Monday, June 25, 2012

Divine Surender

Divine Surrender

"We surrender to what we adore. Love has already surrendered
to you. Surrender to Love."-Douglas Holzmeier

     I’ve never really cared for the idea of surrender.  It seems so counter-intuitive. How can you ever win when you’re surrendering? In spiritual terms; there is nothing to fight for. It has all been done and won. 

During my spiritual journey over the last several years, I had been able to, “Let Go and Let God”, regarding almost everything in my life. I had “turned it over” to Divine Mind.  I live each day with; through, and as, love. Most of the time, I don’t worry about what seems to be missing. God will provide, and has. But there has been one area that I was very stubborn about: My weight.

Like most people who carry around too many pounds, I have had  success in losing weight over the years. In 1987 and 1988, I lost 130 pounds. From 2003 to 2006, I lost 210 pounds! But the fat came back as I returned to “abnormal” eating. The 1980s weight loss was done by eating mostly a vegan diet. The weight I lost eight years ago was done by eating mostly protein. Both times I walked a lot. But when I stopped walking and started eating lots of fast food and pastries, the extra weight returned with some new pound friends. 

I always thought I could “beat this thing”! My will was stronger than the cheeseburger’s, wasn’t it? I always felt that since I had dug this obesity hole starting around the age of eight, that it was my responsibility to dig my way out.  But somehow, after all these years, I found myself in just a deeper hole. At some point, it’s okay to say, “Can I get a little help here”?

I recently read a quote from Oprah: “Listen to the whisper before it becomes a scream”. At the end of May I had decided to listen to the whisper. I was walking every day. I was eating more protein to get my metabolism going. I had created a weight release group at my church.  I was going to “beat this thing”! On Sunday night, June 3rd, I took a two-hour walk. Little did I know I was eventually walking through the doors of a hospital for the first time in my life!

Yes, I’m one of those stubborn men who avoid Doctors. I was very proud that I had had fewer than five Doctor visits in the past 35 years. I even fractured my leg once and watched it turn every color of the rainbow and STILL didn’t see a Doctor.  Silly human pride. After my long walk, I woke up on Monday morning in extreme pain. My legs were on fire and my gut felt like a knife was in it. Still, I tried to “wait it out”. This wasn’t the first time I had had one of these “episodes”.  

Monday turned to Tuesday and to Wednesday and I was still feeling really bad.  My breathing was labored and I couldn’t sleep.  Everything I tried to eat or drink came back up, on its own, or when I forced it up because I couldn’t stand the discomfort of it not going down.  What I eventually learned was that a gallstone had traveled from my gall bladder into my pancreas. (Probably because I was eating so much protein) The stone blocked my digestion. However, the stone was stimulating my pancreas to secrete enzymes. These enzymes do one thing: EAT!  If there is no food in the gut to digest, they start cannibalizing the pancreas! No wonder I felt like hell. I had Acute Pancreatitis. 

I finally succumbed to my wife’s will and agreed to go to the hospital on Wednesday night. They admitted me and started pumping me full of saline solution. I had become dehydrated, in some respects; yet, my legs were swelling which caused the severe pain and redness between my knees and ankles.  At the risk of frightening you, my urine was the color of cola: Brown! This was not good.

During the next twenty-four hours or so I was not allowed to eat or drink anything. No ice chips, no nothing! They gave me these green sponge sticks that I could dip in water and swab around my mouth. But I could not drink the water. This was to allow the pancreas to calm down. I cannot put into words how thirsty I was. I’m not sure what was worse; the pain in my gut; the pain in my back; the pain in my legs; or my extreme thirst. I did not sleep one wink that night.

At about 3am in the morning, I had to urinate. I called for the nurse to help me. Without going into the embarrassing details, it was going to be impossible for me to use the urinal while in bed. The nurse helped me to the bathroom where I let loose a gallon of Carmel colored urine. This is where I first truly surrendered. I had to call on the assistance of a stranger to help me pee. Talk about being humbled. It was one of the most important moments of my life. I had to let go of ego and give over my care to people I had just met.

Thursday morning the Doctor and Hospitalist informed me that my “numbers” were off the charts – and not in a good way. I didn’t understand the lingo but it was clear that I was really sick and they were really concerned. There was talk of sticking a probe down my throat and picking out the stone.  Then, they were going to take the gall bladder out. The problem was that the hospital did not have the facilities to handle someone as large as I am. Between my height (6-4) and girth, they were reluctant to proceed with any procedure or surgery.  This turned out to be a good thing.

Within the next twenty-four hours my “numbers” improved dramatically; and by Saturday afternoon I was released to recover at home. I probably should have stayed a day or two longer; but the Doctor’s were amazed at how quickly I was bouncing back.  The fact that I had never smoked; drank or been addicted to drugs; expedited my healing. Plus – I had hundreds of people praying for me.

In the two weeks since I’ve been home; I’ve had two more blood tests done and I am back to normal. I have an appointment to have my gall bladder removed in July to avoid another stone getting into my pancreas. I can now sleep through the night and lay on my side. I am pain free and my urine is back to a light yellow. Even my legs have returned to normal size and no longer ache.  

My taste buds have changed. The week I could not eat,  changed everything! The first thing I was allowed to consume was hot apple cider. It was like drinking from the fountain of life. I could not believe how wonderful this simple cup of cider tasted. I drank some pear juice and apple juice and it was Heaven! I wanted to sip and savor – and I did. I had no appetite for any of the foods that put me in this situation. (And this is still so!)

 I am eating lightly; cereal; pasta; soups; fruits and vegetables and have lost nearly thirty pounds.  I am walking – around the block – and it is good.

When I was in that very uncomfortable hospital bed, I gave it all to God. I did everything they asked. They spent an hour trying to find a vein for the IV. I was given shot after shot in my stomach to keep my blood thin.  My stomach had a giant red and purple blotch that only recently faded. I let go and let God. 

When I got up to walk around the Intensive Care floor I was on, I could see dozens of other patients, most, in worse shape than me. Most were MUCH older than me. I shouldn’t have been in there. I should have I been taking better care of the Body Temple. I met one fellow who was a similar age. He was overweight and awaiting triple by-pass heart surgery. I told him I would pray for him.

I have been reading/listening to Marianne Williamson’s A Course In Weight Loss.  The whole book is about admitting that only God – only Love – can heal the wounds that we carry around our waists. I had allowed Love to heal everything in my life except my obesity. For some reason, I wanted to manage my weight the old fashion way: I wanted to “earn” it.  I wanted to “Will” it away.  Frankly – I’m just giving it up to God this time. I’ll do my part. I’ll walk most days. I’ll learn to love and use food to live – instead of die.

As awful as this experience has been; it has been one of the great blessings of my life. The idea of eating like I used to makes me ill. I am now CONSCIOUS and AWARE of just how far off I was regarding my relationship to food and the feelings and emotions that were still weighing on my soul. 

I have surrender to Love. I give it all to God. My weight management is in God’s perfect hands. God is the only one strong enough to hold me in his/her arms.  No matter what your “problem” might be, and no matter how strong you are, it’s okay to ask for and accept some Dive Assistance.  

Surrender doesn’t mean to quit and give up – it means that you allow Divinity to lead the way to the Eternal Lightness of Being.

"God has surrendered to you, as you have to the well-being of
your children; God so adores you."-Douglas Holzmeier

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