Sunday, August 11, 2013

Happy Anniversary.... Part II

When I came home from my mission and asked my new surgeon when it would be possible for me to go out again, he laughed.

He said it would be at least another year before he'd consider letting me go out again.

Even though I opted not to continue service as a full time missionary, this year mark still gave me something to reach for, to hope for. Meaning, I thought it would be this tangible thing, a date, when I could put all my pain behind me and it would finally be done. I've hoped for the time when I could finally do all the things I used to do.

I've tried to be so careful. I don't do many of the things I used to do: longboarding, hiking, even simply walking long distances. Last night as a bunch of friends disco skated, I sat on the sidelines, afraid of falling and afraid of what my hip would feel like in the morning if I tried.

And for the umpteenth time this summer, I was mad. I was angry. And I was resentful of this body that doesn't work the way that I want it to. I can't run anymore. One yoga session takes a week to recover from. And any sort of incline is the WORST.

The anniversary of my last surgery came and went a couple weeks ago. And though the pain has lessened, it's still here. And I'm afraid it will never go away.

The words my surgeon spoke the last few minutes before I left for surgery last July have snuck up like thieves in the back of my mind; stealing my hope for the future.

"This may not work. Your hip might not get better after this. You could need an even more evasive surgery where we burrow into your hip socket."

My careful measures last night proved to be fruitless, because for some in explicable reason my hip is in this nonsensical outrageous pain today. So I find myself complaining. I don't mean to. It was so easy as a missionary to swallow my pride and march forward. Because that's how much I loved the Korean people. But with only myself to concentrate on these days, the words come spilling out before I mean them to.

I was thinking about all this today, sitting on the floor of my living room (because the hard surface of a chair is too much sometimes) listening to a good home teacher testifying about the Savior.

Suddenly I remembered a hard lesson I'd learned from the MTC that I had quite forgotten.

While I cried myself to sleep at night, feeling like God didn't trust me, that I had done something wrong, as I struggled to keep up in class, find the right words in Korean, limped from meeting to meeting, I found the gift of some verses in Alma 7.

 11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions and btemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12 And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities.
In my life before the mission, I'd used the enabling power of the Atonement to overcome emotional pain and affliction. But never before had I used it to overcome physical pain. In reading these verses instead of crying towards the heavens, "Why me? Why don't you trust me? and What have I done wrong?" I began to be thankful. I realized that I had been given a gift. I could now utilize the Atonement in a way I never had before. In ways explained only through the power of faith, Christ feels my pain. And because he feels it, he knows how to comfort me.
Those verses never say that he'll take my pain away. Just that he can succor me. Just that he can give me support in times of affliction or distress.
As a missionary, that was the greatest gift. I could testify not only based on experience, but continual and present experience.
In this past year, my hip has not healed as much as I'd like it to. As hard as I try not to, I will probably always complain about it. But for now, in this moment, I feel grateful again. I have a relationship with the Savior that I might not have had if my body were completely whole.
So happy anniversary hip. We've got our troubles, but I wouldn't mind if you stick around for awhile.