Monday, June 23, 2014

The Gift of Receiving

The last time I posted here it was to share with you my experience after I took a tumble while out walking with my granddaughter and the job my ego did of beating up on my already  black, blue and humiliated self. As it turns out, my friends, that was only the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface what I thought was a wrenched shoulder and bruised hip turned out to be a fracture of the top of my leg bone and another minor one in my shoulder. After 12 hours in ER and a week in the hospital which included putting two pins in my leg so the fracture will heal properly, the whole "woe is me, I'm not old and helpless" tape was erased and replaced with a really tough lesson to learn: how to receive with grace and gratitude.

I am the do-er in my family and circle of friends. I am the one who takes care of others. I helped my daughter with the kids when she had wrist surgery. I helped my best friend when she had a hip replacement. I am the one who helps set up for Sunday Service and coffee hour every week at church. Suddenly, I was flat on my back, pins in my leg, arm in a sling, needing help for even the most personal and mundane things like getting washed and dressed, going to the bathroom and eating meals. This time there was no room for ego or hurt feelings. Without any fanfare or debate, I had no choice but to let go and learn to receive without loosing my dignity. It wasn't pretty.

The amazing thing is that eventually it became a little easier when I accepted that I had no real choice in the matter and that whether or not it would turn out to be a positive experience rested with me. The more I was able to let go and receive with a smile and a kind word of thanks, the more I was able to accept that this had nothing to do with how old I was but with what a remarkable opportunity this was to grow as a woman and as a spiritual being having a human experience. At first the aids and nurses all spoke to me the way they would to their Grandmothers (several of them said I reminded them of their Granny). They would walk into the room and address me in a very loud voice as if a hearing problem was included with the fractures (why do they assume that after 60 we automatically go deaf?). Eventually they got the message that my hearing was just fine and stopped yelling. Before the accident, I would have responded to that from my ego. After the accident, I just let it roll off my back with a smile. I found that the more I smiled, the easier the whole experience became.

I also found that the more I let go, the more clear headed and focused I became. Maybe because my ego was no longer running the show and that nasty old tape that had been playing on a loop before had finally dried up and disappeared along with cassette players and big hair.

Being able to receive with grace and gratitude is very much a gift that not all of us find easy to acquire but once we get it, it paints a very different picture of ourselves and the world around us that has more color, more depth and more love than the one we had before. It also comes in handy when you come home from the hospital and people bring you food ... lots of food ... all of your favorites. So good-bye to, "oh, you shouldn't have done that," and hello to, "thank you, what a lovely surprise." In the end it is a gift for both the giver and the receiver, and that is probably the most important part of all.
And so it is.