Honey had a hip replacement this week.
The night before his surgery, I didn’t sleep well and on the morning of the surgery, I spent most of my practice praying for him. Which is kind of weird because I don’t pray that much.
My daily yoga practice is time I spend listening to, honoring, contemplating and feeling the presence of God. I often ask for the ability to accept what is happening in and around me… to trust that I’ll be present and clear enough to listen and to hear what it is I need to do and to have the strength to do it when the time comes. In this time, I’m addressing a Divine power, I feel connected to God and when I can get there, I have a calm peace and a confidence that’s there with me. Maybe it is like prayer but it has a different quality than the old school pray time I used to have.
When I prayed as a child, I would ask for things, list style. I imagined God up there taking notes. I’d do my best to cover all the bases– I mentioned everything I was worried about and everything I thought I needed, but to my dismay, prayer didn’t seem to get me what I thought i was asking for and it didn’t leave me feeling particularly connected to God. Even so, I kept praying like this for a long time. I’ve got some serious saṁskāras around this kind of prayer.
On the morning of my grandpa’s surgery, I fell right into this list-style prayer habit. There I was on my yoga mat, wringing my hands and making my lists of all the things I wanted God to do for me: Please be with Honey. Watch over him and keep him safe. I started to think about all the people who could mess up somehow and I wanted to make sure God was keeping tabs on those people, too. I pray for the nurses and for the hospital staff and especially for the surgeon… I could feel myself getting more anxious as I tried to anticipate all the people that should make the list, but then I stopped. It seemed kind of ridiculous that I was asking God to help the surgeon with work that He/God is already intimately involved with: bodies…healing…life and death… love … relationships…grace. I stopped asking and instead I returned to listening. I was very afraid. I love Honey and I want more time with him. I didn’t want him to suffer or to feel bad. Honoring. What an incredible gift it is that Honey has been in my life in such a beautiful way and for such a long time already. Contemplating and feeling the presence of God. What happens on this day is not my choice. I must know that there are many possible outcomes to a serious surgery such as this. I can’t anticipate all of them, list them off in prayer and ask for each scenario to turn out the way I’d like it to, but I can trust and practice the ability to feel the presence of God with me through any of it.
I finished my practice, got dressed and drove to the hospital to sit with my dad and my uncle in the waiting room. It’s a Catholic and well funded hospital so the waiting room has tall windows, comfortable furniture and beautiful paintings on the walls, some with religious themes. The three of us talked for a while and then we all settled into read. I opened my book, The Sacred Yes, Deborah L. Johnson, and read the perfect thing, “What does my Grace look like? It looks like whatever you need it to be in the moment in order for you to know that you are not alone in the Universe, that you are under my watch and my care.” I started to cry.
Honey’s doing well. He’s receiving great care, lots of visitors and he is in good spirits. I am glad that before I saw him I made the shift from worry and anxiety-mode to one of joy and gratitude. Honey continues to be an inspiration and a model for life well lived. Everything about Honey is such good evidence that God is with me, with him and with all of the people in the hospital already. I don’t have to beg or plead in prayer for God to be with me, I can simply open to this divine presence. And when I do, I can see, feel and receive it what’s already there.