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April 2014

Day 3 Relief Revisited

Well, if Monday and Tuesday were like eating carrots, today was eating a tasty saltine cracker. Can’t say I’m crazy about saltines, but they sure beat out carrots any day.

But let me back pedal a little.

Tuesday honestly ended well, but my attempt at falling asleep was stifled by my body going haywire, because I’m a girl and that happens often, and I was still racked with grief and quite a bit of worry despite all intentions of releasing those doubts to God. I could feel my body wanting to shut down, my eyes were heavy, my posture slumped, but every time I found myself on the verge of dreamland, something inside me jerked everything awake with a violent wave of nausea and a slew of terrible fears. I wouldn’t even be able to stay awake long enough to dwell on any specific thought, my body was so tired, it desperately tried to find its way back to slumber land, but as if something knew I was finding a hint of relief in rest, my head felt yanked back, my stomach would tighten up, and my mind raced with fear.

This was one of those moments it wasn’t just a mental or physical game being played. There was a spiritual battle taking place and the battle field was my body. It was awful to say the least. I felt like I was being continually punched and kicked as I tried to curl up into a tighter ball to protect myself from the blows caused by whatever demons hovered around me. I began to cry in my sleep and I found myself in a cold-shivering sweat. I felt at my absolute physical limits and had no idea how relief would reach me. I wish I could have crawled out of my body and leave the corpse that was being ravaged by some force that I could not control with any pain meds or nausea pills. I couldn’t take it.

I swung the covers off my body and curled up next to my mother and whispered, “I don’t think what’s going on with me is just physical, can you pray for me.” And without hesitation, my mother wrapped her arms around me, laid my head on a pillow in her lap and began to whisper her prayers to God on my behalf. I could feel my body fall in and out of sleep again – I could feel a heaviness on my body that made me want to just become unconscious. She ended, “In your name, Amen.” And I in desperation of Jesus began to mumble my own prayers that I am not sure how much was even comprehensible as I felt like I was in and out of consciousness. I finished my prayer, “In your name, Amen.” My mother rubbed my back and I just laid there with my head on the pillow and tears dribbled down my face, but I wasn’t sad, I began to feel for the first time in hours, relief. The heaviness began to lift from my shoulders, the nausea subsided, the anxious thoughts, fears, and doubts faded out of my mind, and I felt cool and calm at last.

I fell asleep and didn’t wake till morn.

I remember as I was slipping into that deep sleep, I had the image of Jesus standing behind me with his arms around me and all around us was darkness, but it could not touch us. I could see it reach for me, but it couldn’t grab me, I saw it slink further and further away from us and I remember smiling.

It was a wonderful thought to have as I drifted into relief and though I didn’t sleep for 8+ hours (only about 5), it was just enough, it was what I needed, and grace was sufficient. I had never been so grateful for answered prayers.

Until the following morning.

The initial break has mended. My boyfriend did call me and one of the first things he said, “I love you to death.” And it was all I could do not to burst into happy tears – I might as well have, I had been bursting into sad tears for two days already, but my body is tired of bursting anything, so I contained my joy, but I am sure my smile was frighteningly goofy to passer-byers.

Needless to say, the turmoil over my boyfriend’s absence and carrot-flavored days has ended.

My mind is still filled to the brim with thoughts – good and bad – because of my grandfather’s current physical condition (which I know I haven’t really mentioned), if you’re my facebook friend, you know what’s up.

But along with the break of communication with my boyfriend, I was dealing with the emotional strain of having my Papa awaiting treatment for his dying foot. We are now looking at an amputation procedure of his right leg right above the knee. Whoa. Wait, what?

My Papa? Without a leg? The man I watched fly hot-air balloons, fly airplanes? Walk outside everyday to take care of the garden, pick pecans, take me to the zoo, drive us to his favorite catfish restaurant, run errands for Grandma, make model airplanes – my Papa? It can’t be. It really, just can’t.

I can’t even say I am “worried.” It’s just what happens when the body gets old and there is really nothing at all I can do to stop the deterioration of his body. I am pretty darn sad though. And tonight I reside in my grandparents’ home and I recall all the memories of my Grandma and Papa going about their daily routines and my Papa being active and as strong as an ox – and to see him weaker and dependent on others for everything, it hurts.

I can’t imagine how my mother feels.

She’s strong. She doesn’t seem afraid, but she’s admitted worry. And yet, she had the energy to hold my pathetic mess of a body and pray over me last night and hold me in my distresses?

