Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pass the Frozen Peas, Please!

“Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.” – Psalm 119:50

No doubt about it, major surgery is hard on your body. The one blessing, however, is that when you’re “under the knife,” you’re also under general anesthesia. Not so with the recovery, however. While you may not feel any pain during the operation, there’s plenty of it to go around afterwards. And with joint surgery, we’re talking weeks and even months of opportunity for severe discomfort and pain, as the physical therapy process begins rebuilding functionality of not only the joint itself, but the muscles and tendons around it. It isn't just a hard recovery; it is a HARD recovery. One that requires the help of something that can be counted on day and night, to help ease the pain and keep the recovery process going, even if it’s just One. Minute. At. A. Time.

Thus began my relationship with frozen peas. Laugh as you will, but there is no better friend these days than my trusty bag of tiny, round, icy, green vegetables. There’s a saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Uh, no, they don’t. Not without frozen peas, anyway.

Every day this past week, since I got clearance to “move” my shoulder, I have had the joy (NOT) of performing various exercises at home to try and regain my range of motion. In one, I roll a giant blue ball across my bed, listening to my biceps tendon and muscles around my rotator cuff crackle as they stretch further and further. Painful, yes, but all things considered, it’s fairly easy peasy (pardon the pun). The real killer is using a pulley to force my arm out and (theoretically) above my head. The first time I used it, I wept so loudly that my husband raced in to find out what was happening to me. Even using motivational music – “Anything’s Possible” being my favorite – to keep me going, I almost always find myself in excruciating pain, as my arm creaks centimeter by centimeter towards the ceiling, or as it makes its way back down again. Let’s pause here for a moment. OUCH! OK, thanks … just thinking about it was making my arm hurt.

So anyway, when I am done with these torturous activities each day, the only way, and I mean the ONLY way I can get my shoulder to stop hurting is to place a large bag of frozen peas on it. No amount of Tylenol will do, nor even prescription painkillers. Peas are it. Period. While Jimmy Buffet may be dreaming of a frozen concoction from Margaritaville, I have my own frozen contraption from the land of the Jolly Green Giant that “helps me hold on.” As the cold envelopes my aching joint and inflamed tendons, I can relax, even enjoy my day for a few minutes, as my body becomes oblivious to the pain and strain that has been inflicted upon it.

The benefits aren't just for my shoulder either. When I woke up in the middle of the night last night, unable to walk because my knee had decided to lock up and it hurt to put even the tiniest amount of weight on it, I could think of no other solution: peas. Hopping across my kitchen to the freezer, I pulled out my bag of trusty little friends, and 20 minutes later, my knee felt as good as new. Physically speaking, I can literally say that frozen peas are acting as my lifesaver – or at the very least, my peacekeeper – these days.

Unfortunately, there are many instances in our lives in which having a physical “helper” is not enough. I may love my peas, and they do wonders for my aching joints, but they do nothing for my soul. When my heart is crying out for relief from emotional pain - caused by a hurtful word, loneliness, or a longing from somewhere deep inside – I need something powerful, beyond myself, to keep me holding on. I need comfort…love…hope. I need the power of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus called “The Comforter.” He is only a whisper away, but just as I have to reach into the freezer and grab hold of my bag of frozen peas to apply its relief to my body, I am the one who must reach out to God and take hold of His hand when I am hurting. It is not enough for Him to be there. I must listen for His presence. I must read and apply His word. Then, only then, can I find lasting relief to the pain in my soul. Enough for the moment. Enough for today. Enough for life.

What kind of pain are you struggling with today? Physical, spiritual, or both? Are you relying on just physical helpers to “help you hold on” or are you trusting God as well?
Pass the Frozen Peas, Please! originally appeared on Spring Sight blog, by Linda W. Perkins.  Get even more encouragement by following me on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

Subscribe to Spring Sight via e-mail
Subscribe to Spring Sight by Email Your privacy is very important. Your email address will not be shared with any 3rd parties.