Matthew 5:14-16

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." ~Matthew 5:14-16

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Updates n' such.

Oct. 25, Tuesday: Battle in the mind:

My day off. It’s a crisp sort of morning. Everything outside is beginning to unthaw from frost sheaves. The Fall colors; bright yellows and ambers and browns against the contrasting deep blue sky have my fingers itching for my camera. It’s quite beautiful. I’ve just sat down, having completed tending to the chickens, and I wait for the kettle to heat up so I can have some earl grey tea. Speaking of, there it whistles!

….mmm, okay, I’m back. This morning hasn’t been all fluff and roses, I just don’t like starting off on a negative foot. I like to look back at all that I’ve written and see the beautiful moments (not that I am an optimist, I am not. I’m a realist). But sometimes, I’ve learned, the most beautiful moments are hidden under the weight of trials. The flower breaking out from its seed and struggling up through the soil, up toward the sunlight. Breaking through the surface, and as the sun warms it, it opens. …and it is beautiful, isn’t it?

I had a rough morning, a rough last night, lol, a rough week. I woke up right where I left off from the night before: slicked in sweat and shivering cold, my stomach protesting how upset it was at me, and *closes eyes* nausea.

I laid in bed for a while, thinking about how I agreed yesterday to chat with my friend, Paul. But, I’d felt terrible and laid the whole evening and night away, curled in a ball with my headphones on, eyes closed and listening to my daddy play his guitar (daddy had sent me a few to soothe me and it was as he intended; it helped). I felt badly that I never texted Paul to simply tell him I wasn’t feeling so grand. I didn’t tell our neighbor either, pressing myself against the cool wall and trying to remain interested in what she was saying. I care about my friends and family and I want to show that I do. I tried hard, but I still felt distant, removed, and longed to just curl into a ball and sleep it off.

I snatched my phone and texted my apology to Paul. I went on to think about how I made a promise to my parents to clean and tidy my closet and room on my day off. I looked about my room (which isn’t messy, it just needs to be gone through and throw away what I don’t need) and then I cried. I didn’t feel good, I knew I wasn’t up to cleaning, but I did not want to break my promise above all. But I knew I couldn’t do it.

I stared at my closet door and wiped my eyes. No. I wasn’t going to break my promise. I just wasn’t! I stood up and marched over to the mirrored door and rested my hand on it to begin, then I noticed, staring back at me wasn’t tear marks dribbling down my nose. It was blood. It started to gush and no sooner did I realize that than I covered it and raced to the bathroom, my thoughts disarrayed. Thoughts slammed up against me with no other intention than to hurt me, and they did. You are so weak. You are frail. You are worthless and lazy and care only about yourself. I snatched wads of toilet paper and then, in the dark, sat down atop my bathroom counter, peering down into the sink. Worthless. Good for nothing. Frail. Selfish. Lazy. Weak… pounding relentlessly. I blinked away tears, crying but trying hard not to. Think, I told myself. Think around it. But it was so heavy and so hurtful. I just wanted to cry openly, but I couldn’t because I knew I needed the blood to clot. 

Oh help, I prayed, then I texted two of my pals. My thoughts shouted back up at me from the texting block. “I am a frail person.” I closed my eyes. No, I told me. Think anywhere else. Think up some Scripture. I couldn’t bring any to mind. I have a memory verse card holder in my bathroom that has a verse per week to look at. I turned my head to glimpse it, I knew what I would find for this week, I’d read it for the past few days. I read it anyways, just to have something to visually grab onto. Adversity: Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” I closed my eyes and just sat, hunched there. The phone rang, startling me. It was mom. I chatted with her and let her know I was in the middle of another bloody nose. Text messages came through, but I couldn’t look at them while speaking with her. She stayed on the line until the bleeding stopped. Thankfully, it was short-lived, lasting only six minutes. The text messages were my pals telling me they were praying. 

I decided not to do my closet today, instead choosing to relax and take it easy. This makes it so my friends don’t have to come over and tie me down with rope. :P Being I feel the need to be productive but I am relaxing, I figured to update my blog.

Oct.20, Thursday: Trusting

I woke up with a terrible thought. I remembered what a lady (a guest at work) told me about I.T.P. and how it hindered and could stop pregnancy, especially - killing the mother. This news, of course alarmed me. I didn’t know it did that and she was saying it did. So patients with I.T.P. couldn’t bear children? She said sadly that it was the case. (-This I now know is NOT true.) I was heartbroken. She’d asked if I was pregnant, but I had told her I wasn’t. She told me I should notify my husband of the danger to myself, but that didn’t concern me because I’m not married. Then the boyfriend, she said. But I haven’t one of those either. “I’m waiting for God to bring him to me.” She had rolled her eyes at that.

