Some weeks ago, I had major surgery. I have been recovering since, and that recovery has included a great deal of physical pain. The surgery itself was a success; after my recovery, I expect to have a knee that is much more functional that the one that was replaced.
Extreme physical pain is a new experience for me. I did not expect it, and was unprepared. Even though I had excellent medical care and a variety of medications, I found it hard to endure the pain of the first ten days and nights.
Like every life challenge, it was an opportunity too. I believe it deepened my compassion as I thought of the millions of people who must endure such pain without the medical and personal support I am privileged to have.
So gratitude has been interwoven with pain and trying to keep my spirits up. Through the years I have spent deeply immersed in Rumi, I have learned more and more to find gratitude embedded in every challenge.
I offer these you these lovely words by Rumi:
Inside, you are sweet beyond telling. There is a sun in everyone.
I become a mirror that cannot close its eyes to your longing,
my eyes wet with yours in the early light,
my mind every moment giving birth,
always conceiving, always in the ninth month….
Another aspect of this experience has been the extraordinary kindness that has been shown to me by my partner, family members and some close friends. Even my young physical therapist has shown me such gentleness and kindness.
Dorianne Laux says:
For the Sake of Strangers
No matter what the grief, its weight,
we are obliged to carry it.
We rise and gather momentum, the dull strength
that pushes us through crowds.
And then the young boy gives me directions
so avidly. A woman holds the glass door open,
waits patiently for my empty body to pass through.
All day it continues, each kindness
reaching toward another–a stranger
singing to no one as I pass on the path, trees
offering their blossoms, a retarded child
who lifts his almond eyes and smiles.
Somehow, they always find me, seem even
to be waiting….
A cousin I love has these words on her answering machine:
“Make it a good day for someone.” May we all heed and practice this wisdom.