Last week, one of my kids started feeling sick. Actually, the symptoms didn’t line up with “sickness”, so I assumed something else was going on. By the time we passed the one week mark, I realized it was probably time to see a doc. We were going to go on Friday, but with finals and such, it just didn’t happen.
Then, on Saturday, she had to compete for her sport at the last invitational meet of the season, so I knew that I couldn’t just pull her.
When we arrived, I found her crying and shaking. She was in so much pain. She grit her teeth and pushed through, but as I watched from the stands, it was physically painful to see her have to do something so intense when I knew her pain level was high. I think it’s the only time I’ve seen her perform that I sincerely couldn’t make myself smile. It was just so hard to realize she was hurting and forcing herself through it.
As I sat in the bleachers, I did what so many unfortunate mothers have done. I turned to Dr. Google. And oh what a mistake that was. By the time the meet was over, my head was swirling. I knew we needed to get to Urgent Care before the night was over. And yes, yes, I know. I should have remembered that all the other times I’ve self-diagnosed with the internet, a great majority of those times, I’ve come to the wrong conclusion. But with her level of pain and some of what the internet said *could* be happening, I didn’t want to take chances.
Thankfully, I have a doctor friend who graciously helped me via text. We decided to wait it out and see what happened since her symptoms had actually not yet met the criteria for what I was imagining. By the next day, her symptoms began to wane and by Monday, she was pretty much over it. But, in my defense, by then, it was day ten. And that seemed a long time to have this particular symptom.
Anyway, during those few hours of fearing the worst, it occurred to me that if bad news was to be learned, how immediately would I LONG to have another trial. Another struggle.
I’ve talked about a situation very vaguely that’s been going on in our lives for the past couple of years. It’s nothing tragic or even terrible, but it has been unremitting. It has been unrelenting. And, steadily, it has worsened even despite our efforts to fix it or at least put a tourniquet on it. At the worst of it, the toll of it had become so great that I do think it was part of the mini-breakdown I had in late September. And honestly, it’s not that the situation itself was so grave that it merited that response. It’s that I let the anxiety it was causing run away with my brain. It beat the heck out of me for a while until I worked really hard and got it back under control.
As I laid in bed last night thinking about this situation, my girl and her close call with medical disaster – haha, not really – came to my mind. I realized that if the internet had been right and suddenly something new was on my horizon this week – something as scary as health gone wrong – oh how desperately I would wish to return to the difficulty of this other unremitting situation. Oh how badly I would yearn to go back to just dealing with this thing that feels like a thorn continually digging into my side.
It’s all about perspective, ya know. We can have a situation going on in our lives that is causing unbearable stress and fatigue and subconsciously think it might be the most unfair predicament ever. But all we need is for something harder, something nearer and dearer to strike our heart for us to quickly withdraw our clenched fists and instead change our tune from desperation to gratitude.
All this time that this situation has been brewing and stealing my sanity, I’ve done nothing but stare deep and long and hard at it. I have only taken brief breaks from my intensity to notice all that is going on around me that is good and right and fair and beautiful.
Sure, I might pay lip service to my children’s health and my beautiful marriage, but apparently I don’t sincerely feel very grateful for those things because all too quickly, my attention is diverted again and I’m back obsessing and desperately trying to fix this other situation.
Life is filled with troubles. About the time one resolves, another has been making its way down the pipeline to meet you. If this isn’t the case with you, shut up and go away. I don’t even want to know. Lol. Because it IS that way for me. One thing after another after another after another. And I already know that when the clock has run out on this situation of great unremitting stress, another one – all shiny and new – will be there waiting for me.
“Into every life a little rain must fall.”
And so, it’s best to spend great mental efforts looking AWAY from the things that are going wrong and great fortitude looking TOWARD the things that are going right.
Something as fantastically simple and wonderful as a sickness averted is a beautiful thing. It was a “could have been” that wasn’t. We all get to go back to our normal schedule and normal life. We aren’t facing real medical trouble. Real crisis. As quickly as the fear came, it passed. But it did leave behind the profound gratitude for my children’s health. All four of them. There have been physical and emotional and even psychological scares in recent years, and yet, here they are, all doing so well.
This other situation actually does have a clock. It will officially end in June of 2020. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful that even though there are sixteen more months of stupidity and misery to be inflicted – and I’m sure it will – there is a defined end.
Most genuine trials in life don’t go that way. They don’t have a date that you can put on the calendar and know that real resolution will be there by then.
Most genuine trials pick away at us for years, mercilessly stealing our peace, making us fight 24/7 for head above water. Most genuine difficulty is not so kind as to have a time and place that it will most certainly end.
For the six days since it got released, this new little album has barely left my eardrums. It’s just exactly the medicine I’ve been needing. Probably the only time that a piece of music has blessed me so so much. It’s like every single track was written to speak directly to some part of what is my current reality.
This one was on repeat yesterday. What a lovely reminder that we really are gonna be alright. Even with the rain pouring, there is hope. For every crisis. For every unremitting stress that presses hard against us.
Last night, we laid in bed and prayed before sleep as we always do. Talking to God about the things we are thankful for. The things we are stressed about. Asking for relief. For peace. For perseverance. And even in those moments of intercession, it occurred to me that my life is pretty dang beautiful.
In the world’s most comfy bed, lying next to the one I love most. Warmth, peace, strength, quietness, solidarity. Even the blessing of sharing the same beliefs and convictions.
A little rain falls into every life, but we’re gonna be alright. For the little downpours that are just a pain because of their unremitting nature, I’m choosing to look away. To drive past it without rubbernecking constantly. Sure, I’ll face it when I need to and take action when I need to. But my hearty gaze will be on what’s going right.
The family who loves me.
Our collected health.
Provision and protection.
A friend group that serves as a protecting belt from the otherwise overwhelming distresses of life.
A warm bed.
A Father who hears.
The sun that shines warmly on cold days.
It’s okay to fear
It’s okay when you feel small
And you’re okay right here
It’s okay when you feel nothing at all
And it’s okay to find out
What you thought you had ain’t what you got
And it’s okay to doubt
To learn what you think ain’t what you thought
Oh, it’s okay to grieve
It’s okay to learn to fall
And it’s okay to believe
To admit that you’re human after all
And it’s okay to heal
All of the scars that are buried deep inside
And it’s okay to feel
To say all the things you’ve been trying to hide
We’re gonna be alright, we’re gonna be alright
I’ve seen the look in your eye
We’re gonna be alright
I said we’re gonna be alright, we’re gonna be alright
Just take a look at the sky