the practice of {convalesce}

con.va.lesce :: to recover one’s health and strength over time

similar words :: recuperate, get better, get well, get back on one’s feet

:: ::

She came to me recently, this church sister.  Right in the middle of all-church campfire activities, kids running, people laughing, coffee brewing.  The annual celebration we all anticipate.

In the midst of this fanfare atmosphere, words were spoken I still ponder weeks later.  She admitted to being shy, somewhat hesitant to share.  I’m incredibly grateful she pushed through those initial feelings however, for God used her words to sink deep:

“Be very gracious and gentle with yourself, with your family.  You’ve been through a lot…take recovering slowly.” 

Oh my, how there’s truth in those words.  For who among us isn’t guilty of rushing on ever so quickly after a storm?

Personal, emotional, physical or otherwise — sometimes there’s unspoken expectation that healing has a time limit.  That grief, disappointment, hurt, pain or illness is to be overcome in quick-like manner so not to be frowned upon.

Now listen.  I’m not advocating wallowing in our problems forever or never coming to peace with difficult circumstances.  But with more questions than answers, I do wonder why we (Christians? Americans?) feel guilty over this need — yes, the need! — to convalesce.

Our lives and worlds are not ideal.  Often there’s not enough room and space in our calendar for taking off multiple days for nothingness and openness, for pause without concern.  I know.  I write of the importance of regular rest patterns, but I know from experience the challenges of following through.

Yet, can we make room in our spirits first?

If we don’t first give ourselves permission to recuperate, to recover and strengthen after difficulty, then I’m not sure days upon days of ‘free time’ would cure.  We might just fill it, stuff it with nonsense…more busywork, maybe fearing what being alone would reveal.

In a little book I highly recommend, the author speaks to her Judaism roots and the spiritual disciplines thereof in light of her Christianity conversion.  One such practice struck me intensely as I reread this gem recently:  marking the days after grief.

For Jews, such an intentionality is given to grieving…from allowing the individual to do so within community to remembering anniversaries of deaths…deliberate focus is not only allowed and encouraged, but expected.  A fascinating chapter within the book.

We need this practice of convalesce.  We need to recognize when life has simply thrown too much too fast and our bodies, minds and spirits are need of focused rest for a season.

So we take the advice of my sister-friend and move slowly (as much as possible) within our days.

For now, in little ways and big ways, we convalesce intentionally.

:: ::

And for you – is there a need for this practice?  I share words to prayerfully encourage:

Honoring the Rhythm of Rest – a quick ebook {if financial situations keep from a purchase, please email and I’ll send you a copy}

Still – a post & video encouraging moments of stillness

The Way Home – God knows your storm.  He knows that sometimes the only way is through it, and He’s there.

More encouragement from ‘the practice of’ series

 

{photos :: first steps in my little home apothecary project!  more to come…}

 

 

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9 comments

So True! If we had endured heart surgery, there would be protocols and doctor’s orders: Complete rest for this long, no driving for this long, no heavy lifting for this long.

But when it’s our “other” heart that’s mending, there are no visible scars or papers from the hospital lying around to remind us.

So true.
Why do we feel the need to rush past everything?
Even our healing.
Whether it is physical, spiritual, or emotional, we all seem to feel like we should instantly be back to “normal”.
There is no timeline on grief.
-
I spent last weekend with a friend, now a young widow, trying to rebuild her family. She’s “better”, but still recovering. Of course!! How could she NOT be? I sat, listened, and hopefully encouraged her. She’s in such a hard place and racing around in a busy life trying to make it as normal as possible for her kids and herself.
It’ll never be the same, but simply a new normal. How I wish she could see, it’s ok to just be.
__
Looking forward to seeing your apothecary project. I’ve used herbs in cooking forever, but began using them for health and healing just a few years ago. I love seeing what others are doing.

Carol

I agree wholeheartedly!
This was on my heart after we buried our firstborn almost 14 years ago. So many people try to ‘move on’ or expect to ‘get over it’ without taking the time to just soak before the Lord!
(This is my first visit here and I will be back)
Thank you!

Daniele…I wish I’d known you when Selah died.
What you’ve written here is so intertwined with our experience of walking step by step through grief.

I think in some ways we rushed and tried to “fix” and grab onto “healed”…when really we just were hiding, avoiding.

But also, because of our incredible surrounding relationships, we were given the freedom to really hurt and feel and be present in our sorrow. I think without that encouragement…we would have rushed and tried to by-pass the process that really isn’t circumvent-able.

I can feel the pause and rest…the moment I wander into your space here…thank you.

danieatdomestic

{I’m working on getting the nested comments feature fixed so I can reply to each comment.}

Thank you friends, each one — you are welcome. May this message of pause be felt in our hearts and seen in our lives. I think as we live it, out we allow others the freedom to do so as well.

We need grace!

Oh how I thank you dearly for this post!!! I wish I could purchase your e-book at this time as I’m sure it’s filled with even more knowledge and wisdom!
I am in need of focusing on this season God has blessed me with- after the past 2whirl winds of years-opening and running a Christian coffee house (being sold tomorrow Praise God) while having a new baby at the same time-working side design jobs and helping my husband lead a college/career grp at church while trying to raise 2 boys and be a wife and mother-well… It was def too much! I learned a big hard by an over night hospital stay due to a racing heart :/ but what a wake up call!!! Time to step in high gear with prayer and fasting and God swiftly opened doors for my family- relocating us to FL for new jobs-me being able to Design from home while taking care of my boys and my husband working while taking a break from ministering within the church. We are able to just ‘Be’ for ‘such a time as this’! And it’s crazy that immediately even with working full time I was looking for ways to do more again to help financially-feeling bad about the slower life rt now. But God!! He is my rescuer and peace -my gentle reminder in Blessed ways such as stumbling upon your blog because I am considering homeschooling. Thank you! God Bless You for helping reassure women like myself that there is a needed season of rest!!! I am forever thankful! -Sommer

[...] my whole being, I fought against succumbing to bedridden sickness.  I’m grateful of course for time to properly rest.  Thankful for healing bodies designed to recover when given space, necessary [...]

[…] remembering that I deserve a change to convalesce as well. Holding my breath for months in anticipation of whether or not this surgery would even […]

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