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Solitude following surgery has opened new doorsPosted Friday, January 8, 2010, at 4:57 PM
Happiness is not what we own or desire.
Those things always change.
Then, what is happiness?
By definition, happiness (the noun) is the quality or state of being happy; having good fortune; pleasure; contentment; or joy.
The past few weeks since my latest and hopefully final knee replacement surgery, I've been afforded a lot of time -- time to be quiet, think and listen.
I guess you could call it a spiritual awakening for a pursuit of happiness.
Whatever it is, it has caused me to spend time to reflect on my own life -- past and present -- and try to forge an inner attitude for the future that will make me a better and a happier person.
You know every single thing we do in this life has a set of hurdles which have to be jumped, climbed, walked around, blown up or walked through.
As I look back, there have been plenty of hurdles placed in my own life, but I can assure you no matter how bad I think things have been with me and my family, there are others in our community who are hurting more and challenged more than we are or ever have been.
Speak to anybody at all who is complaining about their situation in life and then ask them what do they really want to do.
Listen to the silence as they just flounder about doing just what they have fallen into. Call it a rut that soon becomes a lifestyle.
You'll hear a bundle of excuses, some of them will be quite convincing, but at the end of the day it's still an excuse.
I am trying more to focus on what I have and not on what I don't have.
We tend to think of things materially that we don't have and in the process we forget to enjoy what we already have.
When you get right down to it, most of us are lucky to lead a lifestyle that most of the world population only dreams of.
We are blessed and don't know it or don't want to acknowledge it.
I once read the following simple statement and it has stuck with me: "I was complaining about not having a shoe till I saw a man who had no leg."
Now, that puts things into a very eye-opening perspective for me personally as I'm battling through rehabilitation -- trying to get these darn knees functioning in a way that corresponds with what my mind wants to do and the body is allowing to happen.
Since late August, when I had my left knee surgery I've kind of been laid up or recuperating. For days and weeks, I have been homebound -- not able to get out to do my normal news beats and office responsibilities.
The solitude in many ways has been good for me.
It has slowed me down and made me appreciate the small things in life -- like a bird foraging for something to eat in the fresh snow outside my window as I write this.
This latest surgery on Dec. 4 was so much different than the one in August.
The recovery has been much tougher.
I had extensive deep muscle bruising in my quad area (thigh) from the surgery that has been very painful and has hampered my therapy.
For the first five days I was home, I was not able to even lift my operative leg off the bed -- there was no strength in it and the pain was unbelievable.
Bad thoughts came to mind.
Am I going to stay this way?
How will I function?
What am I going to do?
However, I passed that stage through the great work of my therapist and can now move around pretty good.
Last Thursday (New Year's Eve) was the first day I was able to walk with a cane and not using a walker.
That would be a small step to most, but it was a giant leap for me.
Anyone who has undergone a knee replacement knows that the therapy is no picnic, but I realize it is necessary to get things strengthened up and back functioning again.
My left leg -- which was the first one that was operated on in August -- is doing great. I have good range of motion and virtually no pain ... which is something I haven't experienced in more than six years. Now, if I can get the right leg is that kind of shape, I'll be very happy.
God is showing me how to prioritize things better. You know he has a way of doing that even when you are of stubborn German heritage like I am.
Now I have some quiet time just to read and listen ... it is amazing.
I can honestly say, I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I am happy today and enjoying my life as it is unfolding.
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