Freedom comes at a cost. I got sprung from the rehab ward yesterday by my gorgeous wife Sharon and it was an amazing feeling. The one doctor said I stand out as one of the fastest recoveries of the year. If that were enough to spur me on, it would be wonderful. But being free of the hospital takes none of the work of recovery from here away. Nor does knowing that my recovery has been amazing so far.

The bone can heal of a break under a cast, and the flesh can heal of a wound under the bandage, and those around you understand. They can see the damage and the way you are fixing it. Or the health professionals doing what they know how to. But the brain….. it hides behind a shield of bone and is not an easy fix. There is no visible wound or bandage or cast. There are the effects, the ever present battle of dealing with a body that’s not broken, but a mind that needs to learn certain things over again.

I can still hear some of the excuses used by my fellow inmates, pardon me, patients, who are locked not only in a place designed to help(only with limited resources to do so)but also locked in a body that was once automatic and invisibly seamless in function, now cut off from the instruction that it so desperately needs. It takes will and determination to overcome the chains, even when surrounded by encouragers on every side. Even if I were to choose to excuse myself now, there are massive parts of the day where no one is here to hear me, let alone encourage them away. It’s all up to what’s left of my will, my determination. There may be encouragement when progress is fully visible, or noticeable. But I see the future where my teeth are short from the grinding and grit, my mind weary from focusing so long and hard.

I’m not short on advice givers though. I’ve found that most people have taken advantage of the “information” age and have found at least one remedy from their in depth doctoral studies on the internet to foist upon my focused but weary mind. Some have many more. Sorry to break the news, but surfing the net doesn’t make you an expert on what it takes to fix my brain learning to do things again. Those who really know are aware that they should just encourage me to stick with the health care providers who have made it their life’s work to know all they can. I’ve discovered that even they know what they don’t know, so the voodoo advice being given by others sounds extreme compared to what the real docs know. Just my opinion, but I’m not backing away from it.

I know we all have an aversion to pain and suffering. No one would choose it if given the choice. But we did, and so here we are. My comfort is in the fact that my pain and suffering are temporary until all things are set to right. And that in them, in spite of my choices, I am known and loved and understood completely. Plus, I have moment by moment companionship from the very one who will set all things to rights.

Be encouraged. Every moment of every day. I may have had to temporarily shift my focus to myself for a while, but I try to see and empathize with all of you my friends as you face your daily challenges. Be encouraged.