Running on Empty

©susanirenefox

I’m scheduled for surgery in eleven days. While on the one hand I look forward to it, on the other hand, I am anxious because surgery is extremely serious. I will be “under” for about five hours. Outwardly, I have lots of energy; I’ve been extremely productive over the past couple of weeks. Inside, however, I have no energy to prep for my after-care or think about what the after-effects of the surgery may bring.

I’m not allowed to lift my arms above my shoulders for four weeks. I cannot cook or clean or lift anything during my recovery. This includes washing my hair, doing laundry, reaching for plates, or taking out my garbage. Thankfully, I can shower after two days, but I need to rely on help from friends and neighbors.

I have cooked and cleaned for others who had need here in my senior housing community – those who have had surgery or just needed a supportive helping hand. I did not hesitate to say, “Yes,” when help was requested. So why do I hesitate to request help for myself?

Asking for help isn’t easy. In fact, it’s downright antithetical to the way I run my life; independent, self-sufficient, in control. But none of those attributes are the attributes and character traits of those who follow Jesus. And they certainly aren’t a part of the serenity prayer that truly speaks to Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I have been cooking and freezing meals for myself, but I know that won’t be enough. I will need to ask neighbors and friends to come in and do my laundry, vacuum and dust, take out my garbage and maybe even do my dishes. I can’t afford a cleaning lady and my health insurance doesn’t pay for a nurse, so do I offer payment to neighbors for helping?

Five neighbors have already volunteered to cook. One has volunteered to do my laundry. All have said they will pray for me. And all of that helps me surrender and accept the help they offer.

Thankfully, my best friend who I consider my sister volunteered to come twice a week to shower with me and wash my hair. She will stay overnight with me the first two days I’m home from the hospital. Her 15-year old son will be cooking extra dinners (and some breakfasts) for me, which his mom will deliver in the mornings on her way to work.

©susanirenefox

At times, all I can do is surrender myself to the Spirit, ask His help to pray, and open my heart to Jesus who I know and trust will comfort me and remind me of my Father’s love and grace. I know I must empty myself in order to receive.

In doing so, I open myself to the help and prayers being offered in love and grace from friends and neighbors. In doing so, I accept the gifts to be given in unconditional friendship, knowing the gift bestows just as much joy to the giver as it does to me. I have experienced the joy of the giver before, and I will not rob my friends and neighbors of that joy now, as I pray for the strength to receive.

28 comments

  1. May the Lord give you a speedy recovery, restful times, and His comfort to surround you!

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    1. Thank you for your prayer, Dorissa.

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  2. I will be praying for you, too. Sounds like you have wonderful friends and neighbors.

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  3. The fear and angst of being helpless is daunting, yes. However it’s also addicting in a good way! Every cell in your body will applaud with relief and joy. No more sorting out a to-do list each day. Praying you’ll take to your new situation like a fish to water, and that you’ll be keenly aware of God’s care when fear or anxiety rear their heads. 💜🙏🏻

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    1. I know I will, Elouise. I’ll have my Bible and devotionals handy to read every day to remind me. And my bedroom windows will be open so I can hear His birds singing to me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Susan! I am praying for you. What are some of your favorite things to eat?

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    1. Thank you, Terese. Salads and rice or quinoa dishes. Blessings to you. ❤

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      1. Great! When you have a chance, please email me the dates of your surgery and recovery time and your address!!

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      2. Oh, thank you Terese, I sure will. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Praying for you.

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    1. Thank you. I welcome your prayers.

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  6. I know the difficulty of asking for help. Good job prayerfully and gratefully asking for help. Those in your community realize what you do for others and probably want to return your generosity. I send you my prayers for healing.

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    1. Thank you, Kitt. We all help each other, and I am most grateful for the help in return.

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  7. Holding you in my heart, darling.

    I’ve been preoccupied with my daughter’s accident and her quitting her job and moving in with me; my son’s heart infection and subsequent 8-hour open heart surgery; and my dear 14-year canine companion’s stroke and euthanasia.

    So I’m clueless what this surgery is about but holding you in my heart regardless.

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    1. Oh dear – lots to hold close for you. Thank you sweet sister. ❤ I'll be holding you and yours close, too.

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  8. Hi Susan – I have been so out of the loop with so many – if you can – shoot an email and catch me up – if not – I will be praying anyway for God’s divine intervention and rapid recovery for you. Peace to you. Love ya much – cate

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    1. Thanks, Cate. I will email.

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  9. Prayers for you, Susan! I also pray that you will ask for the help you need!

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    1. Thanks Wally…and I will. Hugs.

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  10. Letting others help you is important. Independence isn’t as important as interdependence. We weren’t meant to go through this life alone. Will be thinking about you and praying for you.

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    1. It is important. I’m discovering no one is an island. 😉

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  11. To reverse that well known tag: “Just say YES!” 🙂

    And I think it entirely human to go through the seeming ambiguity expressed here. Big hugs for eleven days and beyond. You are bathed in much more than you (planned) daily “social showering” ((hugs))

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    1. Oh, I’ll take those hugs, Paul. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I have learned in the last year how to depend on a caregiver. I can understand your emotions here. I’m an extremely independent person as well and having to have my wife do so much for me has been very difficult. I have learned that the grace of God shines through other people into my life. I pray that you have a caregiver, or many, that care for you with the love and affection that my wife has cared for me. I will definitely be praying with you through this time

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    1. Thanks, Pete. I appreciate it. ❤

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  13. best of luck with your surgery and recovery. so kind of others to help, in much the same way you’ve helped others, it is a gift that goes both ways.

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    1. Thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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