Yesterday I was drained. I had been given a new tablet to try and start the night before that was intended to help me sleep. Physically I was in more pain than I’ve been in for about 6 months and at first it felt like I’d plummeted down all the steps I’d climbed in my process of growing health.
But at 4am amidst my pain (I won’t go into detail of it) I crawled back into bed for about 20 minutes, and had time to draw in breath deeply and meditate. Yes I meditated. Now a while back when this kind of thing happened I would ask almost instantly why? and although physically I would keep myself going, mentally I was exhausted and having a battle with God. I like to think it a reasonable argument! But through my time of ill health I found myself beginning to realise that I wouldn’t take my pain back. If I could rewind 18 months and change what caused it, I wouldn’t. I would quite like it to stop now… but I’ve learnt so much about myself and about others that I found myself in fact thankful. Thankful for the opportunity to have my eyes opened to a world filled with disabled, sick and injured people in need of care. Thankful for the opportunity to learn more about trust and faith. Thankful for positivity!
But most of all I found myself thankful for being taught to care for myself. To love myself and look after my health and well-being.
I used to rush around everywhere, playing basketball one minute and football the next, running to and from church if going without a friend, and fidgeting in times of quiet, jumping around the house when left alone playing air guitar to Green Day’s American Idiot or Holiday. Busy busy busy. Loud loud loud.
I found something so much better. I found quiet. I found stillness. I found peace. Unable to do sport I filled my hours with practicing the piano, with reading, with finding new music and old music of classical and choral type. Through pain I found ambient serenity. I was inspired by Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, + Rowan Williams, Marcus Borg, JK Rowling, Alison Morgan, WM Paul Young, David Lodge… inspired by Bach, Ludovico Einaudi, Tallis, Verdi, David Sun… inspired by friends of St Michaels & All Angels Church, and inspired by God through all.
Amidst my pain in the early hours of the morning feeling very rotten indeed, I sighed as I heard the creeping why? voice and chased it out of my head. I drew in a breath and said, I do not ask because I trust. And then the prayer that I keep coming back to repeated as a mantra in my head for the hours on…
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And the Wisdom to know the difference.
These three gifts from God have kept me going in the months. And now with medicine that I trust and releases me from a lot of pain I intend on sticking with that for as long as possible before I agree to trying another one, even if it is (supposed to be) safer in the long run!
I used to think that I was weak. Weak because I could no longer physically cope with so many of the tasks I was used to completing. But I’ve learnt over the months, and especially in clarity last night, that I was never weak. I was frightened in moments and still will be I’m sure. I’ve been tired and physically exhausted. But I was never weak. The Inner Voice we often talk of, the conscience perhaps, the quietness that God seems to speak in so much more clearly than in any noise, has taught me that I’m strong. Yesterday morning I looked at myself in the mirror and said I’ve not felt this weak in a while. And I almost felt like God was slapping me awake (politely if it were possible in that sense) and saying don’t be stupid! Look at you! And I did. Five hours of pain and I’m still up and going to church. And laughing to myself I took the brightest angle on the situation that I could find, and found myself telling others that the new medication was not a failure, it was simply another success. You see, I’ve found one more way that doesn’t work. Now that that is eliminated, I must be getting closer to finding the right one! It seemed God was saying: You’re not weak my dear. And now you know how strong you can really be. How brave. Of course a tear fell at this point.
I hadn’t felt more exhausted or pained in months. But I hadn’t felt more trusting or strong in months either. Somehow, I know that whatever my leg, stomach, spine and sciatic nerve will throw at me next, I’ll get through it, as I continue to pray the Serenity prayer, and know that I am not asking it. I am simply reminding myself that God gives it to me and to all of us every day, if only we are open enough to receive and recognize this blessing. I thank God that I have and do, and that I have become stronger because of it. Thanking him that if we trust, if we have faith, we can get through anything.
I don’t think that God gave me this illness. I believe the mountain that I fell partway down did! But I think that God did give me the serenity, courage and wisdom to face it. The strength to keep going, and the enfolding, ever-present arms of love and comfort wrapping around me in each day. I continue on. Before writing this God rather conveniently reminded me of the time I had my shepherd’s walking stick, and the time with it that I decided to make the most of it… and share laughter with my friends at the same time…
… the power of positive thinking eh? Haha! 😀