I’ve never liked the term surrender. To me, it always felt like another word for giving up. But as my life journey has taught me me, things are not so black and white. Surrendering doesn’t have to mean giving up, maybe instead it’s more about accepting what is. Recently, at physical therapy my PT said to me, “I don’t want you to tell me what you wish your leg felt like. Tell me what it feels like right now. We have to stay present in what is reality and work from there. That’s how we move the needle.” That stuck with me because I think over the past five years, I’ve been clawing my way out of what has been happening – wishing life had gone differently. Enduring setback after setback, I have greatly struggled to surrender to life and find acceptance. And so I have suffered through it, fighting it every step. It broke me, crushed my spirit, and took my heart. And as the years have gone on, any deviation from the end goal only caused me more heartache because I’ve been so focused on getting out my current situation. And yet still I’ve refused to surrender. (Stubborn. Who? Not me…)
In the time since my last blog post over a year ago, I’ve had several more surgeries. That brings me to 16 now. Surgery in Sept. 2021 to attempt a final nerve repair/grafting effort in my heel area and a month later due to infection that followed. Unfortunately, healing complications continued. Let’s just say me, my shower bag, wound vac, and IV antibiotics became really good friends. Rough times for sure. Due to vascular issues, I underwent a repair of the tibial artery in February and March of this year, which thankfully restored blood flow and helped with the healing. Unfortunately, my CRPS took a hit with these challenges and I’ve undergone many more nerve blocks, treatments and trials of different medications. Through it all, I’ve had to learn to surrender to the fact that as much I wish my leg was in a better place, this is where I’m at for today. Have I mastered this mentality? Negatory, it’s something I have to work at every day. But I remind myself that accepting doesn’t have to mean I’m okay with it, which I think is part of my resistance to the word, but instead I try to acknowledge the reality of the struggle without wishing for it to be different. And in the times when I able to do this, I feel less frustration and find more peace, even if it’s just for that moment.
When you write with a black pen, it’s going to write in black whether you like it or not. We accept that without question. What then if the black pen began to write in purple. Would you be okay with that? You probably wouldn’t be too upset with this (I might actually like if it did that 😊), but why then is it so much harder when we expect life to go one way (in black like we thought) and instead it goes purple? Partly because the impact is felt deeper when it is happening to us and it’s also harder to accept things we don’t like. It’s not always easy to surrender to life, but nature does this without thought. I’ve spent a lot of time this year looking out the window at the trees and they never fight the change in season. They just go with the flow. In essence, they surrender. In this same way, we can do the same. It’s not easy, but when we learn to accept the realities of today without wishing for them to be different, we find strength for this moment and we reduce the burden we’re carrying on our backs. Sure, I wish I was off crutches, I wish I wasn’t in pain, I wish I was running, I wish I was hiking mountains and traveling the world, I wish I could put my ExoSym back on right now. There are a lot of things I wish I could be doing, but that is not where I am today and I’m learning to surrender to that. Not in the way of giving up, being complacent or saying this is how things will always be, but in facing this moment for what it is right now. When we accept our experience, we release our resistance to life, and to me, that is the true act of surrendering and that is how we keep going.
To sit in a sunrise and appreciate the beauty (whether it’s rain or shine) without wishing for anything to be different teaches us acceptance and it’s a lesson we can come back to every day. Sending strength, peace, hope and light to you all. Keep moving forward and find the grace to face life as it is, not as you wish for it to be. I’m working on it too. XO