Wow! This is the third time I’ve lost everything I’ve written in a post. Warning! Don’t useWordPress! It’s exhausting to write but I will try again. This week, I saw a friend compliment another friend. The complimenting friend has an enormous gifted in decorating. And, she is one of those people who are really funny and don’t know it. It occurred to me then that one of the gifts I value most is the sound of friends’ laughter. The friend being complimented has a smile in her voice and her laughter. I can pick out her laughter in any crowd. Laughter often reveals the true character within. Friends belly laugh, snicker, giggle and chuckle. One lady makes little sound but her smile lights up her eyes and her entire face. And, therein her character is revealed. Conviction. Hope. Joy. Peace. Compassion. All contained in laughter. This week, I saw the orthopedist. I have bad discs in my neck. He told me that my shoulders were scrunched up and contributing to the pain. Stress. Pain. Worry. I need to laugh. To be with people who laugh. To laugh until I cry and cry until I laugh. I have a sardonic sense of humor and I am a goof ball. I’ve worked very hard over the years to eradicate the sarcastic side of me. But in the process, I think I’ve done away with the goofball. I need to laugh in the midst of the storm. Do I really need to walk around with my shoulders half an inch higher than they should be? I think not. Funny thing. Yesterday, I had the massage to my neck and shoulders that the doc ordered. When she massaged around my clavicle, I kept thinking, “Please don’t turn off my pacemaker!”. It’s okay to laugh! After all, the joy of the Lord should be my strength. These scrunched shoulders can’t bear this life’s burdens. Laugh with me!
Today started great! I started back to Bible Study and saw old friends and familiar faces. Great teaching experience by Beth Moore. Do I live in an alternate universe? I think I might. The pressures and problems of life, the thorns and weeds, sprouted and began to choke off all of the warm and fuzzy feelings I’d accumulated in the morning. The cares very nicely proceeded to crush and weigh upon me so when I hit the first doctor appt of the day, I lost it. And then, my nurse practitioner told me that I could not handle this life alone. She noted my cross. She told me that she knew I was not alone. There is someone who can handle all of my burdens (duh! Shouldn’t I know this?) She told me that He would bear my burdens and guide me. Then, she gave me a proviso. I had to listen to what the Lord tells me to do and do it. (another duh! I do know this. Do I do it? No.) She went to her closet and got out a small medallion with an angel on it. She handed it to me and told me that she only gives these tokens to the people God tells her. She’s handed out 6 or 7 over the years. By this time, I was crying hard and knew I had to still check out at the front desk. (Third duh. Never cry in a doctor office. You will scare the other patients). Clutching my little angel, I went to the second doc appt where I was told that I’ve got degenerative disc disease (4th duh – knew that) but now in my neck. Completely deflated again, I got in the car and realized I’d dropped my angel. Thankfully, I dropped it in the doc office and I will get it tomorrow when I go back in for treatment. I am exhausted from riding the Duh Coaster. The Lord showed me His infinite mercy personally today and I literally dropped it. Please help me Lord to hold onto Your blessings. And to listen when You speak to me. Quadruple Duh!
Yikes! I seem to have developed another physical problem which means another visit to the doc tomorrow. I have been more concerned about the condition of my heart -and I don’t mean physical. Is it possible to wither and die from a broken heart? I think so. A little leaven (sin, emotional and physical pain, fatigue and hopelessness) can affect the entire loaf of bread. My little corner of the world has been shaken vigorously this summer. I hoped that with the advent of Fall, the “stuff” would settle down. Not so. If anything, that leaven which has been fermenting in my heart seems to be bubbling and often out of control. I have been a Christ follower for a very long time. I know exactly what to do when the world seems out of control and I have none of it. But, like the Apostle Paul, I ask myself why I don’t do what I know I should. This is the time to hold on tight! But it’s hard to hold on when the heart is in the process of being broken. I am reminded of an old charismatic chorus. “A vessel of honor for God. A vessel of honor for God. Sanctified, holy that I might be a vessel of honor for God. Tonight, before I close my eyes and say good night to Jesus, I will ask Him to take my brokeness. May I become a vessel of honor for Him. Oh yeah, lots of glue holding me together, chipped and a bit cracked, but still belonging to Him.
