As some may know, the November 25 Anchor did not go to press because I was recovering from cervical spine surgery.

The surgery went well, but truth be told, the recovery period is taking longer than I expected. I keep hearing the same mantra from therapists, visiting nurses, doctors and folks who have gone through the same experience as I: “Be patient.”

The problem is that nine years ago I had a cervical spine surgical procedure, and the recovery time was indeed a much shorter period than this. It was only one small disc away from the latest event, but the damage was not nearly the same.

What had been brewing for nearly two years has now been halted and the damage has to heal. I keep trying to tell myself (and believe it — that’s the key), “If you walk five miles into a 10-mile forest, it takes five miles to walk back out, not matter what way you choose.”

I do believe that God uses every circumstance in our lives as a teaching moment (or moments, and moments and moments, depending on our willingness to let go), regardless if the situation is good or bad. And I also believe that God is trying to teach me patience and trust. Patience and trust! To try to teach patience and trust to me is like trying to teach a snake to fly. Unless a snake can rotate itself fast enough to create a propeller, it has no limbs with which to fly. I am that snake. I have always struggled with patience and trust.

With that being said, the last few weeks have provided me with many roller coaster-like moments. Sometimes I’m encouraged, but the least of setbacks (seemingly a setback, but I’m told it’s normal), sends me into a state of discouragement and depression.

One such event took place last week following a medical visit to which my youngest pup drove me. I came home and was deep in despair, and as I thanked her for all the help she’s given me through all this, I broke down and cried. She stopped, turned around and gave me the warmest hug I’ve ever received. Well, that just set the waterfall in full motion. She left and Denise picked up where my daughter left off. Such simple acts, yet so powerful.

My youngest pup never acknowledged this, but I know she networked with her sibs about what their old man was going through.

Later in the day, my oldest son sent me a text along with a link to a song from a band I like — “All Will Be Well,” along with a message saying, “Thought you might like this.” Tears again — because of the song and the thought behind his gesture. Simple, yet powerful.

The next day, my oldest daughter popped in for a surprise visit with her husband on their way to a Christmas play. Not that we don’t communicate often, but since the pandemic, visits have been fewer.

Warmth again traveled through this broken old body and mind. Simple yet powerful.

It’s my family and friends getting me through this. For someone who is neurotic, neurosurgery is not an easy recovery process. God may be trying to teach me patience and trust, but the message of His that has hit home the hardest is that it’s the simple things that have the most awesome power.