When there are no words

“Look up.  Look waaaaaay up,” were the words of The Friendly Giant in 1986.  This American children’s television host invited the viewer into his miniature living room where he pulled out a chair just for you by the fireplace.  Then an image of his fake leather boots appeared 10x the scale of the scene on the television as he invited little Sissy or young Bobby to follow the camera up to the smiling eyes waiting to tell a story, waiting to introduce you to a host of characters.  Rusty the Rooster was a silly-looking puppet yet their banter held my attention all the same.  Even though by 1986 I was not a kiddo anymore!

We often look up to see the wonder beyond us:  gazing at the twinkling stars so visible in the crisp Fall air or maybe oooing and ahhhing at the bright ornaments adorning the department store Christmas trees already on display before Thanksgiving.  There is something magical about a beautiful sight just beyond our gaze, just above our smaller human frame.  When that object is but ordinary the wonder may be less yet the opportunity to reflect may be just as profound too.

The ceiling above my bed of sickness holds much thought these days.  On a Monday I might see a simple popcorn ceiling in the same building contractor’s white paint of every home built that very year.  A few days later it may be the seam tape of the electrical lines painted to match the composite panel lining the roof of an aluminum travel trailer.  Two months ago it was a bright blue shade sail floating softly up, gently down above my patio chair when the weather was still sunny and warm.  Such simple forms that served to give me pause from the mayhem of the hours that dragged on before . . .

shade sail patio summer 2015

Times like these are best spent dwelling in the presence of the Lord.  No words fill my mind in those kind of moments.  The tears are already spent; the energy almost completely drained away.  Such is the aftermath of uncontrollable seizure attacks that plague my weakened frame day after night after day for hours without end.  The pattern continues despite new anti-microbial treatments, tests, consultations, prayer, tears, strategies new and old.  New pains come and find a way to stay.  There is nothing left to say.  There is nothing left to do but to dwell, I guess.

Even love can be like this I suppose when it hurts so bad and you still can’t seem to shake the pain away.  All you do is focus on the form that you knew or still know that stands in front of you when only a blank slate emptied of your future together remains.  Turn to the left, turn to the right, stand up, sit down, and unlike the cheer song at the football games in 1986, there is no fight!  Fight!  FIGHT!  when love goes away for good.  Oh how I long for the familiarity of the pains I had known long ago.  It would be so much easier to handle than the emptiness of my heart this night.  Yup.  The joy is gone!  Gone!  GONE!

So what’s a middle-aged gal to do in the middle of the night and there is nothing to look up to anymore?  When I have written more words from every angle that my heart can imagine and no new inspiration comes to fill the page, gosh, what will I do?  Not much, really.  Just wait I guess.  Tomorrow is a new day and it will be here before you know it.  Maybe something good will happen, eh?

In the meantime, won’t you hang in there with me?  Here, I have pulled up a chair for you too Gentle Reader.  The Friendly Giant is now known as Immanuel and has a special story to help us end this little time together.  It’s a great read for a bedtime story at any time of the day, I promise.

I do hope you enjoy it.  JJ

Psalm 121

My Goal

 

From Bible teacher Kay Arthur on Facebook yesterday:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:7–8

You are an ambassador for Christ, pointing others away from things which are seen (the temporal) to things which are not seen (the eternal). So take courage, valiant warrior. Fight the good fight of faith, for soon it will be over and you’ll be on the Victor’s side, with the King you represented.

Will you be able to say as Paul I have fought the good fight? Or will you stand ashamed in His presence?

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Thank you Mrs. Arthur.  I will stay in the fight!  JJ

Into the Night

I am finally awake, stable, and coherent all at the same time!  It is now 12:48 a.m.  Such is life.

First snow dec 2009 007

On a good note, I was able to march around outside this evening in my snowshoes for about 30 minutes this evening.  The night air felt bitterly cold yet the sky was clear with all of the stars visible in our Midwestern corner of the world.  I love seeing our German Shepherd, Elle, jump from one snow drift to the other as she chases after my husband and me.  But perhaps my most favorite moment was seeing her waiting for me as she looked into the house from outside on our covered porch.  Steve had taken off cross country skiing in the backyard and pond area.  She usually follows him closely, often pouncing behind him in his tracks when the snow is deep.  Today she knew that I would be headed out with him shortly after he left and there she was:  waiting with her big expectant brown eyes.  Ah the love of one’s pup!

