Let me just say ... it's so good to be back.
After over a month of feeling trapped in my own skin, there is light again. I've been alleviated of the heaviness that had settled in my bones. As my thyroid finds its way back to balance, I'm delighted to see other aspects of my health follow suit.
The fog is gone.
When I left the naturopath's office that Friday afternoon, I bore inside me an odd mixture of hope and caution, of anticipation and wariness, of joy and sadness. These feelings kept bumping up against each other in my insides like pinballs, pinging across my body from bone to bone as I weighed the new information I had taken in. But within four days, I felt the light coming back. Within seven, I was practically bouncing off the walls with energy.
I've had so many health journeys in my life (the past two years have been especially rich) and as much as I continue to learn from them, they wear me out utterly. My tendency has been to bear these times with patience and watchfulness until I would finally reach a point where I had enough. Frustration and anger would escalate quickly, overriding every vestige of patience and rationality.
I'm continuing to learn much these days in this body God gave me; I don't think any one of these lessons is fully realized; none of them are things I can put in the past tense as in this is what I have learned, but these are all the seeds of some things and the development of some others.
I'm thinking of these as my lessons learning:
The world doesn't stop when I do.
While it was difficult to see my normal schedule and activities fall to the wayside, and while I most definitely grieved the loss of my spark and vitality, I am learning that it was okay for me slow down and some days, to come to a full stop. The world did not spin off its axis, the foundations of the earth were not shaken, and those who normally depend upon me to accomplish certain tasks got by just fine.
It's okay to feel like I'm falling apart.
There's a special prayer that the gorgeous Christianne-girl and I have shared for some months now in which we ask God, when it feels like we’re so broken we will never be mended, may you remind us that you hold all things (even us) together. It seems that during the course of our friendship, one or the both of us have felt this way: our lives and our hearts were utter messes, lost and in chaos. Nothing made sense, everything hurt. Sometimes we wondered where God was in the midst of it.
This was definitely one of those times for me. As awful as that falling apart feeling is (and as much as it really does seem it is all falling terrifically apart), there was a measure of freedom in knowing that there was no chaos as far as God is concerned: He is in control and He is good, and I'm willing to bet He doesn't see chaos when He sees my life. He's got it covered. He's holding all things (even me) together.
My worth is not tied to my ability to be productive.
This will always be easy to acknowledge in theory (and for other people), but I imagine there will always be some difficulty in allowing for the truth of it in myself. The three or four weeks that it was at its worst, my days were comprised of dragging my sorry butt out of bed, going to work, napping, having a small bite to eat, and then going straight back to bed. Jesus spoke into this, His truth running underneath the fatigue that had settled into my muscles and marrow. His presence was an undercurrent that ran deeper than my body's imbalance. I knew that I was still loved, that I was not being punished, and that my lack of ability to be in motion did not in any way impact my worth.
I am a whole person.
While referring to ourselves in terms of categories like body, mind, heart, spirit, soul can be helpful in certain contexts, these categories have limited usefulness. We are whole persons and bodies are an important part of that. I am as much my body as I am my soul; all these things bleed into one another and all are vital components of our personhood. When my body is slow and sluggish and heavy and hurting, you better believe my mind, my heart, my spirit, and my soul are all a part of that. They cannot be separated. And I believe it's all sacred territory.
When I can rely upon myself, I do.
This is especially apparent now that I am well. After spending a month of feeling as though I was beginning each day at the end of myself, I was calling on divine assistance for every moment. I don't really do that in a body that is well and filled with energy: I'm more inclined to rely upon my own abilities. When I insist on being strong, it limits the ways in which God's power can be made perfect in my weakness.
One body, many parts.
I had no idea how crucial the thyroid is until I first learned over a year ago that mine was severely out of whack. When Paul talks about the body in 1 Corinthians 12, he mentions that no part of the body is independent from another, that the parts that seem weaker are actually indispensable. I don't know how much medical knowledge Paul possessed, but I do know he's spot on. I feel the weight of indispensable.
The valleys are holy places.
Like most -- if not all -- people I know, I infinitely prefer it when things are going well: I feel good, I'm happy, my difficulties are few, and (dare I say it?) my circumstances agree with me. Jesus is there and those times are a gift.
But He's in the valleys, too. And I think it's in the valleys that I confront myself in a way I can't on higher ground. I couldn't escape from the truths of myself that forced me to let go (one white-knuckled finger at a time) of those pieces to which I so desperately clung. In the fog, I saw myself as I was and got a glimpse of who I'm meant to be.
And that's a gift, too.
Thank you friends, for loving me in this place.
photo © 2008 jen fox photography