The alarm goes off at 4:45 A.M. but we’re usually not ready to leap out of bed. Then after a snooze or two manage to get to our feet. I click on the coffee pot, and we stumble around…brushing teeth…“How did you sleep?”… giving the fish a pinch of breakfast…
Then, coffee in hand, John and I have about an hour and a half of what we call QT – quiet time. In separate rooms we each center ourselves and plan our day. We read our bibles and other edifying things. We pray and think (and sometimes snooze).
It has always been our morning routine, and it has always been precious time. At 6:30 we sit down to breakfast together and talk about the coming day.
But for the last few months John’s QT has been sidetracked by the force of “Physical Therapy”. He still spends some time in his chair and in his bible, but a solid hour of his precious QT has been gobbled up by an exercise regimen. Groan. Razzle frazzle….
About five months ago John hurt his back, and we were sure he was headed for back surgery again. We spent our 31st anniversary sitting in our grandpa and grandma chairs, wondering if this was how we would spend our so-called golden years.
When we got married we vowed “…for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part…” So the rocking chairs would not be a bad option.
We both like to read, and we like to talk, and I guess we could learn to like to rock.
We would be content to be together, but we don’t want to see each other hurting, and neither of us would choose to burden the other with the life of a caretaker.
The doctor said surgery was certainly an option, but he suggested that John first try physical therapy. To be honest, I was a little irritated. I wanted a more immediate fix.
So cane in hand, John limped off to talk to the physical therapist. The exercises seemed like nothing. Nothing! A waste of time. John admitted that he really didn’t feel like anything was happening when he did them. There was no pain (from the exercises) so how could there be any gain? How could a few little squats and stretches mend a broken back?
I worried. I did not want my husband to be hurting, and I did not want to be the wife of a disabled man.
Every day, to some extent, John lamented the loss of those lost morning minutes he used to spend in his chair, in his bible. But then we began to notice that the insignificant little stretches and crunches were doing their job. Muscle tone and strength began to return.
John is almost “back on his game” now. He is again able to play tennis every Friday afternoon with his longtime tennis buddies. He is walking without a limp and without a cane.
He is still a way from where he was 6 months ago, but we are both hopeful that we might still climb Mount Whitney again, instead of being relegated to our rocking chairs.
I am so thankful that my husband opted for something higher. Even though the exercise didn’t seem to be doing anything, he was faithful. He kept his eyes on what was unseen but promised.
Faithfulness, even when there were no immediate visible results.
This all has reminded me to take care of myself for John’s sake as well as my own. We are one. It goes for both of us and as John said in a previous blog post, “The secret to success is encouraging one another as we face these changes together.”
Almost every morning now, as we sit down to breakfast one or the other of us starts a little duet: “Button up your overcoat when the wind is free. Take good care of yourself, you belong to me! Eat an apple every day. Get to bed by three. Take good care of yourself, you belong to me!