Stories From Paradise

The In-Between Times

casita bano

I had my first hot shower in 11 days this morning. Actually, my first shower. Incredible. Not that I didn’t bathe in 11 days. I did the sink and face-cloth thing but not always hot water and never the same as the water running down your spine. Sticking greasy hair under the faucet of even a normal size sink is unrewarding. There is the water up the nose, down the back and then the shampoo in the ears and eyes and then try rinsing it out.  Why was I doing that? Well, remember the hip surgery I talked about in the last blog. I did it. Faced my fears, got on a plane, disrupted family members on both sides of the Americas and climbed onto that operating table ready to change my life.

 And I did. And I am so excited that I now have a new hip and a very exciting new 6-inch curvy scar down my left buttocks. I know that in 6 months my life will be full of action instead of pain. But I forgot the in-between part. This part where I cannot really walk for about 3 weeks and where I definitely cannot climb over a tub to get to the shower. The in between time when I cannot move much and where my leg is swollen and where I am looking at big shiny staples down my butt and where I have to ask for help to do almost everything.

That in-between part that tests you, that asks the question, “You really wanted to do this?” I admit, I didn’t really think about the in-between part. Well I did and I didn’t. I had my sister come to help me and she did: from changing bandages to putting my shoes and socks on, to making me laugh rather than cry over my immobility. I knew I would need help. And I organized my boyfriend’s family to help me out with places here in Mexico where I could stay. I knew I would need someone to cook for me and help with washing clothes and my feet: my sis again. But I hadn’t really faced the reality of when she had to go back to work. I had not faced the reality of being alone and not able to move well, of being dependent for so long.

We all face those in between times. And they are rarely the way we envision them. Like the times we wait for a job or for comments on that project or to ask for that raise or quit that job or to find headstand or to float your feet to your hands. The in-between. The times you just have to suck it up and stay with it. Not anyone’s favorite times. But these are the times that can fill us with the richness of life. The richness in the kindness from the stranger last night who helped my sister and me up the curb. One curb, I couldn’t climb with only one friend. So a new friend helped us. I may never see her again but I have to tell you it felt great to get help from a total stranger and then to say thanks. Nothing more, nothing less.

Or that richness in a hot shower. I cannot tell you the absolute joy I felt when first, the hot water came. Then when I stepped into it, walker and all, to just stand under that miracle of miracles: hot water shooting out from a wall to cleanse us. Think about it. I had been for days.

And I keep telling myself to appreciate it, to hold onto it because I know, this in-between time won’t last forever. Soon, if I ask someone to help me put my shoes on, they may just tell me to get lost. At least they will ask why. And I will have an appointment at 5:15 or someone will be expecting me or I will need to run to get this or that or meet that person. Today is an in-between day. I have no appointments. I can relax and watch the day unfold, expecting nothing but the healing that happens in the in between times.

So, if you are there, relax. Try to find the poignant beauty in the moments that before were full of stuff and now are full of minutes, of observing flowers, people and the sky. Remind yourself that this in between time won’t last forever. Hold onto that effort that it takes to get somewhere new, even if it seems like nothing is happening. Have the patience to do that one exercise, put that one foot in front of the other, wait: for that moment, that miracle, that hot shower. Relax into the in-between time knowing that soon, you will be in the next place and what you do now, the preparation, the waiting, will make the next place oh so rich.

hibiscus flower