Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Rest Can Go Undone

Pounds. Gallons. Miles per Gallon. Miles per Hour. Hours...
 We have ways of measuring things as intangible as wind, speed, and time, but how does one go about scientifically measuring love? Until recently I would have told you that there is no accurate measurement, but now I know that there is: Tupperware.

I know this because I have had about 9 billion units of this measurable form of love pass through my kitchen over the last few months.

I've been sick-- on-and-off since the Fall, but really noticeably unable-to-function sick since about February. We don't know why. After countless doctor's offices and blood tests, we still don't really have any leads.

I'm weak:
  • my immune system: I had a cold that landed me in the E.R. and left me in bed for 3wks
  • my muscles, which buckle under me constantly and leave me unable to pick up my baby or sometimes even stand
  • my stamina: I spend about half of the day in bed and can't leave the house for more than an hour or two without really paying for it later
  • my mind: I am often so dizzy I can't drive, and my mind is usually in a fog that makes me frighteningly (often comically!) forgetful
But one thing I have in abundance is love: love in the form of meals delivered by friends (sometimes even strangers!!); love from friends, family and students who care for our kiddos when I cannot; love in the form of prayers, emails, texts, cards, folded laundry, cleaned bathrooms, grocery store runs, mini-van chauffeur services... The list goes on and on.

It has been an interesting season, learning to receive so much from others, learning how to ask for help, learning how to be still and do nothing. I have not been the most graceful learner, but I am learning nonetheless.

What a strange thing it is to feel so loved and so lonely at the same time. Most weeks, the only time I leave the house is to go to the doctor. There are times when friends come by to help or to bring dinner, and I have to stay in bed while Chris graciously receives and thanks them. Other times I push through my symptoms and have the joy (oh the joy!!) of being around friends, around our students, out in nature. I pay for it later-- sometimes for weeks-- but it is so worth it to be with you, to feel like myself.

There has been such a mixture of gratitude and frustration. Stillness, silence and solitude are things I ached for six months ago, but a doer and a planner like myself can go crazy pretty quickly lying in a dark, low-ceilinged in-law bedroom in the garage while listening to life go on upstairs without her. But then the gratitude--
  • for friends who drive all the way across town to bring a meal (whether it's mac and cheese from a box or made-from-scratch ramen)
  • for amazing health care and brilliant doctors
  • for family members who drop everything and drive hundreds of miles (or even fly across the country!) to "sleep" in the same room as my teething baby
  • for a husband who graciously takes on my job, cares for our kids, drives me to doctors appointments, and drops everything when I need him (seriously, I can't say enough about how incredible he has been)
  • for a job that allows me to focus on my health, rather than demands performance
  • for a backyard that allows me to get my vitamin D and play with my kids while I'm still in my PJ's
  • for millions and millions of other little things like strangers who pray for me regularly, or Curious George, who entertains my toddler for hours while I nap, or Amazon that brings shampoo to my doorstep so I don't have to leave the house :)
And I am thankful that this doesn't seem to be anything life-threatening. Every time I get a negative test result back, I am disappointed that we still don't know what's wrong, but so grateful that it isn't all the awful things I have been tested for. My organs seem to be working, my blood work looks pretty good, I am not in any pain, and my hair has never looked better ;) There are people in this world who are truly sick, truly suffering, and I am so, so grateful for all that I have.

So I wait here in the tension-- being so grateful and so very tired of feeling this way; feeling loved and extremely lonely; learning to receive and learning to be without doing; learning that there are a few things in life-- putting my kids to bed, holding them when they cry, lying next to my husband late at night-- that no one else can really do. The rest can go undone. The house can be a mess, the laundry can stay unfolded, dinner can be delivered, makeup can be left undone, even ministry can go on without me. And through it all, I am still loved-- overwhelmingly loved, just as I am. Without any of the performing, earning or striving that feels so necessary.
It's enough to bring tears to my eyes. Maybe it already has...

Thank You, my friends, my family, my loved ones. Thank You...