According to Wikipedia (and who can argue with the Big W?) The quotation “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” comes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, act III, scene II, where it is spoken by Queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother. In Shakespeare’s time, “protest” meant “vow” or “declare solemnly”. It also means that she is promising too much. Well I don’t know about the Queen but this lady is going to take it literally: I think my posting about illness is getting to be too much!
So I must digress for a moment into another topic altogether. You see, the failing of dealing with chronic illness (defined as that which lasts more than 6 months) is when the diagnosis becomes you. When I start to use words like, “my Lyme disease” or “my mold illness” then I am beginning to affix a permanent label to myself: a new identity as a sick person. Sure, I am a person with a serious illness. Yet if I am not careful, I will develop such a strong identification with the role of “sick person” that it will be difficult to embody or identify with other roles and activities in my life. It could be difficult to identify with healing when it comes; that would be bad! The tendency when wearing the “hat” of a disease too well is to talk about symptoms or treatment all of the time. I could constantly be complaining about the daily headaches and pain, difficulty concentrating, or pre-tic phenomena, etc. And if I do that, I simply won’t be much fun to be around. I will find myself alone more of the time and I’m already alone a lot!
So I must make a conscious effort, beginning with those closest to me, to focus on him or her and other things no matter how benign the topic. Gotta start somewhere! I can always find something to say about our cute pupster, the mail that came that day, or something for which I am grateful. I can always lavish in the goodness of the Lord, Jesus Christ and how he has given me a warm, pretty home in which to reside. I can always be grateful for the healthy food that is available to me in our smallish town from both local farmers and chain grocery stores. (For example, have you seen the great prices on organic, free range chicken thighs in the Family Pack at Wal-Mart?) And when in doubt, I can even brag about making it to Level 102 in the Facebook game Pengle. Hey, what else am I supposed to do when spacey at 2:00 a.m.? The game is not that easy and it’s kinda fun too!
One of my favorite topics is my husband Steve. He is an amazing man. Steve begins his day with an extended time of prayer before taking care of our dog and getting ready for work. I am often sleeping or returning to sleep as he is leaving for work; we chat by phone sometime later in the afternoon. By that time he has designed a cool aspect of a weather satellite or test instrument in his role as a mechanical engineer for a world-wide firm. At lunch he cycles. Yeah that’s right. Most of us take bike rides. Not my Stevers. He is a competitive athlete to the core even during his lunch “rides” where the guys crank out 20 or more miles, averaging 19 or so miles per hour most days of the week. Then on Tuesday nights during the warmer weather and most weekends until the St. Joseph River freezes over, you’ll find my River Bear in his kayak-on-steroids. Steve races in the United States Canoe Association circuit (K-1 Unlimited class) here in northern Indiana and at Nationals every year. His two little ditties are 21-foot carbon fiber surf skiis that weigh in at around 23 pounds each! The Epic V12 looks like a Tomahawk missile on top of his stealth fighter Dodge Magnum low rider transport vehicle. Then there’s the multitude of service activities to our church including worship, Bible study, and fellowship. It’s amazing that there’s any energy left when the dude returns home. Yes, there is energy left for me, with hugs and tenderness too. Even at midnight when I’m not doing so well on a work night.
I love Steve with all my heart. It’s a privilege to be his wife, a blessing from the Lord. I have never felt so loved, so cherished, so respected, and held in so high of esteem by anyone at any other time in my life. His sense of humor, common sense, and Godly wisdom enrich me immeasurably. He is often my “Jesus with skin on.” Thank you, Jesus for blessing me with an amazing man of God.
Ladies, amazing men do exist! Can you see one important reason why I strive with what little strength I have these days to be the best woman I can be? Sometimes all I can do is make my man his lunch . . . at 3:00 a.m. in the morning before I finally make it to bed. So I make it the best lunch I can possibly muster with my Heavenly Husband holding me together until it’s completed. Then the dog gets a scratch behind the ears and it’s time to collapse into whatever the darkness may bring. At least I know as I close my eyes each night that this lady has “professed” her best culinary care and it is not “too much.” I’m hoping it’s just right!
Oh my Heavenly Father, thank you for my beloved who cares for me and my heart in this life until we both can be in Your presence forevermore. And if it is your will Lord, I ask to be able to be with Steve a little more as husband and wife, sharing the joys of life and being together. Thank you for helping us to find some sweetness despite this season of illness in my life. Thank you for Your provision and helping me, helping us to endure this difficult journey. You have sustained us, carried us over and over again through much uncertainty, false hopes, unexpected setbacks, and complications. While all this is true, You have also allowed others to see You here and there when we somehow got it right. Oh Lord, I pray that we continue to be a worthy steward of all that You allow in our lives for Your glory alone. Thank you for a better afternoon and evening today. I love you too. In Christ’s name, Amen.