I have needed to pull the ol wheelchair out more often these days.
As things have been plugging along, both positive and negative, vomiting has been becoming to the forefront of concern. Which is why the replacement of my gastojejunostomy (G/J) tube uas been decided.
As well as oral intake been discouraged.
Yet with all of this being chucked at me (the loss of my physical strength, the further loss of motility of my who GI tract, the loss of sensation of bladder and bowel...) I remain all the more encouraged. And it isn't because I am stronger than anyone else at all. If I had to rely on my own strength, then this following scenario would have ripped me to shreds:
I'm talking to a friend and she prepares to leave, which is just as well because I had something I needed to take care of. As I transferred into my chair (because my knees have been bucking and walking is exhausting), grabbed what I needed from the medical supply drawer (because I have so much medical crap that a medical supply drawer is necessary) and made my way to the bathroom (to care for a need I never anticipated) I passed by my bicycle.
I have a bicycle in my apartment, because at one point in my life (that wasn't even that terribly long ago) I was able to ride it. I drew joy from taking it to the park and zooming up and down the sloped around the lake. Wind in my hair and at the crack of dawn, no other people to get it my way. I couldn't ride it long, but I had the experience and I expected that one day...ONE DAY...I would again ride.
I felt the gel core seat. Sitting next to it in my wheelchair. With a fresh diaper in my lap.
And I laid my head on that seat.
And I began to weep.
I began to wail.
Finally, full fledged screaming. Just to prove my point, to show who's the boss, I stood up and intended to shove my chair into a wall. But instead, my legs refused to hold my arrogant self up, slamming down right on a nerve.
It knocked the wind out of me, and ended any sound coming from the nightmare place deep within my core.
Like a light summer rain, the tears streamed steadily and silently down my cheeks. I closed my eyes and opened up my heart to a conversation with God.
The shooting pain running up my back had me breathless, and this prayer was my only means of help in this time of trouble. I poured out my heart the millions of tears I had as an offering before Him. An offering that wasn't necessary because He needed it, but because He carries our burdens. He loved me before I even knew Him, and not a thought or complaint or all out brokenness were of surprise to anyone but myself. I had not realized the depth, the weight the I had insisted on carrying: the weight of the new challanges and my new normal.
My new life.
He is the only one who readily has come forward to claim that prize of agony and shame, because He cares so much about me that he wants me to keep gliding forth, and has provided me these wheels of my chair so I can do that. So my condition doesn't have me knocked flat on my ass in desperation.
I made it to my knees, then up to my seat, and rolled along...as if nothing had happened at all.
I gave you a glimpse of what my own strength and wisdom look like of left to my own devices. I can be bull headed, arrogant, and incredibly lacking in virtue. This moving forward, living my own life and Thriving Anyway isn't because I alone can do all these wonderful and brave things. It has nothing to do with my own ability to see the good in all. In fact, quite the contrary, I can be as bitter as so many others.
My willingness to keep going has everything to do with His strength and an answer to a multitude of prayers. Notice how I had mentioned a "conversation" with God? That's all prayer is. It's not is begging and pleading and laying sprawled face down of the floor. That to me is foolishness. Unnecessary.
In that conversation all I had asked if he would help me back up. That was only part of the conversation. In a conversation, the other person speaks as well. God does not speak in an audible fashion. He uses other people, instinctual patterns of dread or of love.
Or sheer bliss.
Anything...or nothing. Until later.
The answers and other direction and His own question of me came forth as I seated on my chair again:
My anger lifted. My self pity lifted, left in its wake just peace as though I had not thrown that fit. To keep moving forward and to keep going not of my own volition, but to hold His hand as I trek and turn through these troubles that come into all of our lives...and that is the essence of the meaning of my own sense of determination.
And finally: is this life -- with these challanges but also with my God -- good enough?
The answer to that question is this post you are reading right now.
I may never be able to do some of the things in this life I so badly wanted to do. "One day" may never come to pass. I may never be able to hop off the carousel of the rises and dips in this life of rolling with the punches of life with chronic illness.
But I can still have A LIFE. And I daresay I may like the way my life is now may be better than the idea of the life I wanted to lead.
But I will tell you this: wondering "what if..." will simply drive a person into the depths of madness.
When I get knocked down, I am helped back up. I draw my inner strength from God...my God isn't a person, myself, the doctors and therapists, the drugs or the doubts.
He is the One up above. And He is the reason that these wheels, with a cushioned seat and backrest, tires that need more air or total replacement -- and not the one next to me with the peddles and gear shifts -- are truly good enough.
In fact, for me in this life, are a generous gift.
And when I ask you to hold my hand as well and follow me through this adventure, you no longer have to wonder how a person can take so much yet still give.
"Not my will, but thy will be done."