Slow and steady burn….


Wild rains pelted the windows
as I waited for my husband
to return from surgery
attached to his new part,
a brand spanking new knee,~sipping lukewarm water
from a styrofoam cup
for the pain of damage and disease
to end
and healing pain to begin.

The hospital lobby was decked with poinsettias
and people like me,
our lives pulled off road
and parked
while big pieces of our hearts
are wheeled away,
laying loopy on gurneys
hooked up to tubes dispensing liquid courage.

Long hours later,
they emerge,
their wounded parts tucked under layers of bandages
and piled high with warm blankets
as we pour over their gray faces
and swell with relief over dear ones returned to us,
still smelling like soap and home.
They’ve never seemed more vulnerable
or precious.

And now,
days later,
unshowered and undone
by the pain of progress
and frustrating limitations,
the fatigue of caregiving has set in with a vengeance
in a tiny hospital room
crowded with rehab equipment
and the droning of bored television
and pleading call bells
and the sleepy sounds of sickness
and slow recovery.

I sit squeezing back tired tears
and longing for beauty,
aching to open just one sealed window
into the sky I feel sure is still blue.

A crane lifts more steel beams as, all day, the construction
on a new hospital wing continues.
The small wing where my husband recovers
is littered with building material
and construction equipment.
Outside his window
an enormous heating and air unit
lays stranded,
covered in black plastic shredded by high winds.
I walk down the long hall to gather a drink of sky;
now this large picture window is boarded up.

This has taken on a nightmarish quality
for my air-hungry heart.

I quietly cry “Lord, help.
I need perspective.”
As I trudged back to the room,
my eyes locked onto a sign that seemed
to jump from the ugly wallpaper
“Please be patient with us; renovation in progress.”

There it was

…the beauty.
Renovation.~Bryan’s knee,
~our lives,
~our dreams,
~our hearts
…..all under renovation.

Sometimes staying broken is more tidy,
less demanding,
less offensive.
Becoming whole can be messy business.

(I love that healing is happening
even when it’s a slow burn
and I’ve wished for instant combustion.)