As many of you know, I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from Follen for the last ten days or so, as I recover from a total knee replacement (left knee – the right one was done about six years ago). As the fog of surgery and painkillers clears, I’ve been regaining energy and focus, all while doing physical therapy three times a day (and sometimes more) at home, led by both my visiting home PT practitioner and my beloved spouse, Ben, who is nurse, sometimes torturer-in-chief, and supportive companion, always.
Although I had been through this surgery before, I had blessedly forgotten how much it hurts, and how much it knocks one for a loop. It’s probably good that our memories play these tricks on us – easing recollection around pain sometimes – because I’m not sure we would go through with some of these procedures otherwise. I knew it was not going to be a good time, but somewhere, my brain had said that I’d be pretty functional within about five days. That was just wrong.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have support around them like I do. Not everyone has a loving partner to be with them at their most miserable and unhappy times; not everyone has access to a volunteer care network like the ones that exist here at Follen and at my own ‘home’ congregation, First Parish in Lexington. Not everyone has a group of fantastic colleagues and lay leaders to work with, who are present to ‘run interference’ when needed. In winter, particularly, life can seem hard and cold, just like the falling temperatures outside. And isolation can build. The blessing of gathered communities is that there are those, known and unknown, who are ready to help out and be part of the team effort as we all work to support the same outcomes and goals.
Today I’m less sick than a week ago. Next week I expect to be much better, and again, the week after that and the week after that. Although (as my spouse reminds me) ‘change doesn’t always happen in straight lines,’ it does come, sometimes noticeably and sometimes in teensy ways that ultimately add up. The challenge, for those of us who are recovering from physical or emotional challenges, is to not only maintain faith in what will come, but to avoid surrendering to the feelings of pain and separation that can be so present.
Each day as I heal, I am trying to spend a bit of time in reflection and gratitude, recognizing all those who pull together in support of each other and higher goals, like the ones we have at Follen Church. Thank you, all of you, for being part of such efforts. It is good to be among you in these days of winter.
Deborah Weiner, Interim Director of Religious Education