Being. Not Doing.“I wish that guy in the hallway would just: Shut up. Doesn’t he know this is a hospital?”

The words buzzed like annoying and drugged flies through my mind. Fortunately, they must have been drugged enough not to leave through my mouth. (For once.) Eventually, I started eavesdropping on the annoyingly loud guy.

Who happened to be: Praying.

Evening prayers.

Over the hospital loudspeaker.

Because I was in a Catholic hospital.


In my defense, it was the night of my surgery. I was hurting and drugged and exhausted. (I’m hoping that defense will keep me out of hell.. just saying….calling a priest annoying? Prolly not a good thing.)

The next day, I may have over compensated when the hospital Chaplain came to visit. “I’m Tracey… blah blah what Parrish are you from? I think you have a MOPS group…. I’m on the Board of Directors with MOPS International…..blah blah paassionate about reaching moms and families… blah blah….” (Yes, apparently even post surgically- I’m a MOPS advocate. (MOPS pusher? Maybe.) Or, maybe I was just trying to make it clear that: Yes, I’m a Christian… even if I thought evening prayers were annoying, last night…) I also went into a schpiel about how our church friends and family are bringing dinners etc……Anyway….I laid the “I’m a Christian” thing on pretty thick… I even used code words like: Peace, Jesus, Trust, Ministry….(Maybe it’s because I was listening to Mandisa before surgery?) Or, because of my preconceptions about Catholics preconceptions about protestants….That’s probably closer to the truth. I’m a jerk like that.

Anyway, he’s lucky I was too wasted (FY: Dilaudid is a good thing. Martha Stewart probably won’t tell you that… but it is.) to remember any of my favorite Greek or Hebrew word studies….

Anyway.. to top it off? The chaplain was even more annoying than the evening prayers priest. Because he saw right through my long winded cray-cray introduction, and in the most gentle and lilting Indian accent, he responded with this:

“Tracey, I can see you like to “do” a lot. It is hard for those of us who do when we are hurting. Remember, as you recover….you are a human being… not a human doing….The Lord wants you to rest.”

I could respond with nothing but this: ” My mentor (Mentor mom at MOPS International, actually.) Taught me that truth years ago…. I will receive those words as from the Lord.”

I am a human being…. not a human doing. I forgot I knew that.

Which is good, because at the moment, I can’t DO much. To be honest? I’m happy I can wipe my own behind. My left arm is not being very cooperative. It’s kind of like a painful chunk of meat hanging there at the moment. Due to the extent of my surgery, my neck is not the only thing affected. My entire torso is. I am just beginning to be able to lift my arms enough to dress myself without help. I’m not allowed to bend, twist or lift. In short; I’m a mess. I’m hoping the extreme left arm thing is just inflammation and will take time because at the moment: I have the dexterity of a T-Rex.

There’s not a lot of doing going on. Taking a shower and dressing doubles as physical therapy and a work out. Pulling up my underwear is my current equivalent to burpees. (Confession: I don’t even know what Burpees are. Other than a seed company and something to do with that crazy new work out thing. But, I hear they’re brutal. And so is pulling up my drawers at the moment.)

What there is a lot of- is working very hard to relax. Oxymoron? Maybe. But, trust me. My body is constantly trying to spasm, and I have to consciously make my body relax. Spasming hurts. Not in an: “Ouch, that hurts” Or even an “Oh crap!” Kind of way…. spasming is an insidious tightness and pain that feels like it’s trying to pull apart everything the doctor sewed up. (Well- sewed up after he cut it up, I think he used a ginsu in there, justsayin. IT HURTS.. ) All day long, I work against the spasming…

“Shoulders down. Breathe, Tracey. Let the brace your head up. Don’t fight the brace.” 

I also fight not to bend down and pick up the wrapper on the floor.  I fight not to try to move just one piece of laundry from the washer to the dryer at a time because then, maybe I could get a load in without hurting myself……Or to try to hold the hair dryer….I’m fighting to be… not Do…

There are moments, like right now, when my husband is looking for a laptop key the crazy shorkie accidentlally knocked off his laptop, and I cannot help him find it, that make me feel edgy. Frustrated. Useless, actually. Am I the only one for whom watching my spouse look for something is torture? It’s like I’m hard wired to just get up and find it… because: I would.) In these moments I hear the chaplain’s Indian accent reminding me again: “You are a human being, Tracey, not a human doing. Rest. Recover. It’s what the Lord needs you to do.”

So that’s what I’m doing. Working as hard as possible to rest. Yes, that’s hard work.

Dear Lord- Thank you so much for the Chaplains wise words.I had no idea how hard I would be working to relax after this surgery. Please help me to remember I’m created as a human being…. and being is enough. Let me rest in your presense…..Help this spaz… not to spasm…. and Lord? Thank you for helping my husband find that computer key:) I love you lord and trust you- even here. When it hurts. When I can’t do anything. When I’m afraid this left arm may never work right…..even here. Thank you for being with me. Amen. 

So… readers? Have you ever felt like resting was a physical work out? Do you find relaxing: easy, hard, impossible? Do you sometimes feel like if you’re not DOING something, you’re not worth something?

Me too. You’re not alone.

We are human beings. Not, human doings… and that? Is enough.

The truth is… I think I need to be knocked on my butt every once in a while so I can remember it is GOD who is and does all good things, in the world- and and me……. not me. ;)

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV