This past week I have once again been reminded how important it is to have a network of people in our lives that will carry us through life’s storms and that we were never meant to walk this journey alone.
My husband underwent back surgery, actually two back surgeries in two days. The first one was through the stomach on Thursday and the second one on Friday through his back. He has lived with back pain for over 20 years and after trying everything the doctors had to offer the only thing left was surgery. The surgeries themselves were scheduled to be four hours each, but because of the extensive damage to his spine, they turned into two six-hour surgeries. The doctors found broken bones and many bone spurs. In the end, he left surgery with two bones manufactured from PKK plastic, four rods, and six screws. He is home now, recovering for the next eight weeks and is doing well.
I thought I was a strong woman up until this time of our lives. I mean I was a Navy wife for 20 years and endured many times when he wasn’t even home. I had to figure out how to MacGyver washers and dryers, I raised four children, I dealt with lonely days and nights and many other situations that happen when your Sailor is out at sea. I am a successful business woman who worked from the ground up to an officer in the company I work for now. I have dealt with many other tough issues in life during my 54 years, but this past week, I felt weak, tired and oh so scared.
Watching my husband go through the pain and restrictions post-surgery and then having to deal with minor complications that would extend his hospital stay for a couple of days was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. I convinced myself that I had to be strong for him and our children, but in retrospect, I see I was wrong. To build the strength I needed for the recovery process we are now going through, I had to allow myself to be weak.
Now that my husband is home and recovering, I find myself reflecting back on the past week, and I am reminded that I would not be here without the love, support and prayers of the people around me. When I had my meltdowns, I had people come along side of me and hold me up in their thoughts and prayers. I had people come and sit with me at the hospital during the long hours of surgery, and many checked on me on a daily basis.
My week felt much like the story of Moses and the battle of the Amalekites. When Moses grew tired, Aaron and Hur came along side of him and held up his arms, so he was steady until the battle was won. I know that if I didn’t have others come along side of me, I would not have have made it through this struggle.
There are times when we go through situations by ourselves, and that is okay. But there are other times when we need others to surround us and hold us up when we are overwhelmed and weary. To many times when we go through a battle, we are told to be strong. But there are times when acting strong may only make us weaker. Relying on the strength of others does not make us weak, it takes strength to accept help from others. Therefore receiving help makes us stronger.
Criss Jami said, “To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”
So after my life lesson this past week, can I offer a bit of advice? When you find yourself going through a rough time, I want to encourage you to allow others to come along side of you and hold up your arms. Let them surround you with their strength and help. Because in doing so, you will find that strength is rebuilt in you, causing you to rise above your battle. And it won’t be long before you find you will be the one coming alongside someone who needs your help during their weak moments.