I have an amazing family, don’t be too jealous.

Tomorrow will be a sad day, a relieving day, a day that will change our lives because it’s changing Papa’s life – we won’t be losing a leg, but we will feel his loss. And yet, he will continue his jokes, his laughter, and his mind will wonder how to solve world problems with new inventions. My Papa is amazing with or without his right leg.

There are obviously many emotions I feel that I probably have not explained well enough, but a lot is happening. I will rack my brain tomorrow better for another analogy that will put into better perspective my tangled mind, but for now it’s late and I’m tired.

Relief has come to me in many ways, I want that relief for my Mother, my Grandma, and my Papa.

Taking a Break Day 2 – Carrot Flavored

Taking a break 2

Well, here I am halfway-ish through day 2 and I’ve only had one fall-apart moment first thing this morning. And to be fair, I had already showered, styled, and dressed for the day, but those demons in my head must have found a weak spot because they attacked it hard and sent me face down to the bed in a pile of tears. But I refused to let them keep me there! I quickly recovered and stood on my two feet, looked to the day ahead and said, “Today will be better.” Thus far, I like to think that’s been successful. Still feeling uncertain, my body is still sore as if I’d entered the “Rowing Champs of the World” competition, but my head is clearer, my eyes not-so blurry (though burn) and have been able to actually be productive (i.e. actually do my job)!

As far as updating about yesterday – well, let’s say it was the first day of the break and was definitely a struggle to muscle through. Kind of reminded me of when I sat at my pre-school’s lunch table with five baby carrots I HAD to finish before I could go play. Being three years old, I am not sure of how accurate my estimation is, but it was FOREVER until I could force down those nasty little orange veggies (and I maintain my opinion about carrots to this day). I remember my teacher See-Wing-See (Singapore descent) was very strict about us finishing our snack and that day it was crackers and carrots. The crackers were a snap, and if I had been wise and planned ahead (as most three year olds do?), I would have sandwiched between bites of carrot-cracker-carrot-cracker. But no. Instead, I was left sitting at the table long after my peers had frolicked off to the playroom with no concern that I had to sit, stare, wait, and pray that my carrots would magically disappear. I cried, I pleaded, I tried to even squirm out of my seat, but those carrots HAD to be chewed, swallowed, and absorbed. Like yesterday, like this whole “break” thing.

I remember taking the first bite of the first carrot and I began to cry as I chewed. I hated it. The bitter-sweet flavor that was tinged with a “dirt” flavor (were they washed properly?); the stringy and crunchy texture that was reduced to mush as I chewed and the flavor permeated. I gagged as I swallowed it and tears flowed. I wasn’t sure if I was more upset at the fact I was being forced to eat the carrot, or from the genuine fact it tasted disgusting! My stomach tightened up and my desire to vomit was nigh. And – that was just bite one. And each carrot was at least three or four bites (I had a small mouth, and was taking small bites). With each bite, this cycle repeated, it honestly never got better. I got to carrot number three and my teacher encouraged me, “You’re almost done!” But I’m not! I’m sure I thought.

As I’m on day two, not day three, my analogy doesn’t exactly line up to my current experience. But, I make a valid connection. Going through the first day was horribly-carrot flavored. I can’t say day two taste much better, but unlike my pre-school experience where carrot two was as bad as carrot one (if not worse), day two is feeling a bit better. It’s not as bitter. While I still find myself forcing down bites of another carrot-flavored day, I have encouragement from Jesus as I read this passage:

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34

It’s one I have heard over and over, but it never feels old because I am natural bonafide worrier. So, I feel like God beats me over the head with this passage to remind me every moment I start to cringe at the bitterness of my day that I have nothing to fear or worry. This moment in my life is momentary and it will be done.

Whether I chose to eat those carrots or not, time would pass, that moment would end (my teacher would HAVE to let me go sometime). I chose to eat the carrots because I knew I would find freedom faster that way, and it was gross, but necessary.

Whether I choose to pass the next few days on my bed face down in a pile of tears, or go about my day doing my work thing, gym thing, friend thing, and Jesus-time thing- this moment will pass (my boyfriend will call me and we will be just fine). I choose to do all the “things,” tell those demons to take a hike, and keep remembering what I often forget (see passage from Matthew above). I know I will find personal freedom faster this way, and it is gross – very gross – but necessary.

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