Dion's random ramblings

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An emotional recovery

At first I thought that I would entitle this post 'the emotions of recovery', but in truth, I have no idea what these emotions are, and I would hate to sound like I have any insight or expertise in such matters.

So, I chose the more honest title 'an emotional recovery'. I woke up at around 3.30 am this morning with some pain. I guess it is the pain of recovery. As the wounds turn into scars and the experiences form memories I have begun to feel a fairly profound sense of loss. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of instances in which I express my gratitude to the Lord for saving me from a much worse fate than a broken leg! I am truly grateful for that! But that is a gratitude that comes from the creation of perspective. The reality, for me, is that I have a set of experiences to deal with that form my reality and challenge me to find and create meaning and hope.

The first set of experiences are what I call 'dailyness' - I'm not sure if anyone else has experienced these? What 'dailyness' refers to is a grinding routine, not a blessed one, but a necessary one. 'Dailyness' has to do with survival, not with living. I have experienced 'dayliness' before, as a young child seperate from my parents, as a young man in the army, when I took up my first post as a minister in a strange context - I feel it now again at just before 4am on this morning. In the intercessory prayers in the order of morning worship there is a prayer that goes something like "Lord, help all people to rise above the drudgery and want of their daily lives into the joy and glory of Your life..." Something like that. It speaks of the reality that so many people face - simply rising, working, sleeping, rising, working, sleeping.... There is no joy, no excitement, no wonder, just each day. I awoke with that feeling today - in a short while I'll be woken for the morning rounds (change the drip, take my blood pressure, take my temperature, have my morning medication...), then the day moves towards its regular rhythm of interupted sleep, therapy, thought, longing, concern, medication, sleep, therapy, thought, longing... You get the idea.

Perhaps recovery requires some measure of consistency, some measure of calm and 'dailyness' for the drugs to take their effect, the bones to heal, the scabs to form, and the experiences to become memories.

The second set of emtions are those that are far more profound, they are much less tangible, and much more subtly powerful. These emotions form the backdrop of every moment (whether waking or sleeping), they are what Paul Tillich would have called 'existential' realities, truths that really are true. Of course we seldom face these existential realities because of the 'undailyness' of our regular lives. For most of us, our regular lives are filled with drive, commitment, energy, encounter, discovery, renewal, objectives, and a myriad of activities. These things fill every waking moment (and sometimes even the moments that should be given over to sleep!) Achievement, success, qualifcation, ownership, satisfaction, hunger and freedom are but a few of the things that drive me away from the existential questions. So, this week, lying in my hospital bed, as the world goes on without me, I have been given a chance to ask a few of these questions 'What am I here for?', 'What does my skill set and personality contribute towards humanity, and of course the will and work of deity?', 'How am fairing on life's journey? [in my instance this is a question about 'depth of living', not 'speed of living' - I guess it will differ from person to person]. Of course there are many other questions I have been asking, some have to do with my past, some with my present situation, and others about the future.

One thing is certain, such 'existential' reflection requires change, not the kind of change that says I will move from doing this activity to doing that activity... The dailyness will return to any activity if it is not filled with some greater purpose, meaning, and intent. No, this is a substantial change, the kind of change that has to do with values and virtues - what matters MOST and why it matters most. These must surely be the things that shape my living.

You see, the one thing I have come to realise is that recovery could simply be a process of return to the functioning I had before my accident. But, that is not recovery at all. True recovery requires the courage to get to a state of greater well-being and wholeness than what I previously possessed. Pete spoke of this in a recent post on his blog about 'balance'. I have lived with imbalance so long that I though life was supposed to be a bit skew!

An emotional recovery... That's what I am experiencing. My recovery has emotion within it, it also deals with a myriad of emotions that stem from 36 years of living, the dayliness of this day, and the existential hope of a better day to come.

I have had a verse from the Psalms within my heart for the last few days, Psalm 18:35-36 "You give me your shield of victory, your right hand sustains me. You stoop down to make me strong. You broaden the road I walk on so that my ankles do not break" (I would add the addendum, "and IF they do break, you make the whole again")

Have a blessed day. Spare a prayer for those in hospital.


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