My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand —- here’s the really good part……
His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh may I then in Him be found. Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is singing sand. All other ground is sinking sand.***
Oh may I then in Him be found
Edward Mote, circa 1834; first appeared in Mote’s Hymns of Praise, 1836.
Interestingly enough, my day began with a strange twist. I began working on a post – and felt truly inspired. I worked for a while and pressed the “publish” button. Instead of publishing – poof! I was emotionally exhausted and, yes, I felt a bit hopeless. In vain, I tried to recover the original but it was gone. I got up from my chair and went about my day. The problem was, however, that the sense of disappointment clung to me. That is the way hopelessness works. It is the opposite of the Bible’s instruction to believers to put on the garment of praise. I exchanged one garment for another. In the last several weeks, I have seen two face book comments from two people who declared their suffering and hopelessness. I could imagine the despair they must have felt to reveal their broken hearts in a very public fashion. I do not know either of them but I commented to both of them. I would not presume to tell them that I understand what it feels like to live in their despair. I can only identify with the very human emotions of fear and pain. I understand the erosion of sickness upon the human spirit. I have experienced a moment to moment struggle to move a foot after surgery or a nerve damaged arm. I have felt friendless and useless; angry and joyless. I have felt hopeless. And today, I felt the cloud of hopelessness attempting to clothe me. After all, Linda, your neck hurts today. The pain of the loss of a dear, dear friendship stings beyond comfort. Wasn’t I lonely this morning. The pit of hopelessness looked inviting. After all, I’ve put up curtains and decorated that place quite nicely! Certainly, depression has been calling my name over the last six months. And yet, I still would not tell those two folks that I understand. Because I don’t. Each of us wars a different battle with the same forces. Each of us responds to tragedy and fear in our own way. We, who stand beside those who suffer are called to reach into the pit and hang on to the brokenhearted. We clothe ourselves in Jesus. He is the father to the fatherless, hope to the hopeless, our help in times of trouble. He is the answer. But we must be His arms, His feet, His mouth, and yes, His reflection. At the end of the day, when all of me is spent in my effort to survive emotionally and physically, I am still to kneel before the wounded around me, to bind those wounds with sacrificial love. I told those wounded face book folks that I cared for them and that I would pray for them. Lord, help me to reach down into the pit without myself falling. Help me to see with Your eyes the walking wounded and dying around me. In my little corner, in my me-centered world, help be Your hands.
Yesterday, I visited my opthamologist for my six month eye check up. I am developing “young persons’ cataracts”. I am asking the Lord why He allows difficulties with my eyes. Several years ago, I had basel cell cancer on my right lower eye lid. I had 2/3 of that eye lid surgically removed. A strip of skin was taken from my upper left eye and used to create a sort of patch where the cancer had been removed. My eye was sewn shut for six weeks after the surgery. My mom tells me that I became hysterical as a little girl geting my eyes examined. As an adolescent,I tried to put contacts in my eyes but got inches away and chickened out. It’s an eye thing. The cataracts have grown since the last check up. There is a pretty good chance that I will need them removed within the next year. Right now, at night, headlights coming towards me look like the sun. Rays shoot out from the center of the light. The doc told me that is called a “starburst”. There is beauty even in the growth of something that could, without intervention, take my sight. Perhaps, some day, I will behold the Lord. His face will shine like the sun. Until that day, aside from alleviating my cataract stress by eating half a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread, I will choose to focus (no pun intended) on the everyday beauty that surrounds me. The sound of my finches singing to one another, the sunshine beaming through my dirty patio windows, the sound of my clicking valves. I choose life today. Today will take care of itself. I choose the starburst.