It’s September again and here I am evaluating where I am in my life and examining how I spend my time. Now that I am a little bit older, I not only ask myself what matters, but I am also asking myself how do I want to be remembered. More importantly, I think about how I want to be remembered by my children, not just years from now, but from day to day.
The month of September is a special month for me as it is the seventh anniversary of my own life-changing experience. Eight years ago I was pregnant with my last child and I endured my last diverticulitis attack. The doctors told me I would need to have the diverticulosis removed soon after my son was born. So when he was six months old, because we wanted the procedure out of the way before he started walking, I was admitted into the hospital. I would be in the hospital for at least a week, leaving my husband to hold down the fort with four boys (have mercy)! A detailed printed folder titled “Survival Guide” was left for my husband and mother to make sure that the house was run correctly and that a child didn’t miss a class or a soccer game. Meals were prepared and homeschool assignments were very clear (to make sure they were being educated).
My procedure was early in the morning and I was informed my surgery went very well. I was prescribed a liquid diet for the first two days in the hospital. The third day they allowed me to have a piece of chicken and within a few hours I was in great pain. I voiced to the nurses that something was wrong, but my pleas fell on deaf ears. I bled for almost ten hours and I was extremely shaky and very weak. The nurses were confused and thought it was my heart, so I was rushed to the heart ward where they were still unable to determine why my heart was beating irregularly. My surgeon examined me and determined that I was bleeding into my gut and I was now septic. I knew exactly what this meant; it was the very reason I opted for surgery — to avoid becoming septic.
My body became limp and everything around me was in slow motion. I felt like I was saying goodbye to my loved ones and in some strange way, it was okay because I felt an unbelievable peace. I could see the fear on my husband’s face, and my oldest son was pleading for them to do something. They wheeled me to the operating room where they made a large vertical incision down the middle of my stomach (there went my modeling career). I stayed in the hospital for another week and I was told that they had never witnessed a patient recover from something like this so quickly.
I believe it was a miracle.
It was a glorious day when I was able to go home to my loving husband and four wonderful boys. Most of what I thought mattered before entering the hospital, no longer seemed important. I remember sitting in my sunroom with my boys and one by one they would hug and lean into me. This is what matters, I thought over and over again. I walked through my house and began to feel sickened by all my earthly possessions. My closet, though it was in color wheel order, was full of unworn clothes. I purged my house, my life and carefully examined how I spent my time.
I began to make some changes and they were good; they were freeing.
Seven years later here I am again. I am constantly tempted to take on too much and it seems to always be something that pulls me away from my family. My parents are growing older and I am beginning to hear the clock of their lives ticking (I do not like this). It’s hard enough to find the time for what is truly important, so why do we add all the other insignificant busyness that in the end has little reward?
So I will allow projects to wait a little while (oh me, oh my), and I will not be distracted from my desire to be a loyal wife, a nurturing mother and a selfless daughter. I have seen where others have ended up when they do not have what is truly important on their plate. I am not judging them; simply learning from their devastating choices. We all make mistakes and we all get off course but that doesn’t mean we cannot refocus and make wise decisions today.
The “Survival Guide” I created before my hospital visit was kept as a reminder. When I read through the Guide I am brought back to what was important to me: my family, my home and my church. My belongings were not listed in the survival guide; my home improvement inspirations along with all of my Pinterest plans were not itemized in detail with my goals to fix my fixer upper; my diet and exercise routine did not make the list either. One day there will be time for me to exercise more than twice a week and one day I might promote that diet product I signed up for (or maybe not).