Friday, February 28, 2014
**I wrote this blog earlier in the week. Then I took a blow. It was hard and it hurt. I wanted to write about it- to talk about my pain. Because that's what I do when I hurt. I write. But instead I prayed...and when I went back and re-read what I wrote with my new lens I realized that God was already speaking to me. That what I had already written was exactly what I needed to hear and what would get me through this hard time- and I was filled with extreme, undeniable peace. Friends, when troubles come and storms rage and you are in a time in your life where you don't know what God is doing and it seems you are neither here nor there- you can trust in His goodness. And you can keep living, serving, loving, and trusting. Because He is good and your life should be a living sacrifice in all times and seasons. And so I will stick with my intended post- and take my own advice for as long as this season lasts. I will serve God while I wait on Him.
I always remember reading this story in English class back in Jr. High called "Flowers For Algenon". It stuck out to me both because we watched the movie in class (always a fun thing) and because it was a beautiful, sad, and even heart-wrenching story. It was the story of a man named Charlie- a wonderful, but mentally simple man named Charlie. Charlie had a happy life. He lived in his small world and was content with his mental limitations. Until he meets an ambitious doctor. (Just for the record, I read this story about a million years ago, so I am probably botching it pretty good- but the general storyline is accurate!)
This man, this doctor, wants to experiment with Charlie- he believes he can "cure" Charlie. You know, make Charlie like the rest of us. Normal. Smart. Charlie does not really comprehend what this doctor wants to do to him- and so he agrees to the experiment. And Charlie is "healed".
Only the experiment goes far beyond what was expected and Charlie becomes a genius. Charlie is writing books and solving complex math algorithms. However, now Charlie realizes just how much he was missing before. In fact, he begins to see just how cruel the world is to people like himself- to the way he used to be. And this is where the story takes a sad turn…because while Charlie is off writing books and solving these incredible math problems, the doctors begin to realize that the treatment they thought cured him was really only temporary. Charlie will go back to being a simple minded man.
In a heart-wrenching account we follow Charlie as he slowly goes back to being the man he was born being. Expcet now he is no longer the beautiful, happy, content man we met at the beginning. Now he is sad- because he knows what he is missing. He knows how people see him. He knows how he is treated because of his simplicity. He was happy the way he was- now, knowing all he has lost, he is a sad version of himself.
I feel a little like Charlie.
You see, I am on a lot of medications right now. It has been a long, tough road with mostly downs but there was this stretch I had recently where I was feeling pretty good for a couple of days. I was up out of bed, I did laundry and dishes, and I just had some energy…I felt like myself again. I cannot describe how amazing it felt. And true to who I am, I went from 0 to 100 and pushed every limit I had just to see how far I could take it. But I really thought it was the beginning of some good news in our lives…until one morning. I forgot. I simply forgot to take a dose of one of my medications. And that was it for me.
All the days of normalcy- of living like everybody else were over. By early afternoon I was back to being the sick me. Back to the pain and weakness. Back to the thoughts of doctors and medications and bed rest and just watching life go by. I was acutely reminded that it is only by the marvels of modern medicine that I am able to enjoy life as everybody else knows it. Without it I go back to being a pain riddled, weak, sick girl. Yes I always was that- but it stands in an even starker contrast when you actually experience life on the other side- normal life. Charlie was happy when he didn't now what he was missing.
The difference is, I always know what I am missing.
It always feels like I am living life in this "waiting" period. Like I am not where I used to be, but I am not quite where I am going to end up just yet. Just stuck in between. I'm waiting. Waiting for good, waiting for bad...just waiting for some kind of resolution to everything that is going on. And I find- at least for me- that it is during this waiting period that life just kind of stops. I just kind of stop.
I make all sorts of excuses as to why I don't need to be doing the things I know I need to be doing. I stop praying and reading the Word. I stop engaging in the relationships around me. I kind of just check out of life- all because I am WAITING for life to really being again. But what really jumped out at me during this incredibly hard time in my life is this: the waiting IS my life. I have to stop seeing every hard period as an "in between" to something better or to the next thing. If I counted up all the years in my life that I saw as the "in between" years, I would realize that it amounts to quite a bit of time. Quite a bit of life. Life that I missed out on actually living because I was too busy being on hold. Too busy waiting when I should have been living.
Open your eyes. Open your eyes to what you really have even in that dark hour. When I take time to look around, I see many things lost to me- and that's a tough break. But if I dare to keep living- if I dare to keep moving despite the losses and just accept where I am RIGHT NOW..then I open myself up to a whole world of living. I can live while I am waiting- because that's life too.
I have a great team of doctors. I have had people from all over this country reach out in an astonishing show of love and support for me and my family in our darkest hour. I have gotten closer to my husband than I knew was even possible. I am buddies with my local pharmacists. I have met and developed friendships that never would have otherwise happened had I been healthy. I have seen my God.
There is no way I would EVER trade any of that in if given the choice. And I truly mean that. I am impassioned by the things I experience in my life because if you are open to love and change and moving forward then even in the worst life has to bring you, you can always know that as one who serves the Lord, He WILL work things for your good.
Does that mean He will fix all things the way your mind feels they should be fixed? Does that mean He will eventually heal you of all your pain? Absolutely not and if you think that way then you have the wrong view of God and you may set yourself up to feel betrayed by Him. He works all things out in such a way that that you are most BENEFITTED in the entirety of your spirit, soul, mind, and body for the PURPOSE of KNOWING HIM MORE INTIMATELY. You will receive perfect healing in heaven- but on this earth, your character and knowing Him more intimately are the things that matter- and He will help you do that.
But you have to keep your eyes on the things that matter.
Living in the past- in the "way things used to be" will eventually kill your spirit. Trust me. And if you have never personally lived through something like a life changing incident, illness or injury than you do not know of what I speak. But let me tell you there is this ever present weight upon you reminding you of all that you lost- of everything you used to have that has now been taken away from you. And it is exhausting to try and accept it- to try and be ok with the here and now.
So give up. Seriously.
No, don't give up on life. But give up on trying to reconcile who you are now with who you used to be and on waiting for it all to come together…because it will never work. You are trying to live life backwards- circular; it just doesn't happen like that. Life is a straight line and whether you like it or not you live it straight through one time. One time. Straight through. You already lived the past, and whether it was great or horrible you need to keep living and understand that where you are now is where you need to BE. This is your life. This is where you need to live. Pour your heart, your soul, your prayers, your energy, and your very being into your NOW. Not your before. Not your later.
Yes, I lost a lot. No, I will never get it back- so what good does it do trying to fit those pieces together? But it does do me a world of good to look around me and embrace all that I still do have now. To decide if I am going to live and be a part of this world even if it is in a limited way. And that is where I am. And maybe that is where you are. And I have a small piece of advice for you and me.
Live the wait.