Yes, I had quiet. For months, when not doing health-care necessities, I sat in my chair, afghan on lap. I glanced at the newspaper comics. I rambled into chick lit. I dozed. I smiled at friends’ cards and gifts of dinner. I napped again. I stared at whatever my husband was watching on TV, until I nodded off. My kind husband and daughter answered calls and sent email updates. Then I went to bed for the night.
What would your life be like if all commitments and normal activities disappeared?
In some ways, I liked it. Yes, sitting and resting was all I could physically handle. But I also liked the freedom. No one expected anything of me. I expected nothing of myself. My world was my cozy chair, my comfy bed, and gratitude for my generous husband, family and friends.
News flash: that got old. My world grew very, very small. It held prayer, but at a most rudimentary level. I felt God’s presence in my healing and in the love that held me; I asked God’s presence to be rich and full for family, friends and those in need; I knew deep gratitude for life and all that sustained me.
It was such a relief to finally wake up a week ago, riding a new tide of hemoglobin and protein.
But I still hold onto the past months’ “freedom from” commitments. As I return to "freedom for", I want to be very choiceful, especially because my energy is only slowly returning. What matters enough to give it my energy? Where are my joys, my loves, my genuine gifts to offer?
I need more discipline in answering those questions, and more discipline in organizing my day in response to it. Any suggestions on how I can get that discipline? I’m eager to listen to you!
In the meantime, as I return to this website and a few other things, I'm relieved to experience again not just “freedom from” but also “freedom for.” And I turn to the Irish Jesuits’ very beautiful daily-meditation site, Sacred Space, which offers this rich prayer for freedom, from St. Ignatius of Loyola:
I so want to make all of me ready and attentive and available to you.
Please help me to clarify and purify my intentions.
I have so many contradictory desires.
I get preoccupied with things that don't really matter or last.
I know that if I give you my heart,
whatever I do will follow my new heart.
In all that I am today, all that I try to do,
all my encounters, reflections - even the frustrations and failings
and especially in this time of prayer,
in all of this may I place my life in your hands.
Lord, I am yours. Make of me what you will.
[Public Service Announcement: Don’t rely on a specialist to take care of the rest of your body. Go to your primary care doctor! My excellent specialist had little interest in my lasting tiredness. Finally I went to my great primary care doc. Such good news!: I had anemia and insufficient protein to heal the wound while keeping me healthy: easily solved reasons for exhaustion. Now I have iron pills and I’m eating enormous amounts of protein and my energy is returning and the wound is still healing gradually but well.]