“Human life runs its course in the metamorphosis between receiving and giving.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
This past week I simultaneously experienced some of the strongest physical pain and immense joy I have ever experienced. While the former has everything to do with the six-inch incision in my abdomen, the latter revolves around a number of lessons about willfully receiving.
As I wrote last week, I had my myomectomy surgery on Tuesday to remove a soccer ball-sized growth in my uterus. On Monday, it occurred to me I’d appreciate reading uplifting notes from the community, but a part of me wondered if it would be tacky to explicitly ask for them.
After all, I’d already received many emails from concerned readers who took the time to reach out. Furthermore, I’ve always written that this site is not about me; would it really be wise to dedicate an entire post to seeking attention and support?
Despite my concerns, I decided to do just that, because I knew it would make me feel good. That it did, when I realized on Wednesday that hundreds of people had commented on my blog post, sharing stories and links to videos that made them smile.
That same day, when my doctor came to see me in the hospital, she looked at me with kind eyes and a loving smile, and came close to give me a hug. Despite my post-operative frailty, she gave me a real one—the kind that felt strong and just long enough to mean something. I simply melted into it.
The next day when she visited again, and came in close to my bed, I put my arms up, assuming it was for the same reason—but it turned out she was just checking my scar.
It occurred to me later that I must have looked like a 5-year old reaching out for her mother to pick her up. Despite my vulnerable sense of awkwardness, that actually made me smile. I was not ashamed of enjoying what she’d given!
It also made me smile that my actual mother flew out to be there for me. She was there my first night in the hospital and stayed through Sunday morning to assist with everything from getting dressed to cleaning my sinks.
This one was a little tough for me. I’ve been on my own since I graduated from school, and I’ve rarely asked my family for anything. It’s been a big part of my need to prove my independence: I decided early on that I’d never ask for help.
Considering how often I needed it, this was a rough decision. I carried the weight of heavy emotions alone for years; and I lived in some dangerous conditions just to prove to myself I could move past them on my own.
Despite having my mother here to help with anything and everything, I found myself playing host to her—asking if she wanted a cup of tea, or offering to get her a blanket.
She had come to take care of me, and yet I blatantly rejected it at times.
So in much the same way I didn’t consider refusing the flowers and support my boyfriend gave me, I decided to accept her every offer with gratitude and humility. I didn’t need to feel helpless, or apologize for needing assistance, or even the score by doing things for her.
My job was simply to accept every ounce of love that people were sending my way. Turns out sometimes it’s okay for things to be all about me.
So this is my thank you for the kindness you gave me. I asked for what I needed and I felt love in every direction this week. And though I’ve willingly taken the painkillers my doctor has prescribed, that I’ve learned, is the best prescription for healing.
Photo by pinkismagic