The summer months in the U.S. in 2017 were unusual. Instead of actively doing all of my normal activities, I was forced to stop completely in my tracks. While I’m generally happiest when I’m doing something (unless it’s reading a good book) rather than sitting, the forced inactivity was a good time for me think about all the things in life that I appreciate.
I have been struggling with leg and back issues for most of the four years we’ve been in Romania, but the early months of 2017 were particularly daunting. In Romania I found myself walking less and less, taking taxis, sitting to do as many things as possible, and generally dealing with pain. There was no question that something had to happen before we could contemplate returning this fall. So in early August I had a hip replacement.
Now we’re back in Romania and I continue to heal and think about the things this process has made me grateful for:
- My husband Jay, who during my early post-surgery days was my nurse, my physical therapist, cook, and cleaner while keeping his sense of humor. I hated asking for help for so many small things I couldn’t do on my own. I have a new appreciation for those with handicaps and the elderly whose daily reality is relying on others for assistance and am grateful that I can once again take care of myself.
- My friends and family who brought meals, “babysat” when Jay needed to be out of the house for a while, visited when the days got long, and generally supported me in so many ways.
- The opportunity to have this surgery and a surgeon in my hometown who could do it successfully. Now that we’re back in Romania, I am more aware of all the older people who walk with a limp, and I wonder whether they’re experiencing pain and what their options are for relieving it.
- For a God who is the great healer. It’s astonishing to me that muscles that have been severed can recover and regain strength. Doing my daily exercises and walking helps the process, but we are indeed wondrously made.
- For a warm, dry house. During the days of my recovery I watched news of Hurricane Harvey. I can’t imagine the horror of losing everything to flooding, but I was drawn to the stories of elderly and handicapped people who had to add this to their already difficult lives and have been unable to imagine what it would have been like for me to be in this flooding during these post-op days.
- For hope. I continue to heal and with the help of a good therapist here in Romania, I have been able to get relief from the sciatic pain that continued post-surgery. I am hopeful that I will be completely well before long and am so grateful for the days once again where I feel “normal”. I continue to interact with people of all ages here in Romania who don’t have hope that their lives will ever be different from the day to day struggles they experience.
- For new life. In October we welcomed a granddaughter (and our first grandchild) into our family. We’re able to see and talk to baby Rosalyn every Sunday afternoon via FaceBook chat. So I’m thankful for technology that makes this possible.
What am I doing in Romania during these months of continued healing? I had decided before we returned, that I would give myself time to recover before diving into all my former activities. And I have been able to do that most of the time.
I am taking Romanian language two mornings a week from a young college grad, Lori, who also helps out at Kids’ Club in Tigmandru. This has been very helpful as I felt like I had hit a plateau in my language learning.
I have been able to work from home, writing the Veritas fall newsletter and monthly update emails. These are sent out in English to people in the U.S. and English-speaking EU countries. The fall Veritas View newsletter is available on the Veritas website at http://veritas.ro/news-media/newsletter-new/
I continue to go to Tigmandru two afternoons a week where my work involves singing with the children and leading crafts. We have had between 30 and 55 children each day. Two Romanian Studies program students have been helping with games and working with the younger children, so that has made preparing for and leading crafts much easier for me. The time with the children in Tigmandru continues to give me energy and joy.
I have also begun singing again with those who attend the special needs program at Veritas each Thursday. We’re preparing for Christmas parties and caroling so I’ve been learning some new Romanian songs with them. This group of adults (along with staff and student pictured here) aren’t the best singers but they make up for it with their enthusiasm. The favorite song continues to be “Kum Ba Ya” so we sing that every week!
Our Thanksgiving celebration didn’t include family this year, but it was a time to be thankful for the many blessings we have had over the past year and for the privilege of continuing to live and work in this beautiful country.
We wish you all a blessed Advent Season.