#blogElul 25: BEGIN

Today is the 25th anniversary of my appendectomy. I came down with appendicitis the night before, on the fourth day of college orientation, and at the time an appendectomy was major surgery. Quite the dramatic beginning to my college career!

A few days after surgery

A few days after surgery

From this distance, I look back at the appendectomy as a good story, a big event in my life, but not a hardship. My grandfather's cousin Emily and her husband Ed hosted me while I recovered, and we formed a strong bond. How I adored Emily, and how grateful I am for her friendship and love.

I was able to return to college a few weeks later, and I had a great first semester. I had to give myself plenty of time to recover, which ended up making the semester a lot more relaxed than it probably would have been otherwise.

I learned a lot from the experience, especially about pain and the recovery process. I still consider the pain of the morning of August 31, 1988 to be the worst I have ever experienced, but it taught me that I could trust my body to help me manage pain. Those lessons gave me courage for childbirth, and I think it was a big part of why I had such a wonderful birth experience with my older son.

Recovering my health was tough at times but it was also a joyful process. I remember how delighted I was when I could run and skip again! And it taught me not to take my health and mobility for granted. 

I woke up this morning thinking about how I would write about "Begin" from the perspective of the sense of beginning I bring to the upcoming new year. I have lots of plans and hopes, just as I had 25 years ago. These memories of my appendectomy are a good reminder that life takes unexpected turns, and while plans and expectations are great, what I want most is to be open to the gifts of whatever presents itself.

  The Road Ahead , 8/11/07

 The Road Ahead, 8/11/07