First snow dec 2009 010

Sometimes when I am alone it is hard to feel the love that I know exists in my life.  When I am the sickest each morning this is especially true.  For me it seems that so much of the success of recovering from this time of illness will lie in what I do with the grief of the trauma I have experienced.  For over two years now, I have felt traumatized by the wretched seizure attack episodes that wrench my body with pain, headaches, cognitive changes, ringing in my ears, crying, spontaneous vocalizations, and violent seizing.  For over two months, the episodes last around four hours total per day with the worst ones occurring in the evening.  The sadness can be overwhelming; the disappointment each time they return can be heavily discouraging.  Both can lead to a sense of emptiness that is devoid of love, hope, and meaning.  At some point I recover enough from an attack to get something to eat or drink.  Even eye contact with the lone pet left behind with me when everyone else in my life has gone off to work or some other noble activity can be a mixed blessing:  comforting and protective (yes) yet a pittance for more meaningful human contact.  By the way, where is God?

Yes, I often long for Jesus with skin on at these times.  I am grateful that most recently I have found Him in the caring voice of a friend on the phone and always in the loving embrace of my beloved Steve.  Sometimes I miss picking up the phone and calling my mom.  This desire to connect with her seems stronger the more the years go by since she passed away nearly seven years ago.  I guess it is normal when a person goes through a time of testing or sorrow to desire the comfort and wisdom of a parent no matter what your current age might be.  If my mom were still alive today I think she would want me to keep moving, keep going, keep trying despite the setbacks.  O.K. mom:  will do.  For tonight I’m going to call on the One who sees me whether or not my husband is around, the dog is awake, a friend is home to answer the phone, or my self-soothing words in my heart to my deceased mother means anything.  I’m going to the throne of grace.

My dear friend mentioned Psalm 91 yesterday.  Here are some gems from the Psalm to which those with an anxious heart often turn:

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,     my God, in whom I trust.”

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14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

From Bibleclassics.com I found this little gem of insight into Psalm 91 that spoke to my heart this night:  “Whatever happens, nothing shall hurt the believer; though trouble and affliction  befal, it shall come, not for his hurt, but for good, though for the present it  be not joyous but grievous. Those who rightly know God, will set their love upon  him. They by prayer constantly call upon him. His promise is, that he will in  due time deliver the believer out of trouble, and in the mean time be with him  in trouble. The Lord will manage all his worldly concerns, and preserve his life  on earth, so long as it shall be good for him. For encouragement in this he  looks unto Jesus.”

Yes, thank you Matthew Henry.  I will hold onto the psalmist’s words of comfort inspired by my Lord who sees me on my bed of sickness, who promises He will never leave me or forsake me.  And if it be His will, He will deliver me from my suffering.  Into this night and for the rest of my nights I will ultimately rest in the loving arms of the one who is showing me His goodness despite the darkness.  No matter what the next day might bring I will trust You.  No matter what the next hour may bring I will wait on You. 

No matter what you too may endure Gentle Reader, I hope that you will be encouraged that your sadness or disappointment does not go unnoticed by the Lord who loves you too.  He is worthy of our faith.  And I know if we both but believe in Him, we will be blessed in some special way that will transcend our nights, our days.  In the meantime He will not frustrate us beyond our ability to cope and will provide a way out when overwrought with temptation.  These are promises in His Word and truths by which we can endure all things.  We will never be alone.  His eyes will always be smiling towards us through the looking glass of life.  JJ

The Moments that Define

When you get up and cook for guests before your treatment and post-treatment nap, you know who you are.

When a moment of intimacy is not as much about you but about pleasing the one you love, you have decided how you will be.

The clock means nothing late at night when it’s time to pour out your heart as it comes alive at last.

The Bible app becomes a good reason to keep one’s head buried in that 3 x 4 inch techno time-sapper again.

A can of chicken is your main entrée when the guests dine on carbs and foods that would make your head explode.

All you can do is all you can do then you clean up the kitchen and make your husband’s lunch anyways.

You know that nothing is possible in your own strength and that the Lord is carrying you, sustaining you once again.

Tis then you know the moments that define bring glory to the One who holds your dreams in His heart until you are united again.

woman in despair