There has been precious little sharing of “wisdom” on this blog of late. In some seasons there seems to be a real deficit of wise thoughts. And this, I realize, is just life.
We’ve had a roller coaster ride over here, but nothing we can’t handle (although some days it truly feels that way). Compared to the adversities, illnesses, and difficulties that so many others face, we are truly blessed. Moving is a stressful thing, but we get to choose to do this. No one is forcing us. Launching kids into the world is stressful. We only want the best for them, but sometimes they don’t get that at 22. We need to remain grateful for the completion of another chapter, another milestone of graduation. In the right timing, the right job will come along. And, sometimes, our love needs to get a little “tough.”
I don’t for one moment want to “accept” illness or maladies or difficulties. No one does. I’ll do all in my power to stay well. But I feel blessed that somewhere deep down I know there’s some purpose for this all, a purpose I may never fully understand. God has got me, in the good and the bad. The specialist has rendered his diagnosis, and as things stand now I’m only seemingly at the beginning stages of some auto-immune condition, whether RA or lupus. Herbal remedies have helped the pain; I firmly believe prayer has too, and I told the doctor as much. Not much has changed in my day-to-day. I get occasional painful flares, and it is very scary to never know exactly when or where (or why) this is going to hit, but thus far, the pain doesn’t stick around long. So I stay as active and healthy as I can. Daily yoga. Trying to eat right (but in the midst of a move that’s not always easy, as the kitchen is pretty much packed away).
A variety of other minor health nuisances have been plaguing me– a rare disorder called interstitial cystitis, which mimics an UTI but without infection. No known cause or remedy. 15 years ago I dealt with this. Not fun, but it “went away” once, and I pray it will again. Of course stress may play a role. Major sciatic issues have continued for a year now. I’ve tried all the traditional therapies, and now it’s acupuncture. So far, it’s had little affect, with just one more session to go. Praying that’ll be the one!
SJ handled his father’s passing with grace and dignity. He’s been a model son to his mom. We all are sad, but sanguine about this passing, realizing it was a life well-led, a race well-run, and beautiful memories. Our daughter remarked to me one day when we were out to eat, in response to SJ asking if he could get me a refill of water… “Mom, you know Dad is really nice, not many guys do that…” I smiled and agreed with her, saying, “I know, he is wonderful. And I’m so grateful you girls had that model in your Dad, so that you know how you should be respected and treated.”
Yet stress can challenge even the strongest of marriages. We are still hobbling along to be at our best during adversity here. There are some difficult moments, some moments of wondering if we can manage to keep things intact as we careen along a very, very bumpy path right now. SJ’s tendency to “cave” or “hermit” when he’s stressed has the result of leaving me feeling bereft and shut out. When I’m stressed, I can grow impatient and shrewish. We begin to repel like the magnets on our son’s toy train set used to do when the cars weren’t lined up in the same direction. There’s usually a blow-out, a heart-to-heart, some drama (from me 🙂 ) and even a scratching of our heads about how we ever ended up together. We thus far end up coming back to realizing that a) in spite of it all, we’ve made it this far; b) we are tremendously blessed; c) we must not take anything (or each other) for granted; d) we tend to do so much better when he’s leading strongly and I’m supporting unflinchingly and fearlessly; and e) we still have so much to work on.
Marriage is hard work.
I’m not here to complain though. I’m here to consider my blessings. I wake up each morning with all my senses intact, and when I stir, usually SJ is there to pull me into his arms for a morning cuddle, a habit that’s grown only over the past 4 years for us. A brief time of connection before we need to start our busy day. An understanding man who doesn’t prevail upon me when I’m not feeling well (but that has its difficulties too). I can get out of bed, plant my feet on the floor, one step before the other, and 98% of the time can get to to the gym and do an hour+ of yoga, pilates, and/or barre. All in all I remain strong. I try to be careful, but there have been many boxes toted over these weeks and 1/4 of the move completed. I’ve been able to do all this in spite of my health issues. SJ is protective, and tries to shoulder most of the heavy lifting. I am truly blessed, but praying for protection in the next 3/4 of this move (there’s a piano and a UHaul involved…).
This challenging time has been a wake up-call of sorts. I know that perhaps my healthiest days are slowly coming to a close. No, I’m not ready for a wheelchair, but I’m not up for a marathon either. The time of being strong and independent also may be shortening. I may only have another 5, 10… or maybe 20 years to tie on those hiking boots and put in a 6-7 mile day exploring a new corner of the globe. I may have only a few more seasons of skiing the gentle greens and blues and just appreciating the splendor of a wintry mountain. I’m going to just keep getting up every morning and doing the best I can, appreciating every moment I have now, in this moment.
To be in the moment, relishing all the good, that’s were we need to be. Seeing our kids sitting around a table with us and knowing we have some good ones, that despite all the challenges and our foibles, we ended up with good kids, young adults who are going out into the world to be a blessing to others. SJ and I have each other, have made it through better and worse, and no doubt have more of the same ahead. We can do this, we can continue to get better at this marriage thing! It’s not a time to worry about what happened in the past, or what will happen tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. God knows what we need, when we need it, and all we have to do is seek Him, His kingdom, and his righteousness.
And I need to believe and trust that my husband is working fully under that authority.