Friday, October 25, 2013

A Tribute

So I started this new medication a few weeks ago and I actually really like it.  It is not marketed for nerve pain, but it kept popping up on forums and other people with pain similar to mine were saying they found some relief with it.  Since nothing else was helping, my doctors went ahead and were willing to give it a go with me.  It is by no means a magic pill, but it does give me a few extra hours in the day to work with and hey, I'll take it.  It has some possible nasty side effects, but mainly there are just some minor ones.  For example, I cannot taste carbonation any more.  This one took me a week to figure out and I was just about to accuse the grocery store of selling me all flat sodas before realizing that Jeff was merrily drinking cans from the same box without complaint.  The other weird side effect is that my hands, feet, or lips will just randomly go numb.  This of course causes me to touch whatever area goes numb and looks especially strange when I start touching my lips.  So I have two choices it seems- either look like a weirdo, or I can try and make it look sexy.  The problem is I've never been particularly good at looking sexy, so now I'm afraid I have only made matters worse.

But other then that, there has not been anything new as far as my health goes.  Every day we do our best to get through it.  Last week I noticed that it has been just over a year since I started blogging, and it has of course made me start thinking about all the changes that have happened in my life in the last year.  So. many. changes.  It is so hard to believe that just over a year ago I would wake up in the morning without any pain.  That I would take care of all the kids by myself.  That I did not take any medication, or go to any doctors appointments, or have any tests done.  I homeschooled.  I lifted weights.  I cooked, I cleaned (well, not really lol)- I did everything.  I did have Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, yes- but it's effect on my life was not as far reaching.  It was manageable; we learned to live quite well with it.  I only shut down every couple of months and I learned when my body needed to slow down.  It was a good life.

I saw a quote on Facebook this past week and I am sorry I cannot site the source.  It reads: "Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder."  When I first read it, it caught my eye which was strange to me because normally these kinds of quotes don't do much for me.  There are people who can sit and look for hours at trees and flowers and birds.  They can sit and drink in the sights and sounds of nature and be inspired simply by looking around them.  I am not like that.  I see the apostles who shed their blood preaching the gospel of Christ.  I see the needs and the hurts of this world.  I see the work before me and the incredibly short amount time I have on this earth in which to do it.  That is what inspires me.

I see wonder in the hearts of men.  And I am forever on the lookout for that kind of wonder.

This past Monday I had a doctors appointment near Albany, so Jeff and I decided to swing by the old church we ministered at for five years to say hello to the pastor we worked with.  It was wonderful to see him, and as usual he and his team were hard at work.  They were doing construction work on the new transitional men's home they were getting ready to open that week.  I was introduced to one of the men who was working on it that was about to move in.  He smiled, looked me square in the eye, and gave me a firm handshake...this man who was a former drug addict.  This man who gave his life to Jesus, completed a 14 month program to get clean and is now on his way to getting trained up to see what God has in store for his life.

That is wonder.

Former crackhead- such was he.  Such was I.  Not really, I mean I have never so much as had a drink but you know what?  In my heart lives the very same vile things that live in the worst of them that are on the streets.  Such was I.  Such were you.  What a wonder it is to see hearts and lives change.  To make connections with one another that go deeper than the surface.  Yes- I am always on the lookout for the presence of wonder.

That is why the changes that have happened to me in my life have not crippled me...because in a way, I see them as wondrous.  Of course I look back and I mourn.  That is part of the natural process.  But mostly I see wonder.  Because the wonder was not in the cooking or the cleaning, or the exercising- the wonder was in the heart.  The wonder was in the love I gave my children.  The people I encountered around me.  And I have not lost any of that.

But the point I am making is this- life is meant to be LIVED.  Lived with passion, lived with wonder, lived for the things that really matter- lived for Jesus.  If you live for temporal things, you will be fine for a while, but what happens when your world falls apart?  My world fell apart...but I am still standing.  I found somewhere to plant my feet.  I have no regrets from my past, nor am I overcome with grief at what I have lost.  The only way you can truly keep moving forward is to let go of the past.  Some of you idolize the past to the point of letting it cripple your future.  You focus on the way things "used to be", or "the one that got away", or the "things you never got a chance to do"- all that does is set you up for a lifetime of disappointment because life NEVER happens the way you dream it up.

Live here.  Now.

Yes I grieve.  I grieve the things that once were and the things that will never be.  But I want to move forward.  I want to see and feel wonder.  Some days I do both.  I am not talking about a plastic smile or a fake it till you make it.  I am talking about something so real that you feel it in the depths of your soul.  There are days that I cry so hard that I know that no prayer I utter could ever come close to being more sincere than my tears.  There are times that my pain is so real that I know I am feeling and experiencing  life in a deeper shade of agony then ever before known to me.  And that is living.  Sure, it is the harder side of living, but you need one side to see the other.  The reason I know compassion is because I know suffering.  The reason I know joy is because I know sadness.  The reason I know wonder is because I know brokenness.  The reason I know Jesus is because I know sin.

What a year this has been indeed.  A year of pain.  Of sickness.  Of loss.  And yet I would describe it as a year of change.  Of love.  Of character.  Of life.  Of learning.  Of depth.  Of soul.  Of passion.  Of miracles.  Of joy unspeakable.

Things are not always what they seem.  Remember that.

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