middot patience daily living patience in healing

patience in healing

Written by  rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

art-dentistLast week I had the privilege of experiencing the removal of all four wisdom teeth and one extra tooth that had grown behind one of my top front teeth. The entire experience has been a test of patience.

The surgeon had told my fiancée that I was going to want to talk when I came out of anesthesia and that it was her job to stop me from doing so. The reason I wasn’t to speak was that I needed to keep my mouth shut down on the gauze to help accelerate the clotting process. Sure enough, I came to and started trying to talk. Apparently, I was pleasantly belligerent about the matter (although rather amusingly according to my fiancee’s report). As a result, it took a little longer than usual for the bleeding to stop.

Upon arriving home, the first day was filled with moments in which I attempted to act as if I were one step ahead of the recovery process at all times…I was impatient. It is completely understandable to be impatient when you’re recovering from a surgical procedure. Our bodies are not used to having things taken out of them and/or having new things put into them. Nevertheless, acting out of impatience when your body is trying to recover can actually increase the time necessary for recovery. In other words, it is counterproductive.

Once I began to behave patiently with my body, my recovery process began to accelerate dramatically. It’s still a little uncomfortable. I’m looking forward to apples, crunchy raw vegetables, and chips + salsa again. I won’t know until a few more days if the wounds are healing as they should. I am learning to let it all go, however. If I keep on track doing what I need to do, then there’s no shame if things take an unpleasant turn and no energy wasted when everything turns out fine.

It is my prayer that learning to be patient with my body was a mini-training to improve my ability to be patient with others. There is very little that can be accomplished trying to force any living thing to move before it’s ready. Often, you’ll spend longer in the argument about the forcing than you would have if you were just a little more patient. May this be a season in which we can all get a little better at being patient about those things over which we have no control.

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