My first post-surgery reflection, Thank God for Poop, focused on the physical transition necessary to be released from the hospital. Though, in my mind, I had set a goal to write consistently during the period of recovery, my spirit had other ideas. Multiple times I sat down, computer in my lap, with full intent to immerse myself in a steady flow of new insight.
But, nothing came out. You could say it this way: My post-surgery physical constipation had transitioned to a mental, spiritual, creative constipation. Nothing was coming out! Like the physical, I soon discovered you can’t force the mental, spiritual, creative process either. Over coffee one day, a wise friend told me, “You may need to let this simmer awhile.” So, I’m letting it simmer.
To that end, the following reflections, whenever they emerge, will mine the experiences of surgery and recovery for the ways they altered my perspectives on pain and suffering, human connection and calling, coping and grieving.
Experience itself doesn’t change you. Experience, chewed upon, digested, and absorbed into your being has the nutritional potential to renew your appreciation for each day, re-vitalize your desire for connective relationships, and refresh your direction for life’s path. (Pardon the digestive metaphor. I’ve still got bowels on my mind.) Only, in that way, can we thank God for the “poop” in our lives.
Let me begin with a few assumptions I live with:
- Crap happens. To the faithful and unfaithful. The young and old. The healthy and sick. The rich and poor. Crap happens.
- God doesn’t plop crap in our lives to teach us something. Paradoxically though, some of the most transformative insights can arise in response to the crap we experience.
- There is a mystery to some suffering that we will never fully understand.
So, why am I “Thanking God for Poop” today? For reminding me of the wisdom of this phrase from Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season…”
Each new season demands the asking of new questions, the shaping of a new identity, and the imagining of a new future. The asking of those questions and the emergence of that new identity and future, though necessary, do not come easily. Our denial will neither turn back the hands of time nor slow the bodily aging process that mocks us each time we utter, “I used to be able to…”
In this case, resistance is the pathway to futility. Acceptance is the pathway to freedom.
Here’s what I’ve had to accept in this season of life—I’m a wogger!
What’s a wogger you ask? A wogger is one who says they are going out for a run, yet it is barely a jog—a jog that looks more like a walk. So, I’m not going out for a run (That train left the station a number years ago). I’m also not really jogging yet. I’m in that season that feels like a jog and looks like a walk. It’s either a jalk or a wog. I prefer a wog.
I’m now a wogger.
Am I good with being a wogger? Hell no!
I’m also not good with being 54 with three kids in college or beyond and one more merging into her senior year of high school.
I’m not good with being in the locker room at the Y overhearing the conversation of a few retired men in the next stalls griping about their failing body parts knowing, in a very real way given my recent surgery, I could join them at any time.
I’m not good with the conclusion they reached when they said, “Well, it beats the alternative.” Well, duh! But is that really the only bar I’m jumping (well not really jumping, more like hopping or stepping vigorously, or just not tripping) over these days.
I’m a wogger. When did that happen!
Yet, the insistence of time doesn’t stop to ask whether I am good with it or not. It just keeps rolling. So, I have a choice to make.
In this case, resistance and denial are the pathways to futility. Acceptance and action are the pathways to freedom.
My name is Kai and I’m a wogger. That’s part of my identity for now.
So, I’ll keep wogging. It’s one aspect of my uphill climb to recovery.
Unexpectedly, I have noticed this in the past few weeks: I’m enjoying wogging (jogging and walking) more than I have in the past. And… after wogging, I’m a little more energized for intercaring (that’s a combination of interacting and caring), for creatiting (creativity and writing), and for loping (loving and hoping). For those small increments, I’m grateful.
In this season of life, my name is Kai and I’m a wogger.