One week post surgery.
What does one do after surgery on the hip, you might wonder. Well, let me just tell you.
To date, I’ve spent approximately, 70 hours in a little machine that moves my leg up and down, up and down, and then up and down again. Multiply by ten thousand. Then, time for bed.
Day one, my leg moved to a 65 degree angle and as I type this, my leg is moving at an 85 degree angle. Tomorrow, we will shoot for 90 degrees, then 95, 100, and finally 105 before returning the machine to the powers that be.
(Thanks be to God.)
The last time I sat this much, I must have been about 6 months old.
Do you have Netflix shows to watch, one friend asks?
No, the television remains mostly silent. Instead, I spend time here, and here and here.
When the family returns home from work and school, I enter the kitchen. We sit together while we do homework, eat, banter about the day. After some time, Chad shoos me away. Back to the machine, he tells me. I’ve got things out here. (Yes, I know, I married a gem.)
I sit on the bed, leg moving up and down and up and down, and I’m given the rare opportunity to observe my family from afar. From my position on the bed, I watch Chad as he puts dishes away and instructs little people to pick up this and put away that and go take your shower.
Chanelle looks so tall from here.
Charlie’s wit seems lightening fast.
All the ‘baby’ in Meadow has disappeared.
I sit and marvel at the life two naive college students from long ago have built.
Most often, I’m too close to see it all. Surviving the day. Taking care of business. Moving from this to that and that to this. Today, with a few steps back, I see it so clearly. The way they have grown, this life we are building–imperfect, but good.
(Note to self: take a step back every now and then. Allow yourself to see it all from afar. Breathe in the gift.)
I’m sitting on my bed and Chanelle climbs up and sits beside me. We talk about Christmas and gifts she wants to give to her friends. She tells me what she wants for Christmas. We sit in quiet.
Later, Meadow climbs into bed with a Barbie doll in hand. She sits beside me while she braids the dolls hair. We open a book. We read.
I realize how rare this is. This slowing. I see clearly in these moments–all they want is my presence. When I slow, they slow, too.
I am not the thermometer. I am the thermostat.
I read about trees. A tree is not a forest, this book tells me.
The book goes on:
On its own a tree cannot establish a consistent local climate. It is at the mercy of wind and weather. But together, many trees create an ecosystem that moderates extremes of heat and cold. . . and in this protected environment, trees can live to be very old.
And more. . .
To get to this point, the community must remain intact no matter what. If every tree were looking out only for itself, then quite a few of them would never reach old age. Regular fatalities would result in many large gaps in the tree canopy, which would make it easier for storms to get inside the forest and uproot more trees. The heat of summer would reach the forest floor and dry it out. Every tree would suffer.
* * *
This week, a friend arrives with a meal. Another sends a text. Another calls. More meals show up. A friend arrives with books in hand.
I am struck by the similarities between humans and trees. Trees are not meant to be alone. Nor are humans.
Blows are softened when we are surrounded by a forest.