Surely you’ve heard the idiom “the calm before the storm,” right? If I were to pull a Willy Wonka on that phrase – “Scratch that. Reverse it.” – then it would perfectly match this season of my life: “the storm before the calm”.
This week I counted how many specialists I’ve actively been seeing in the last 7 months. The whopping, almost unbelievable total? Eighteen – 18 – Yep, 10 plus 8 = 18. Within the next two weeks that’s going to become an even 2-0. Do you know why I’m okay with that? Because I really do need these specialists to help me! If I didn’t need their help, I could think of a million and one places I’d rather be than sucking up the recirculating air in their medical offices with drug rep poster “wallpaper”. Well, I CAN still think of a million and one more enjoyable places, but I want help badly enough that I’m willing to put up with going to doctor’s appointments and/or medical tests nearly every weekday for weeks on end. Desperation and pain will eventually do that to you.
Someone very relationally close to me this past week said, “I’m so sad that you don’t have a life! My baby doesn’t have a life!” I wasn’t sure what to say. I began to question, “Do I have a life?” Though I didn’t say it out loud, I wanted to ask this person, “Aren’t you being just a little over dramatic?” Granted, it runs in the family and my apple didn’t fall far from that over dramatic tree either, so I kept my mouth shut.
After all, sometimes it can be a bit tricky to convincingly say I have “got a life” when I’ve internally so often bemoaned the fact (rationally I’m not so sure this could ever be a fact…it’s more a judgment thought) that I “have no life” and have generally practiced rehearsing this “I HAVE NO LIFE” mantra with the drama of a queen. Huh, that was a long sentence.
Yes, right now, I’m sure if my lifestyle were compared to most people my age, it would look VERY different. I don’t even really know what people my age do. I mean, I know they often watch television when not working and they are much more interested in pop culture (I never could care less, even if I was healthy – the fact that I’m still using Willy Wonka quotes from movies I saw as a kid rather than new material should tell you something). They sleep better than I do, and they don’t wear out after going shopping or just washing a few dishes. And wow, some even have the energy to play sports or do yard work and still do other things that same day. They eat fast food or convenience foods (I see their shopping carts – EGADS!) and don’t have to spend hours cooking, and they talk about food A LOT with friends. Most work full-time jobs or they are married and stay at home to raise children. People my age can be much more spontaneous than I can, and I suppose most have enough money to go do something fun now and then.
A majority of the people I see at the gym are either the midlife crisis guys who try to lift too much and injure their backs or the older folks (who tend to be the oops-I-had-a-heart-attack-and-if-I-don’t-start-exercising-yesterday-my-doctor-says-I’m-gonna-croak type folks), so most folks in my age range don’t seem to be working out. HOWEVER, the people about my age that I do see at the gym are often fairly ripped (I’d like to pick up a date at the gym one of these days – some of those guys are H-O-T HOT! and sometimes I have to look away; manly arm muscles are sexy. I suppose nuns feel about as interested yet ashamed of their interest/intrigue as I do at times! Still waiting for Mr. Slow to appear in my life; 10 years with no dates just stinks – hurry up, dude!).
But I really don’t know for sure what my friend’s lives are like. Most of my friends aren’t my age; they are usually much older since I understand older people better and most older people are more predictable in their ways, and I do have a better sense of what they do day-to-day. People my age? Not so sure. Then again, I’m 100% sure that only about 4% of my friends really know what MY life is like daily and how much time goes into each part of it.
I’ve had to learn to grow up fast and become a super-responsible adult due to my challenges. I love and am grateful to God for His provisions in my life. I take care of my finances as best I can (no credit card debt, bills paid), obviously I care for my health, I desire to care about other people outside myself and my family and closest friends, and…well?…perhaps that just about sums up my life? Hmmm. I don’t relax very often, certainly not more than 2-3 times a week (naps included if optional, plus kite flying or some other non-necessary activity). I rarely go shopping except for groceries and necessary house items. If I had the energy, I’d do something creative instead – writing music, playing my instruments, learning to sew on my sadly neglected sewing machine, reading a book and creating new scenes in my mind’s eye, inviting friends over for dinner.
But I think I do “have a life” – it’s just different.
Not always bad different – sometimes good different – but definitely different.
At the end of the day, if I’m following where I believe the Lord is telling me to go
and doing His will as explained in His Word, doesn’t that mean that I DO HAVE A LIFE?
Ah, there we go. That’s the answer I needed tonight. See? This is why I blather on with my digital ink. 🙂
So I’m going to go back to my original thought trail here – sorry the bunny got carried away; I needed to chase after him with carrots and put him back in his cage.
To stay connected with reality I have to keep going back to what I wrote about a few days ago – the seasons of chronic pain. For now I”m in that crazy season of doctors and tests galore. I’ve got one doctor testing for narcolepsy and seizure disorders, another who has tested for orthopaedic problems, a cardiologist who is testing my heart while he thinks the problem is in my head, psychologists who are making sure the problem really isn’t in my head, a pain management doctor trying to help me find pain relief, a long-distance doctor working on an IV ketamine treatment for my CRPS/RSD, a GI team keeping my plumbing in line (itself a full-time job), my confused primary care physician who keeps getting requests for additional referrals from the specialists, and several more who will be testing for autonomic dysfunction among other things. IT IS CERTIFIABLY INSANE!
I must keep reminding myself that this season where it very much does, from an emotional perspective, seem that I have no life, will indeed slack up eventually and I’ll get to dream again and plan for the future rather than just planning for today or for the next 5 minutes. I have to keep that hope alive. Otherwise I’ll shrivel up and collapse.
In the meantime, I guess I’ll keep scoping out the dating potentials at the gym (if my parents knew I was looking at the gym they might pay for future memberships in hopes of eventually getting me married off!) while I take care of my health, as this is the life God has called me to for this season and I want to be faithful to follow Him in the little things.
Jesus taught, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a little thing is unrighteous also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous riches, who will entrust the true riches to you?” (Luke 16:11).
Whether I’m in the storm or in the calm, I need to be faithful because God is faithful to me.