It has been two days since surgery. The pain is subsiding. The swelling is beginning to reduce. With the first Doctor follow-up, I can see a path for recovery. As he walked me through the pictures of my surgery, it was clear that surgery was required. While the procedure would have ideally been done right after the accident, looking forward is the best thing I can do for myself. I know there will be good days as well as bad ones. I understand that I will face one or more setbacks. This is not going to be an easy road, but there are reasons for hope.
I have struggled for a week to relearn how to do everything with my left hand. The reconstruction surgery on my right hand essentially took it out of service for an indefinite time period. During the first few days post op, the most I could do is move with care and concern. It has been awhile since I have had to deal with this level of enduring pain! The meds helped take the edge off of the experience, however I think I still received a full measure of my body’s response to the repair work.
As I look back on the preparation I can see how real the nightmare was. For reasons I do not understand, I came to Monday morning as an unwilling participant in an unending nightmare. Everything that could go wrong in my imagination replayed itself again and again. From my body rejecting the anesthesia to the Doctor forgetting what to do next was frighteningly real. With each twist, “in the blink of an eye, disaster! A blind curve in the dark, and – nightmare!” (Psalm 73.19)
The message was compelling. With the right dress, appropriate demeanor, and rhetoric that resonated, I caught myself accepting the ideas. Combined with crisp logic and simple ideas, the presentation was impressive. I found myself wanting to believe even more. I love new ideas. When the ideas fill a void that others seemed to have missed, everyone pays attention, myself included! As listened to the comments of others, it was obvious that I was not the only one who was impressed.
In the days that followed I explored the message, the firms involved, and the individuals leading the effort. The feedback was initially confusing, yet as more came in I could see a consistent pattern developing. The great start with the presentation appeared to be fading. I found myself wanting to confront the presenter. If I could, my words would have been directly to the point; it is a “slippery road you’ve put them on, with a final crash in a ditch of delusions.”(Psalm 73.18) I found that very little of the original presentation held up in the end.
As I sat listening to a friend recount the details of his life, my heart struggled to respond. I had no interest in clichés. Stock answers were not appropriate to the specifics. In my heart and mind I could not find any anger or malice about the whys and specifics. My focus was on the individual. What could I say? Specifically, how could I let him know that Hope was present?
I do not have a universal answer. Life continues to remind me that situations are unique. Individuals experience life in a context shaped by the past and present that is personal. At best I could offer a pointer or reminder of something they have seen in part or in whole at some point in their journey. So far lessons that Life continues to leave with me include the following.
As a year draws to a close, I find myself caught with others in a reflection of past, present, and future. In the quietness and noise of life, in the moments of solitude as well as gatherings with friends, in the back of my soul a show continues to play. This show has layers of characters and meanings. It is a strange mix of reality and imagination across each time perspective. Each scene blends seamlessly with the other, moving backwards and forward, relentless playing on my heart and mind.
It is impossible to deny that Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt are part of this show. In any given moment, they are lead characters! As much as I try to push them off the stage, they quietly return with renewed energy. I can try to fight them, but I have come to believe that this is never the answer. I can try to appease them, but their appetite knows no bounds, so this option is as fruitless as a fight. The one things that works for me is to wrestle with each. It is an unending battle, yet it deals with the core cry for attention even as it continues without end.
The sinus block was taking its toll. I knew there were limited options on how I could respond. The Advil tablets were for my mental state; experience reminded me that they would not relieve anything. The solution was lots of water, nasal rinses, and rest, hopefully all in quantity. For now it hurt to walk, move, and even think. The overwhelming pain dominated everything! In the struggle to maintain, I found myself focused on my commitment to host and cook dinner.
If there were workable options to postpone, I probably would have grabbed one of them. I knew it was far too late. Given the season, commitments, and lack of late options, there was no time to move the timing. In addition, I had reserved and purchased a special ingredient for the dinner. My investment went beyond money, but I did not want to waste the money either! So far, everything was on schedule, well almost everything except my sinusitis.
In Charles Dickens Christmas Story, the character Scrooge is often considered the primary villain. There is no doubt that in Christmas pasts, he inflicted unnecessary pain and trouble on his family as well as those who worked for him. The potential blame for what might happen to a sick boy was placed at his feet early in the story. The enlightenment and response of Scrooge is the stuff of movies. What strikes me most is the responses of Fred, Scrooges’ nephew, Bob, his clerk, and especially Tiny Tim, long sick son of Bob. In short, Tiny Tim understands the spirit of Christmas from his heart outwards.
One naturally presumes that wisdom comes with age and experience. In my experience, there should be no question that there is an opportunity for wisdom with age and experience. The “but” rests on the word opportunity. Just because there is an opportunity, no matter how compelling and attractive as it might be, one should never assume that one embraced the obvious. The implied premise within should not ever been assumed! One may have wisdom, however, one may not use what one has! Acting in wise ways has little to no direct correlation to the amount of wisdom that one should or could have.
As big as Singapore seems, in the press, in its strategic location, and in many eyes, it is relatively small. There are less than 5.5 million people and that includes 1.6 million non-residents that are living here. While landfill has expanded the overall size, it is still an island that one can drive around in less time that it takes to get into New York City on a busy morning. With time everything seems familiar – places, people, and things important to both.
In this setting, posers stand out. It is fun to observe the boys and their racers, bikers and the stallions, and the latest fashions vying for top billing. Singapore’s posers coexist on a stage tailored made for those who love to watch. The variety is fantastic! Young and old, rich and wanting to impress, multifaceted and single dimension blend in a mosaic of posers thirsty to be noticed.
In a quest to replace to lamp bulbs that had flashed in a failing attempt to work, I found myself heading to Ikea. Cheap, reliable, and predictable are words I normally associate with the store and the products one finds there. In this case, the words did not fit. Whatever I might think of things, if I wanted to use the products it was the only store that had the replacement parts.
As I came in from the underground parking lots I could hear bells. It was an odd sound because it has been over a year since I heard similar bells. Then it was the familiar Santa ringing a bell by the Salvation Army Donation bucket in San Francisco. Traditionally, the sound of Santa ringing the bells is familiar and assuring. As I came up the stairs, I did not find the familiar bucket or Santa. Instead there were two young Santa helpers in outfits that were a cross between an elf and Santa’s suit. I have no idea what they were drawing attention to because they were sitting on a bench, blissfully ringing the bells, chatting to each other, and by all appearances totally unaware of anyone passing by them.