phone. I don’t have the phone attached to my ear. Even so, I turned my cell off and at times, only checked my e-mail once a day or every other day or earlier on, once a week. My laptop was never on for more than 2 – 3 hours a day (mostly to do work or write). Engaging with silence, meditation, nature, my dog, visitors, exercise and writing the old fashion way (with a pen) held way more authentic enjoyment and appeal than staring at a screen. (Romans 12:2)

I didn’t miss traffic. Need anything else be said? Who wouldn’t enjoy less stress, less exposure to road rage, less searching for the best route to get somewhere on time or fighting for parking spaces? (John 14:27)

I didn’t miss thinking toward the future. One of the best gifts I discovered was that of living only in the “now.” With my day timer collecting dust on the table, I simply lived within each day focusing on making the most of each moment the best I could. I didn’t have to think about planning for an event two weeks from now or making travel arrangements for a training three months from now. My focus was kept on the present day and doing what was needed for this day. If only I could take this lesson and gift with me . . . (Matthew 6:34)

I didn’t miss deciding what to wear each day. Every day, for 3 months plus I wore one of five shirts and one of six pairs of pants. That’s it. Nothing else. I never got tired of them. It was simplicity at its finest. I had warm clothes. They fit. They were comfortable. They felt soft. That was enough. (Matthew 6:25-27)

I didn’t miss image prompted decisions. Along the lines of my daily apparel choices was the fact that I realized I was dressing to simply be dressed, not for someone else, not to keep up with fashion (not that I ever did), not to be “appropriate” for a particular occasion . . . I wasn’t keeping up with the Jones or thinking about pleasing someone else. (“I can’t wear the same outfit two weeks in a row – the participants in my training will get tired of looking at me.” Or, “my sister-in-laws will be dressed to the nines. I guess I should go buy a new outfit so that I fit in.”) (Matthew 6:28-29)

I didn’t miss trying to control . . . well, anything other than me. Pete and I would be the first to tell you that our house wasn’t up to par during this stint of our lives. It wasn’t as clean; wasn’t as neat and our Christmas tree became a “winter” tree simply by removing decorations. It stayed up . . . until winter was officially over. There were piles and things out of place. And all of that tends to leave my neat freak side a bit crazy. Yet, I chose to let it go. It wasn’t worth the attention, energy or effort. Neat versus healthy? It wasn’t a hard decision. (Jeremiah 29:11)

There are many things I will indeed embrace as I continue to move towards full health and mobility. But I do wonder if I will miss the gifts I found in this season of recovery or if I will be smart enough to carry them forth with me into the next season.

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