I’m taking a break from my Friday routine today while I’m still deciding where to go next with my Counseling Issues posts. I want to share something with you today that I hope you won’t see as nothing more than an organ recital. I promise not to dwell on the physical aspect, because that’s not the main emphasis here.
Because of some things I’m dealing with right now, I’ve been thinking a lot about how our physical health can influence our thinking, emotions, our spirit, and our behavior. There’s nothing deeply philosophical here this morning, just thinking about some folks I know who have chronic conditions. Some are positive and upbeat. Others? Well, I don’t want to be like that.
It’s not a good day when you are told you have a condition that will not go away. The typical person needs some time to process that, and will probably go through the cycle of grieving that starts with denial, and includes anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You can read more about that here.
It does take time to deal with the knowledge that your body will never be what it once was. We take our health for granted, moving through our days with energy and enjoyment. Bending, stretching, twisting; running, jumping, and bouncing without giving it a thought. I wish I had treasured those wonderful days more than I did. I appreciate them now, I assure you!
I knew a woman who had a beautiful spirit. She was always smiling. I don’t think I ever saw her when she was unhappy. She spent the last ten years of her life in a wheel chair. She had several different conditions, and they eventually had her all twisted and bent. Still, she would smile at whoever approached her. She could only look at you sideways, and she couldn’t hold her focus very long, but she always had a warm smile. After a while she could no longer speak. She developed Alzheimer’s, to add salt to the wound. The amazing thing, though, was that even when she lost herself she still smiled, still made sounds to show how pleased she was to see whoever came to speak with her.
I want to be like that. I want to NOT make people dread having to see me because they will be treated to a long and boring organ recital. My discomfort, my pain, is mine. It doesn’t belong to anyone else. No one else should be burdened with it.
I have a friend who developed colon cancer. He had surgery, and for a while all was well. But his latest scans are showing some activity that isn’t good, and he has to have more tests. His attitude? It’s fine. Make each day count. He smiles, and really doesn’t want to spend a lot of time talking about it.
I know someone else who is unable to discuss anything else besides her pain. No matter what subject you introduce, she’ll bring it back to herself and her own problems. I feel bad for her. The pain is real, her condition is real. But I don’t want to talk to her. I do, but I dread it. There’s no joy.
And there’s what I guess I’m trying to say. There can always be joy. You know, God never promised us that life would be a walk in the park. He did, however, promise that He would always be there beside us to walk through the dark times.
Psalm 23:44 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
And there is my joy. I have Jesus. He knows my need, my fear, my dread. He knows and understands my pain because He made my body. He gives me comfort, and His Word gives me strength every day, all day. I am so thankful for passages I memorized as a child. Those are the ones that come back to me when I want to indulge in a little “pity me” thinking. ‘
I’m thankful for modern medical technology that can bring some measure of relief. I’m thankful for kind and capable doctors who are taking good care of me. I’m thankful for the nearly 68 years I had before this present condition kicked in. Thankul I was strong and full of energy when my family needed that from me; thankful I had the opportunity of teaching when I was still able to go 24/7.
And now I’m thankful that, as my energy is sapped by pain, I can rest. I work only three days each week. You can’t beat that. I’m not ready to retire completely, and God knew years ago, when I decided to go back to school so I could do my present work, that this period of my life was coming. He has prepared the way for each and every phase of my life, given me what I needed and walked beside me.
Here’s a song I love that expresses my present thinking quite well: