Hands clasped in prayer,
head bowed in humbleness,
Light covering me in grace,
I search for the gift of healing,
believing, as I do, that there are already angels at work behind the scenes,
knowing everything is for my better good.
But weary, I am, on day 8 of this illness,
looking for the messages hidden in this virus's compelling insistence on total rest,
asking why I can't manage to do ANYthing,
asking WHY I have to be this sick for this dang long?
Why do we always want the bad things to go by faster and the good things to last longer?
Why are we always so impatient for fast results?
Why, when we are sick, is it so hard to embrace rest, and as females all we can think about is what isn't getting done?
Why is it so very hard to be in the moment, especially when those moments are uncomfortable ones?
Why is it so easy to forget about God's timing whenever we're suffering?
I search, desperately, for the message in this illness, but all I can hear are the words, "Be still and rest!"
"But...but..." I hear myself start to say...and I finish my thought anyway (even though I know better) ..."haven't I been resting for 6 months already!?"
"Isn't there some kind of statute of limitations on rest?" I jokingly inquire. ;)
I swear I can see God smile.
I let out an audible and prolonged SIGH... (I've always had a bit of a flair for the dramatic, after all).
"Ok, ok!" I immediately say to the quiet around me.
I sit in this deafening quiet hearing only the sound of hissing air passing what doc assumes to be a recently acquired pin prick hole in my right eardrum from this nasty virus, as well as my dog snoring on the rug beside me, and BOOM!!
As soon as I allow myself to go INTO the quiet, I immediately begin to cry.
"What a blessing to know this quiet - to know GOD," I think to myself!
And just like that, every single blessing in my life begins flashing before me!!!
The feeling so overwhelms me that all I can do is sob!!
I feel myself instantly wrapped in what can only be described as a warm blanket of reassuring Love.
I don't know how long I stayed with this feeling, but I do know I was reminded that there is no such thing as MY timing...there is only God's timing....one of the single hardest lessons for our human, ego-driven mind to comprehend, and most certainly one of my own hardest lessons (anyone who knows me well might add, "That's an understatement!) We try so hard to control EVERYTHING!
"Let go!" was my next thought, and I heard myself immediately begin to argue, "But I've been slowly letting go for the last 15 years! When is it enough!!?”
"Seriously?!" I sigh again and try to go back to the blessings.
So, what, you ask, is my point in telling you this?
I suppose it comes down to this:
I've come to the conclusion that it's far easier to stay in the dark, ugly places of life than to consciously CHOOSE to pull oneself out of that place and stay in the Light!
Think about what I just said...
It's easier to feel sorry for yourself than to try to snap out of it. And once you allow yourself to go 'down there,' and the longer you stay there, the harder it becomes to see any light and swim back up!! You get lost in the darkness! And the longer you’re down there, the more the darkness is all you can see, and the more darkness there seems to be. It's as though it multiplies and tries to suffocate you! The forces of the dark are strong (but anyone who’s watched Star Wars already knows that...LOL)!! Those dark forces keep you separated from all that is good and godly and pure.
As controversial as it may be to say this, there is choice in what we focus on, and our choices directly affect our thoughts, our moods, our outlook, and our emotional and physical well-being every single day. It can feel easier to make peace with being in the dark and blaming anything and anyone we can for where we find ourselves rather than pulling ourselves up and out. We are not made to live in the dark! And we certainly aren't made to stay once we're there. This is not how God wants us to live!
Of course, there are layers upon layers to this generalized statement of how it's easier to choose to stay in the dark, because, for one, there are many different kinds of darkness that try to swallow people. And, as fate would have it, sometimes those dark encounters can effectively pile one on top of each other, overwhelming us before we’ve had a chance to get on top of each one separately. And sometimes we need help (be that professional or family/friends or some combination of both) to get back to a place where we can see glimmers of light again. And what courage it takes when someone consciously chooses that path - when someone chooses to get out of the darkness - to ask for help...to reach for the Light!
Too, there are certainly things that happen out of the realm of our control (i.e.: death of a loved one, trauma) that can lead us to very dark places, but when all else is accounted for I honestly believe that choice is the single biggest determining factor in our overall well-being. We just don't like to admit how much in life actually comes down to choice. Know I say this with zero judgement because, trust me, I've been in dark places, AND I'm someone who has also sought out professional help to help me find my way out of that dark place.
I suppose the real question, then, becomes this:
What are we to learn from those dark places when that is where we've landed?
From my own experiences, I can tell you the following:
the sooner you allow yourself to yield to the forces at work behind the scenes (i.e.: God)-
to turn your focus inward and to see those parts of yourself that you prefer to ignore...
to forgive what is seeking to be forgiven...
to let go of what you are holding onto that is no longer is serving you...
to stop trying to control every little thing...
to embrace the signs of what is possibly corrupting your healthy state of being...
the sooner you can see that glimmer of light and choose it over the dark place in which you feel stuck.
No, it's not easy, but it is worth it!
Suffering, much as we dislike it, develops us into better people. It helps to Inform us and to Conform us - to teach us, to lead us to Love (God) and to humble our 'self' to the perfect timing that works not just on our behalf, but on everyone's behalf! (Pssst: Let your mind be blown for a second by that!)
Any kind of healing, be it emotional, physical, or spiritual (or a combo of all three) is rarely a quick journey. Trust me, I know! And even now, when I very much want to wallow in, "but I'm soooo sick and tired of being sick (and I was supposed to be on day 3 of Christmas decorating!)," I know I must stay here until I've rested enough to receive my next message, AND rested enough for my immune system to learn how to conquer this mutated virus from He*#, because there is clearly something here for me in this deep state of rest. I can't help but wonder if my immune system is learning something new that will protect me from or prepare me for something else on down the road...or whether the patience this is requiring is readying me for something else that is going to require new levels of tolerance and resignation later on (i.e.: blessings in disguise).
AND I can't help but think of all the blessings that were just this morning seemingly invisible. It's a choice. Tomorrow, if I'm still sick, I'll no doubt have to make that choice again, and that choice might be harder for me then, but that's ok! The point is to make the choice to try to see the Light, to consciously look for the blessings, to notice the little everyday joys that can so easily be overlooked (i.e.: a warm house, a heated mattress pad, soft tissues, lots of TV choices, a dotting hubby, medicines to help take the edge off, a hot shower to decongest, sun streaming through the window, Christmas music on the radio, family constantly checking in, etc... all immense blessings not available to everyone). Because here's the thing- seeing those blessings helps us remain in a state of gratitude that in turn helps us stay connected to God. And I also believe that being in those dark places ultimately teaches us to better appreciate the joyous times. How would we know the Light if not for the Dark? How would we effectively appreciate anything in life if we didn't know the opposite?
All healing, no matter the kind, takes TIME and is rarely a linear path. You can be in a better place for a couple days or a couple months, and then slip right back into the abyss. And the dark abyss knows exactly how to feed on your impatience, and your feelings of guilt, shame, worthlessness, inadequacy, fear, and laziness. AND it especially loves despair and futility! But at some point when you're in the darkness, you will hear the Light's whispers calling you to reach for them (they're always there), and sometimes that can be a VERY hard choice to make when you feel as though you're drowning, or when you've resigned yourself to where you are and have lost hope, or when you find yourself without the resources or support system that could benefit you. But one baby step in the direction of the Light can make the next one and the next one easier. There is always choice!!
All healing (including that which comes with death) is a gift from God. We are miraculously designed to survive, and then once we die, to experience life anew. But we are also given free will to choose our path while we are here on earth in this physical form. God is there to guide us if we choose to listen, but the choice is ultimately ours and ours alone.
The more we listen to and trust those whispers, and the more we stay in communication with, and reverence of Him, and the more we choose to remain in a state of gratitude for all His many blessings, the more easily we find ourselves living in a state of optimal flow, and
the more easily we make good choices for our life, AND the more easily we are able to give of our gifts without exhausting our resources and making ourselves sick.
God wants us in relationship with Him, it's that simple. Perhaps it's easier for some, at least initially, to access that relationship when they are at the bottom of a dark barrel. For others, like myself, I seem to most easily access my relationship with Him when I am immersed in the glory of His creation, and when I go into the quiet of deep meditation and prayer. And for still others, they find communion with God easiest when they consciously choose to remain in the Light of His Love every single moment of every single day; CHOOSING to walk in gratitude and faith.
Regardless, God meets us where we are and loves us no matter what. He asks only that we love Him in return, that we honor His creation, and share His Love (Light) through us, with others. I find myself wondering if being sick doesn't help us learn how to better love ourselves, in part to prevent as much illness as possible, but also to remind us of our worth to Him and the importance of our existence- and our unique gifts -to the universe. When you stop to think of just how many people came before you...and how many stars had to align just so -all so that you could be here- and then take that a step further and consider all the lives you have touched and impacted because of your existence...it's very humbling indeed. What a precious gift it is to be alive and to love and to radiate our Light...His Light!!!
Just something to chew on.
As you part ways with family after the Thanksgiving high, think about your life and your choices and your relationship with your maker. Consider, with deep regard and gratitude, your blessings. Are you heeding the messages God is sending you? Are you living in the moment or jumping waaay far ahead? Are you using your gifts in the service of humanity? Are you choosing to see the good over the bad, to light the way for others walking in the dark, to leave a positive impact on this world? At the end of each day, no matter how crummy the day may have been, are you able to find the bright spots in the day...to thank God for the gift of your life, this world, His perfect creation, and the unfaltering Love that holds you through it all?
What I wish for you during the remainder of this holiday season and beyond is so much more than good health and happiness. Yes, of course I wish this for everyone, but even more, I wish for you the joy of knowing your worth in the eyes of God, an overwhelming awareness of His ever-abundant gifts, undying faith in the magic of what can't yet be seen or known, and a heart that knows the beauty of accepting His perfect timing in every aspect of your life. Walking in Faith...Walking in Light...Walking in Love... BELIEVING in perfect design.... knowing in your heart and soul that you are guided. Every day it's a choice. Some days that choice is harder to make than others. Those are the days God will carry you if you ask.
I hope you make good choices, even when it's hard, and when you just can't seem to muster the faith to make it through, and when you just can't seem to find your way back to the Light, I hope you ask God to carry you until you can. Because I promise you, He will. ♥
From one blessed wife, sister, mama, grandmother, and friend, to another, know I'm sending you so much love, always!