Every couple of weeks my wife pulls into her parking space with a car full of groceries. As she makes her way to the front porch, I realize I have a split-second decision to make. Do I run to my easy chair and fake that I’m asleep? Or do I meet her at the door and say, “Let me help you unload all those groceries”? The way I answer this question has changed over the years. It’s not that I dislike carrying twenty five pound bags of onions or a fifty pound bag of flour. In fact I love the meals she makes with them. But there is a lazy man inside of me that is always looking for the easy way out.
I’m not a very good passenger. I’m even worse at being a patient. One day I was playing tennis, the next day I couldn’t walk without a cane. I couldn’t even drive myself to the doctor’s office to find out what was wrong. So there I was, sitting in the passenger seat, being shuttled from appointment to appointment by my wife. I was very thankful for her care, but you could never tell by the way I was criticizing her driving skills.
The MRI, the neurologist and neurosurgeon all agreed. “We really don’t know if surgery will cure your problem. And there is no guarantee that the medication will help. Let’s get you some physical therapy and give it some time.”
Six weeks seems like an eternity when you’re waiting. It seems even longer when there is little or no improvement. It is easy to lose heart. The enemy of our soul likes to take a snapshot of the way things are today, and extrapolate it to defeat us with hopelessness. He wants us to believe things will always be this way and project out twenty years as more of the same. But we know things never stay the same. We know the Lord heals. Most often we recover, and life returns to normal. Sometimes we recover with new limitations, and we have to accept a new normal.
Some of us resist going to doctors because we fear the diagnosis. We really don’t want to change our diet, and we struggle to be disciplined enough to do our exercises for more than a few days. But we owe it to our spouse to be as healthy as we can be. We have to remember, whenever we are forced into accepting a new normal, so is our spouse. Then it is up to both of us to make the best of it. The secret to success is encouraging one another as we face these changes together.
Yesterday morning I was out on the tennis courts playing once again. I’m not as quick on my feet as I was before, but I’m hoping that in time, that will improve. For the most part, I’ve recovered. Yesterday afternoon my wife pulled up with a load of groceries. I was so happy to carry the groceries into the house, because I was able to. I no longer take that for granted.