I used to let all the little things get to me.
The people who said and did mean things, endless eye rolling, the list of little annoying things can stretch on and on…
Since my back surgery last week, I have had a lot time for self examination. I had to let go of a lot of things, big and little. There were far more important things (like taking care of myself, trying to help a bit around the house, and running a classroom from home) to deal with.
There are little things that DO matter. Chiefly, being able to walk steadily and being able to breathe easily. I remember watching the clock until the exact minute when the doctor said I would be able to try standing and walking. I also still have to use a breathing device to keep my lungs functioning correctly after surgery. Little things like that I took for granted.
I no know that things that matter the most are in the heart zone. I read in my “post surgery” handbook that everything I need must be in reach or near my chest/heart area–below an outstretched hand and above the waist.
Items not in the heart zone are things I have learned to ignore or let go. If it’s on the floor, someone else has to deal with it. I used to be the sweeper, the person who vacuumed, the crazy lady who picked up all the dirty laundry, dust balls, or loose crumbs. I now have a “grabber” for the things I drop (and there have been many, many dropped things lately), but my daughter seems actually thrilled to help me. I don’t like asking for help, but I am learning to. This recently has even included putting on pants and shoes since I won’t be bending at the waist for almost a month more.
I can prepare food if it’s on the counter. I can deal with things if it’s in the “happy medium”. If it’s underneath or up too high, I need help. This can also be applied to God. He helps me when I feel down or if I need to be lifted up. My heart zone is both spiritual and physical.
It’s nice to be needed in the zone of the heart. I think my husband has found out how difficult it is to arrange a schedule to include coaching, work, grocery shopping, errands, and running a child around. All things I have most often done, but I will be going into week number two of no driving. Even when I go back to work, he will have to drive me there until the doctor says otherwise (or until I can turn at the waist to see out of the blind spot while behind the wheel).
Another part of the heart are all student emails and messages (online or on paper) that wish me well. I am sure there are some enjoyed trying to manipulate the subs or who tried to get out of work, but deep down, I believe that all children want to learn and can learn–if effort is put in. The students who gave me the most well wishes were often of the type who put in the most effort or who were raised by parents to know effort is to be expected and praised.
I plan to return to work sporting a new bracelet one gave me prior to surgery. She made her mom run home to get it so I could have a wonderful warm feeling before surgery. The cute card also made me laugh and I brought it with me to the hospital. Even though it was awhile before I could cross the floor to get my personal items (and a nurse had to put the bag of stuff within my reach), just knowing someone cared enough to wish me well meant a great deal. The bracelet has a lot of red (heart colors) on it too, along with many other educator symbols.
I have also learned to be appreciative of the people for all of the little things they do. My daughter is learning to do laundry and to stack dishes in the lower part of the dishwasher that I cannot reach. My husband waited for hours just to be sure I was not alone before surgery, and then since the surgery had been postponed until late afternoon, he drove home to get my daughter from school, and then all the way back again (more than 2 hours of driving total) just to be sure I was comfortable for the night. When I was finally released to come home, he slept on the couch in case I needed anything. He even charged the hunting walkie talkies so I didn’t have to yell downstairs!
Last Sunday I demanded to go to church. I felt relieved that someone had switched me dates for eucharistic ministry since even walking up or down stairs right now means doing them only one tread at a time. It was great to worship God and to go there to Him instead of staying home. It may seem like a little thing that many people don’t want or need, but it was important to me.
I go back to work soon. I appreciate the emails, the pleasant messages, the well wishes, the calls from friends and family and the prayers. All the little things do matter–things in the heart zone, those matter the most. Even if I don’t have a bracelet to show it, all of you do matter–you are all in the heart zone.