So tonight, I have wicked bad painsomnia. That’s (obviously) when you are in too much pain to sleep. In the past couple of weeks, I got some bad news, health-wise. It’s been intense. So I decided to share a little story with my readers, because I can’t sleep and maybe you can’t too. Or maybe in this hostile, uber-political, divisive world climate, you need an uplifting human interest story. I know I do.
Last week, I had to get my second Covid vaccine, and had to go two counties over to get it.
The town I went to has a small little Health Department. They take you in a room and give you the shot, and then they take you to another waiting room, where you are required to wait 20 minutes to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction. You are shuffled into a large room with other people who are also doing their 20 minutes.
The others were strangers to me, of course. About 10 people total in this space. Two of them were having a “private” conversation behind me ( you couldn’t miss it – they were on the loud side, and it was silent otherwise.) The exchange turned to God, and miracles, and answered prayers.
Where I was sitting, I shot my own hand up to the sky. Just couldn’t help it. I felt the Spirit in the room and it only seemed right to acknowledge it. I don’t know if it was years of Pentecostal churching or what, but I couldn’t control my hands. They just raised. And behind me, a torrent of hollering and praising began, until several ladies joined in.
It was such a beautiful thing. I miss that about corporate worship. Finally, being ever-awkward, I simply stated, “God is GOOD!” To which a glorious, unanimous refrain came from every mouth in the room: “ALL THE TIME. “After a minute solid, the love in that room was palpable.
We were not denominations, or affiliations. Ages and races. Republicans and Democrats. Just a bunch of women with sore arms managing to raise them anyway to give God the glory for low-key miracles and ordinary, answered prayers. And I think that’s what Heaven will be like.
God is good ALL THE TIME. Even when our organs are failing and our hearts are breaking. I’m also convinced that a group of strangers finding out that they are actually “family” and sharing it together in a dingy, gray government building is LOVE.
I’m horrible at holding cards close to my chest. I’m awful at stoically handling things “on my own,” privately. I get on my own nerves with my oversharing tendencies sometimes, but I don’t know any other way to get through this life without sharing experiences and gleaning the hope of others’ experiences.
When I was drinking, I was a closeted everything. I had secrets to keep. Nobody knew any of my business because I was protecting my right to cope the only way I knew how. When I got sober 20 years ago, I had to change my ways. I had to seek out others who were battling the same demons, and we held one another up. I never looked back from that lesson – that in order to live in the light, I must live communally.
So that’s why I’m sharing my life with all of you. I pray something I might say will make you feel less alone. This is particularly important in recovery…staying alcohol-free is not a solitary endeavor. I learn so very much from the people who share their journeys with me, and there’s no way I would have survived my circumstances alone.
So I’m going to be sharing a couple of new facets of my journey with ya’ll, dear readers.
Some of you know that I’ve undergone a faith renovation in the past five years or so; one which came about as a result of my dealing with chronic illness and pain. I’ve done some rigorous soul-searching and come away with my fundamentalism in tatters, but my love for Jesus astounding. So I will still be writing about that aspect and all the feelings, musings, and observations that entails.
But I am very recently having to deal with another pretty tremendous blow, and I need to write about my thoughts and fears don’t become a toxic sludge. I don’t know why sharing helps. It just does.
Without going through the litany of health issues I have – which are legion – the latest news is that my kidneys are failing. Failing. I hate that word….failing.
I feel like I am failing at a number of things lately, so it figures. I cannot undo the permanent damage, but I can possibly keep it from getting worse. There are a number of things that led up to this predicament, namely crazy bad diabetes. But there are several genetic factors contributing as well. It’s kind of a perfect storm.
I am having to change the way I do most everything, especially eat and exercise. Eating is my coping mechanism. Or it was.
It’s all connected. All of the systems in our bodies. Every part affects every other. Our faith walk, as it relates to our physical bodies. Connected.
Just like we are all connected.
So welcome to my raw, gaping wound. In the span of a week since I found out about this latest crisis, I have run the entire acceptance gamut. It’s still sore and upsetting. The only way I know for it to heal is to invite others to join me in making huge changes, venting my frustration, and getting by like I always do; with a little help from my friends.
Okay….maybe a lot of help.
I’ll be writing raw. I’ll be hashing this out with words as I try to figure things out.
If you’ve stuck with me for all these years as a faithful reader, I cannot thank you enough.
It’s the stone-cold middle of the night, or rather the wee hours of the morning. I’ve had a migraine for three days now, you see. It’s making sleep very difficult.
Last week was full of wonders and worries. I received some scary health news and it’s been difficult to digest. It’s given me a fresh excuse to entertain anxiety, and man oh man, am I anxious tonight.
On tap for this evening’s show is General Anxiety, hosted by Exhaustion. Primal Fear makes a cameo as well. Special guests include Low-Simmering Anger, and special guests Frustration and Depression threaten to make an appearance. All from the comfort of my own bed!
No wonder I can’t sleep.
I tell God about my worries. There is much mental hand-wringing and emotional gnashing of teeth. He already knows how I’m feeling but he is patient in listening to my ramblings. To him all my ramblings are valid, because I’m his child.
I would quiet my mind and try to meditate, only to hear the clamor of anxiety approach. I am hearing the far-away cacophony coming closer – all noise and discombobulated chaos. Horns, whistles, drums….all at once. And all on me.
I consider how very much my mental health IS like a one-man band. I’m handling several random instruments at once, playing none of them well, and oy vey! What a racket!
Music, I think to myself. I need music to calm my mind.
So, I popped in my earbuds and started with Tibetan “singing bowls” on Spotify. When I couldn’t get my Zen on with that, I listened to some chill music featuring sounds of nature. You know, like a massage therapist might play to help you relax.
But no. I was too wound to enjoy it.
I know! Georgian chants! My husband got me music at a little monastery outside of Atlanta years ago of monks reciting Georgian chants. Surely that will help get me out of my head and calm the savage migraine beast.
I tried. I gave it a good, long try. But still couldn’t disengage my mind.
So still, I felt yucky. I felt sick from worrying about my family and my health and my diagnosis. And a global pandemic. A world upside down,
“Why aren’t you soothing me, Lord?”
It was an honest question.
But by being with me, he IS soothing me.
I think he wants to BE with me, more than make it al about my obsessions and problems.
I want him to conjure up those pink clouds of blessed assurance. I want to feel delivered. But Instead of having immediate calm and zen fuzzies, I could feel him take my hand and hold it in his, where we sat and sat with each other, quiet as church mice.
And slowly, anti-climactically, I sense a peace come over me. But it’s not the peace of mended bodies, fixed families, answers, or dramatic miracles. Not the kind of peace you get from having crystal-clear resolution.
Nope, it’s a MUCH better peace.
It’s the peace of knowing my God – Creator of the cosmos – will come sit with me in my yuckiness. That’s the place he meets us.
And sometimes that has to be enough.
I can feel the Spirit over the din of the one-man band, and it’s comforting to know I’m not alone.
No chanting of monks, no singing bowls. Just the absolute assurance he is with me and in me and for me. He wants to sit with me in my funk, and he will lift me up out of it in due time.
You’re not alone either.
I pray God himself will come sit with you in the yuckiness, until that dramatic miracle comes.