when i was eight, i had a horrible headache that felt like the insides of my head were being torn out. or at least that’s what i remember it like now. the doctor said the problem was caused by something that’d been there since i was born. or, rather, hadn’t been there — and that was the problem. i could have surgery, or radiation. we picked the latter. i can’t remember if i was scared or not. i sang during most of the treatment, so i must not’ve been. how beautiful the fearless innocence of childhood is.
i turned 22 last october. i came home from work one day, late, ate dinner, curled up on the couch … then got up and blacked out before i could pour myself a glass of milk. just for a couple of seconds, no more. i felt it coming on, and just crumpled to the floor, no dramatic falling. we went to doctors and had tests and scans and i felt like i didn’t have time to have a medical problem.
after new year’s a serious doctor with a bowtie told me the problem in my brain had grown again. as before, i could have surgery, or radiation, only now re-radiating the area would make it more likely i could have a stroke in reaction. i called mayo clinic for an appointment. march.
the strange (but blessedly so) aspect to all of this is that i don’t feel a thing — this is a problem waiting to happen rather than one already taken place. people ask how i’m doing medically and i say “fine,” because i am. i can’t feel it, so it’s hard to believe it’s real. except that every odd twinge of my head triggers a mild panic of “is this it? is that it?”
a funny thing about growing older and growing closer to God is He shows you all sorts of things about yourself you never knew (or would have believed) before. several years ago He showed me i don’t love people (the way He does). then He showed me i’m horribly proud and self-centered. then He showed me i’m angry, bitter. now He’s shown me i’m impatient. i have to be in control.
i’ve never thought of myself as impatient. maybe blame it on our culture of instant gratification — we want what we want now, and you’d better deliver or there’ll be hell to pay somewhere. essentially, that’s what i want: a doctor to tell me today what’s wrong and fix it tomorrow. but it doesn’t always work that way. and there’s nothing i can do to fix this problem myself.
most of the time i’m just internally testy about this, but sometimes fear takes over. last night, in fact, was the type of night that makes one’s eyes all puffy in the morning. three good things came from it, though:
psalm 37:4 — delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
psalm 37:5 — commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.
psalm 3:7 — be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
yielding a situation to God isn’t about lying down and saying “well, God, i guess i can’t do anything about it, so i’m just going to sit here and see what happens.” true, we have to acknowledge that God is the only one who can act to rectify something or bring about change or healing or a resolution, but we have to believe that He can and will. and we have to believe He is good no matter what He does and how little we may understand it. remembering what i actually deserve really puts this into perspective for me.
do i deserve good health?
do i deserve a loving, supportive family?
do i deserve a good job?
do i deserve friends?
do i deserve a car, nice clothes, a college education, the chance to travel?
do i deserve life?
do i deserve salvation?
i don’t deserve any of those things. i deserve death and eternal separation from God because i was the one who turned my back on Him in the first place. i, the little dust and clay creation, told God, the creator of all things, “i don’t need you. i don’t want you. i hate you.”
maybe i didn’t actually speak those words, or form them in my mind, but that’s what every one of my rebellious actions shouts silently. and for that, i deserve death. but He became the utterly disgusting thing i was, and died, and abolished the law of death and rose from the dead, so that i could have true life.
so, in light of that, my little “i don’t have the time to deal with a health crisis” attitude looks pretty poor.
i want to go to germany this summer. i want to go to faithwalkers in december. i want to live a normal, healthy life ever afterward. i want to get married and have children and have a home of my own.
i need Him. and only Him.
the title of this post comes from a song i love by the group fiction family. the song’s called “please don’t call it love,” and i’m not sure i understand all the lyrics, but there’s a verse that encapsulates what i’ve been feeling lately:
“… i was waiting for someone
something to happen
climbing the walls and falling in what i now would call your bluff
please don’t call it love …”
often in life i’ve found my circumstances boring and am tempted to think, oh, if only someone or something came and made life exciting again, how happy i would be, or how complete i would be, or, oh, how good i would be, if only this would happen.
then this, my “something ridiculous,” happened. (no tale of ill-fated romance will be found here … sorry if i got your hopes up.)
my friend kimmi says this is a situation where i’ll have to choose every day to trust God and believe He’s good. and she’s right. this is such a little thing in the scope of life, compared with my friend elise, who has lupus, or my grandma, who has fibro myalgia, or my coworker, who was in a car accident and was injured. i feel no pain. i can do anything and everything i did before i knew this was in my brain. but there’s still the temptation to be afraid, to be controlling, to be angry, to be bitter.
and there’s the chance to believe. to trust. to delight.