When someone is in a season of health struggles they will say and do things that are hard to explain, difficult to respond to, and pretty unforgettable. It would be a lie to say this has not happened in our lives before and getting past these moments can be extremely difficult. You want to excuse the situation, justify it, ignore it – but on the same hand we are still living life and building on our relationships- these moments effect that process. Our world is lived under a haze of health situations – so it requires constant learning, growing and managing. For me this has been extremely difficult. I live with a lot of fear for the balance of demanding respect and pressing to move forward with life even when it is really hard, and the alternative providing compassion and turning the other cheek. I have done well… I have done poorly….. and now it seems bigger than ever as we hope to move past this phase into life post-transplant. For those of you going through this balancing act as the patient or the caregiver, your not alone: transplant, cancer, mental illness, post part depression – these things are real, they are hard and demand treatment and help…. but that is a very hard conversation. And for those of you not going through this – your prayers for those who are would be greatly appreciated.
The walk of this tight rope has been on my mind and present in my life a lot recently. If I am being honest I am exhausted by it and don’t really know what steps to take right now. My solution, a very simple prayer – God, don’t let me miss my exit. It is common in life for us to not really know what to pray for – yet those are the moments that need THE MOST prayers. It has been a comfort to me to know it doesn’t matter if we have the right words or say the perfect prayer – we just have to be doing it. So God, I am going to keep coming to you…. I am going to stay the course… just don’t let me miss my exit.
While working my way through this time I have been reflecting back on the moments that God has met me exactly where I am. He has made his prescience known, he has offered something that provided peace and comfort, and I have been given the direction on the path to go. As you may recall this book has had a profound effect on my heart, over my spirit, and on my practice of faith and God sent it to me in a way that was as blatant as if he texted me.
When Danny was in the hospital in January initially for some lung issues and it resulted in a blockage I was extremely frustrated. It had been an emotional time and just as we felt like we were starting to get a handle on things, we moved away from working through the situation and instead making strides only in survival mode. Those hospital days are long and hard work – I am not just there in support I am physically caring for Danny and he is howling in pain or trying to be knocked out. Due to the sensitive nature of this type of thing it helps Danny to have someone with him 24 hours and so his mom and I take shifts. When my shift is up there is always this crazy mix of emotions – relief to be the heck out of dodge, anticipation for the hot shower and warm bed, and a HUGE desire for human connection. I have just spent 12 hours with someone who only moans or barks orders and I crave chatting. My 12 hours off though has this weird lunch hour feeling. The moment I step out of the room the clock starts ticking and that break will go quick.
So I try and chat with friends a bit…. usually get coffee on the way to the hotel (I like to pretend I am not a lady with greasy hair and hospital stink and instead a tourist of charm city in need of a latte as I retire to my room)…. and do something that makes me feel productive (emails, blog, bills)… but eventually I have to stop the things that distract me and do the things that make my mind race – shower and sleep. When I am scrubbing off the day or climbing into bed I need to be calming down… relaxing… and soaking in the peace. Instead my mind thinks its time to list off all the fears…. obsess over the angry words that were barked at me…. fear that I will miss something and be in trouble for not caring enough… TV will help to combat it, but then before I know it I have been staring at a marathon of TLC shows about weight loss or little people and I am not rested or ready for my next shift. The solution I have found is podcasts – particularly Jamie Ivy’s Happy Hour. While I listen I can buzz around and get things done, plus the voices help me not feel so alone. They are just friends chatting and I am listening in. My loneliness during this health journey can be so loud it is defining and this really helps.
Plus this particular podcast (that really needs its own post) is filled with amazing stories of women that inspire me, enhance my faith, and motivate me to chase my dreams. They are writers and bloggers and moms and business owners – all people just wanting to share their story and these episodes have led to books and blogs that have truly changed my life. That being said I like to throw on ones I have already heard for hospital hotel days so I don’t miss anything I would want to focus on – but get to listen in and feel connected to something. That particular day I could not find one I wanted to listen to again so instead I opted for the woman who was coming on to talk about authoring her cookbook. Her writing was based on the amazing journey she took to transform her health. Impressive yes… .but one I needed to listen to word for word – not likely. I will never forget mid-shampoo lather throwing back the shower curtain and craning my neck to hear what was being shared…. not only was this woman talking about her book, she was sharing the immense loss she suffered with carrying a baby that would not survive long after birth. Apparently she had been on a previous podcast sharing that journey, which I promptly listened to while getting ready for the hospital the next day.
Danielle Walker’s story spoke right to my heart – pain, loneliness, feeling as if God has forgotten your name is not something saved exclusively for me. I would like to think I really and truly knew that BUT to hear it in such a tough circumstance really stopped me in my tracks. The next few days anytime I was angry or frustrated I thought of the families in the world struggling with that sort of hopeless news. During Danielle’s first interview she mentioned Angie Smith’s book being a huge source of comfort and guidance for how to navigate this tragedy and again I was filled with awe that someone went through that and was also able to share the journey to help others? CRAZY.
When in the hospital the remainder of that week, during a particularly hard moment, I downloaded that book and would spend the next few weeks reading it on and off until the days where I REALLY read it. Here I was just trying to put my mind at ease and hoping to find a raft to hold onto during these choppy waters and God found me. He sent me a life line…. he opened my heart to compassion for others and then gave me a tool that literally brought me his words to use for strength and guidance (Angie’s story has a bible study component to it that is really eye opening). It will not be on my timetable, it will likely come as surprise, and actually it may be through the gift of something happening in my life right now – I just don’t know the full circle yet…. but either way – God is here and He will find me. He will not let me miss the exit. In the end He will likely not text me…. but it might shock me how easily He will find me. I just need to be patient.
If you are struggling right now and not sure which way to go…. do not be afraid. Do the best you absolutely can (even if that is not your full best… likely it won’t be because your going through something tough), as little or big as that is, pray like a crazy person, and then release- it is in God’s hands. And for those of us always looking for ways to settle our minds – good book or a interesting podcast – please share below!
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!