Sunday, June 21, 2009

Unwrapping the Gift

The night gave way to a brand new day, my first morning waking up at home after five days in the hospital. I lay on the couch downstairs, a chamois coloured, feathery light duvet covering me and keeping me cosily warm. I thought of the hospital, and the routine I knew so well by now, imagining the nurse at that moment, going from patient to patient taking blood pressures and temperatures and checking IV levels. I was thankful to be wearing my own favourite nightie and not the blue hospital gown, double layered for modesty, that would get increasingly tangled as I turned during the night.

I listened to the pitter-patter of the rain on the skylight, in the large hall outside the room. I had so much to be thankful for.

My dependable workhorse of a body has been recovering rapidly this week, but I have found that I have needed to ease it into the day slowly since surgery on Monday morning. So I lay quietly, thinking, and drifting in and out of sleep for quite a while as the rain tap-tapped gently up above.

How often over the past five days, I had imagined the rooms of this house, thinking of being back here, where I belong. Like a clock whose pendulum has stopped it's rhythmic swing, it was as though the heart of the house had stopped beating when I left on Sunday night. The dishwasher still held the same full load of dishes waiting to be washed that I had loaded last weekend. Paul doesn't know how the dishwasher works and had been too distracted anyway this week. It was as if time had temporarily stood still in some ways.

Brenda slept on downstairs, and Paul upstairs, as I slowly slid myself off the couch and threw a sweater over my shoulders, slipped into my Birkenstocks and padded out into our sun porch. I creaked into a floral, cushion padded, wicker chair and drank in the view.

Although the sky was cloudy and gray, trees of every shade of green, from verdigris to viridian, nodded and swayed as the morning shower breezed through their leaves; giving them a Saturday morning scrub.

"How much can happen in a garden in just five days," I thought. The dishwasher may have been frozen in time, but the garden hadn't been. While I was gone the scarlet poppies had burst from their tightly rounded pods. I am amazed at this miracle every year. How does God do that? The peonies too, deep burgundy and creamy pink, had unfurled their petals in glorious and decadent beauty.

I thought of how rarely I enjoy this room. I am usually just "passing through."

One of the gifts that God deposited in me is stamina and energy. It is also my greatest hamartia: my tragic flaw.

I realize that a gift is given to cherish and use; to steward. I have allowed my gift to use me.

Later in the day I picked up the Henri Nouwen book I received for my birthday and which I wrote about recently, Home Tonight. Henri shared a quote that seemed so apropos:

Rabbi Levi saw a man running in the street, and asked him, "Why do you run?" He replied, "I am running after my good fortune!" Rabbi Levi tells him, "Silly man, your good fortune has been trying to chase you, but you are running too fast."

From Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest byWayne Muller, 1999, Bantam Books, New York, p.48.

Susan quoted our friend Ellen already this week, who wisely said to me, "Unwrap the gift. Let God create in you."

I am relaxing into him and allowing him to do just that.


Julie said...

Glad you are home Belinda and on the mend. I to know the experience of opening the gift and emerged from a time of hospital stay and healing with a gift of "rest in me I am your comforter". Blessing on this new day and Sunday.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Oh, welcome home! I have been waiting, expectantly for your return to the world of blogging. I hope you spend much time snuggling in blankets and snoozing whenever you want to ... you are home, but take good care of yourself.

Susan said...

Welcome home, Blog Princess. It's so good to have you back where you belong - right here on the pages of WHS - and with such a good "first post". I'm looking forward to sharing in more of the fruit from your "time apart".


Deidra said...

I'm so glad to hear you're safe at home, all wrapped up, and taking it easy. May God bless you as He heals and recreates in you.

Henri Nouwen is so very profound. I need to hear that passage today. Blessed Sabbath to you this day.

Marilyn said...

Thanks for this insight on gifts and giftings! It's an interesting perspective to ponder and a great addition to my thought-pool on the subject. (I LOVE when that happens!)

And thank you for adding at least 3 new words to my vocabulary! :-)

Belinda said...

Oh, Marilyn (yes, again! You always have me saying that.:)) THREE new words? Aha--perhaps the shades of green. :)

Thanks to the dear friends who commented above: Julie, Dave, Susan and Deidra. I am blessed beyond belief in this good day.

Night Owl said...

Dear Belinda,
Welcome home. I am so happy to hear of how well you are recovering from you, yourself! It's a gift I refuse to ever take for granted again.
I sent you a little "get well" mail. I hope it gives you another smile. I love your smile. :)
Your surroundings are beautiful, imagined as well as real, I bet! Well you write of them in such a way that I feel as though I am there. :)
And wow, a skylight? I miss our old house only for the reason of missing the skylight it had. I love how rain dances on skylights. :)
Love and hugs,

Belinda said...

Hugs back to you, dear Night Owl. I will take a photo tomorrow of our garden for the blog. It is utterly beautiful right now and I can actually sit and enjoy it. Today Paul surprised me with a bejewelled coloured glass hummingbird feeder with wind chimes hanging from it, which he has installed in "my" little patch of garden. He also surrounded my garden with copper moon lights that will shine for six hours each night. I can't wait to see them tonight.

Night Owl said...

Oh, wow your new hummingbird feeder sounds gorgeous too! I've been wanting a bird feeder. But my neighbour has a lot of pigeons in his, and I don't really like pigeons. I like smaller birds better. Let me know if you see any hummingbirds! :)