Emotional Health in Sickness
I remember. I remember being curled up in the fetal position. I remember laying there, crying but not knowing what was wrong. Everything was, but what was it? Alone. I remember feeling alone. Raw. Like someone had taken my organs and tried running them over a cheese grater. I felt pain inside; it felt like a throbbing headache of the soul. And the questions.
Was I dying? How was I going to pay my next bill? Where was my food coming from? Why did I have to exhaust myself to survive? Why did all my friends fall by the wayside? Why didn’t I want to be around people anymore? What was wrong with me?
I remember. Fear became the four letter word of my life that summer. Fear gripped me in its iron grasp. No one could tell me what was wrong with my body. Having questions and no answers made me feel as if I were falling downward in a black, bottomless pit. And I didn’t want to know what lay at the bottom.
Vulnerable. I have never felt so vulnerable before. I didn’t know this level of vulnerability existed in the human soul. It was so deep, that I had to hide from people. I was so shook up that I couldn’t handle criticism of any kind (ok, my brain wasn’t all there either).
Fear is normal. Hear me again: fear is normal, particularly for those who are un-diagnosed or cannot see their way out. Losing motor skills is a big deal. Losing a job, relationships, ability to think, travel and have a stable emotional life is a big deal. Fear can paralyze a person in more ways than one. Know that you are not alone.
Grief was my companion. It visited me often, sinking deep, past the flesh and bones and into the soul that I am. It found me everywhere, every place I went, there was loss. Grief was a response to loss of mobility, lack of sleep, loss of friendships, inability to do activities that refreshed my soul. And with my grief came a burning anger against the God of my life.
I experienced such an extreme anger that summer. I’d felt out of control in the past, but never so out of control as this. Financially I was struggling. Sometimes I’d use my credit card to pay for gas or food, knowing full well there was nothing but cents in my bank account.
“God, come through for me,” I’d pray. I’d beg. He did, He always did.
But never in the abundance I wanted. The phrase “Give us this day our daily bread,” filled me with anger. I was sick and I was exhausted! I could hardly make it through the day and I didn’t want today’s bread; I wanted the assurance of next week’s food and peace of mind about finances! He never gave it to me that summer.
I voiced it. I let Him know. He didn’t budge.
Trust. My Father was teaching me trust. And He wasn’t afraid to let me go through a difficult time in order to accomplish some soul work in a child. I knew I was too tied to the security of money, had known it several years.
And I’d given up my savings due to what I believed was His nudging, to send it away to a family who trusted Him. The wife was in need of medical care, yet they were without the finances to do it. I thought if I gave to them, God would give more than enough to me.
What did I get? My daily bread. And a wee bit more from time to time. But not an overwhelming supply. Not assurance of a month’s paycheck. Daily bread, just as He promised.