I’ve been away for several weeks. I planned to entitle this blog “Back from Sabbatical”, but a sabbatical is a paid leave given for study or travel. I don’t qualify. Though my time off wasn’t paid, I studied, read, and worked on a new website and blog and I’m introducing that today

I also traveled during my blog absence. Yes, I traveled from urgent care to a hospital then to rehab, and eventually home. Synonyms for sabbatical are vacation –which my time wasn’t, but also a break. Perhaps that is the best assessment of my time off- a  break and the diagnosis: a fractured hip. Fortunately, I made an amazing, and by all accounts, a quick recovery.

For years, my focus in writing has been finding extraordinary treasures in ordinary and challenging days. My recent experience would fall in the latter category-challenging. For an independent person, landing in a hospital and depending on others for most needs posed a challenge. Using a walker, receiving therapies, moving to cane and now fairly independent, provided lessons I never expected. So, I’m back, and today I’ll give you a glimpse into one of the extraordinary treasures I found and with it a question:

Are You Prepared?

The day after surgery to repair a fractured hip, my physical therapist walked down the hall with me at what I considered a snail’s pace. With an IV attached to my right arm, wearing a hospital gown and special socks, and both hands grasping a walker, I hardly felt like a model walker.

“You’re walking like a person who prepared for elective surgery.”

“Prepared?’ I asked.

“Yes, you walk with unusual strength and have gone more feet that I would have expected.”

“I’m a walker,” I responded. “About three miles, four days a week.”

“That’s what I mean. Though this fall took you by surprise, your muscles were prepared for it.”

Later, I reflected on the conversation and laughed at the idea that I was strong due to exercise. I was that little girl on the playground who didn’t like recess or physical education. In college, when my roommate and I took golf as a PE elective-the only class that fit into our schedule-we prayed for rain, so we wouldn’t have to walk to the golf course. We preferred staying inside to learn about the game through film (that dates me—note, not a video) and a rule book. Being considered as a person who had strong muscles seemed ironic and humorous. But yes, in my senior adulthood, I enjoy walking and the Physical Therapist thought I was strong.

Now weeks later, the conversation continues to replay in my mind. It’s important to be prepared–to be ready. How do we prepare for an experience or event that we can’t predict?

We can be practical and be sure to have a pantry and refrigerator stocked and ready “just in case”. We can exercise and eat a healthy diet, so when illness comes, we are in good physical shape. We study for tests, so we do well at a job. Though the physical and practical are necessary, preparing by caring for our soul is essential.

How do we prepare spiritually?

My friend Lori Hatcher wrote a post about knowing the names of God. His names reveal His presence, power, and personality. We can be prepared by knowing who God is. When surprises come, we lean on His names-His character. Though my fall came without warning, it came as no surprise to God-El Roi-the God who sees. I could trust Him. Though I live alone, I knew once I went home, Jehovah-Jireh would supply my needs

We prepare by knowing His Word-or at least knowing where to go in it to receive encouragement. Alone in a hospital bed, the words, were a comfort from my personal God.

“When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, Therefore, in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” (Psalm 63: 6-8 NKJV)

We prepare with prayer-not our shopping list of requests- but communication to seek intimacy with the Lord. Just as friendship grows in time spent with people and learning more about them, our relationship with the Lord grows through prayer. We develop trust. We become stronger in our faith. And we are prepared.

My muscles were prepared for an unexpected assault on my body and contributed to getting on course for a healthy recovery. Dealing with life interruptions and difficulties runs a parallel course spiritually.

What would you add? When life surprises appeared–when you felt you were about to break-how have you felt prepared? Or what do you do now to prepare?

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