The conversation came to mind because I firmly believe that raising God-fearing children is the lasting legacy I desire to leave behind. Nothing would bring me sweeter pleasure than to teach my own to look to the Lord for their strength, to find peace in His love, and rescuing security in His arms. And oh what a thrill it would bring me to have them worshipping Him too! Six am in the morning, alone by myself, I struggled with finding resolve to press away from the memory of her words but it was too overwhelming. I knew where this fear came from. I had clamped my mouth shut because there was one word my flesh was longing to say, and I would not dare utter it: It’s not fair. God is not being fair.
I didn’t want to accept that lie, no matter how hard it echoed around in my head.

I texted two of my best-friends, seeking not for encouragement but for prayer-support. “The enemy is trying to make me fear, amica (Latin for “my friend”). I am resolved to plug my ears, to not hear the what ifs. God is good, He loves me so, and if this is where I must tread, I love Him still. Still the thoughts upon my mind make me cry because I was told if my case is chronic, it may affect having children and for my hubby when he comes, amica, I want to give him that joy. I cry at this possibility of “what if” but inwardly I know my God, I know His heart, His character is True. I remind myself He is the One who works great wonders and what mortal man can ever hope to comprehend that sort of love? I will not fear this! I am not afraid of this cruel shadow because inside my heart is my Joy and my Light; He is everpresent. I press my fears into His Mighty palms, my hope is in the Lord, not in me, to pull me thru.) Pray for me, chica. Thank u.” 

What I received was not what I had expected at all. It was Paul! He’d received that message somehow, perhaps a slip of my thumb or some way, I don’t know how. It certainly wasn’t meant for his eyes. I wiped at my tears and tried to wrap my mind around how this fluke in sending had happened. It had sent to Hannah and Rissa, which was good -I had intended for that to happen. But, I didn’t mean for him to get it! What did I touch? How’d he get this? “No,” I cried out. My message had deleted as I scrolled through hurriedly to make room for his text messages to enter. I felt very frustrated at technology and my lack of knowledge about it. Finally I opened Paul’s text. He told me he was praying for me when my message came. It occurred to me: God knew what I needed before I asked my ‘amicas’ for prayer. Someone had been praying. (And Paul: I am sorry I called you a girl, I will likely never live that one down. :P )

Paul set my mind straight by what he said. My husband, wherever he was, would love me no matter if I could bear a child or not. I would be a treasure to my husband regardless because he would love me. And there was another option for those families who couldn’t have children -to adopt them. I’d always known whoever my husband would be; he would love me for me, not for what I could provide. I wanted to text him back in thanks, his words were truly spoken. However, my fingers quivered, my eyes were unfocused with unshed tears….and then I was undone. In a matter of seconds, I had curled into a ball, hand clenched on the cellphone, and I cried. Heart-wrenched, torn, noisy and yet without intelligent words; just the sound of my voice behind clenched teeth as I fought to compose what little of me I had at the moment. There wasn’t any strength in me though, so it came out. It was honestly the most horrible sound I’ve ever heard in my life. I’ve never heard a cry quite like that one and I surprised myself that I had made it. I knew the name of that cry and I had read about it in books. Its name was pain.

I could hear Genny (my puppy) come up and she rested her head on the bed, nuzzling me in the shoulder and whimpering softly. Inspired by her concern over me, I felt Tuxedo (my cat) pad up to my front and he flopped beside my curled fist. Purring, he began bathing my fingers. You know, animals know when you are hurting. If that’s not proof, I don’t know what is.

I wanted God to be pleased with me but I was so unhappy because of the possibility (it wasn’t even a fact, and it was with wrong information) that I couldn’t bear children. I thought about the cute little pact I’d made with Hannah: That she have a little boy and by the time my husband comes I’d have a girl, then we’d introduce them nice and young. They’d grow up knowing each other and then get married. Wellah! We’d be family! The inlaws – dundundun! The scheme was a master-mind plan, we were sure of it. Although it was only good joking, this thought hurt too.

I felt ungrateful, a wretch, longing for what I wasn’t given. This only caused me to sob harder. I wanted to honor God so badly, with all that was in me. The thought of not hearing the pitter-patter of barefeet down the hallway, the unstoppable giggles at bedtime while tucking them in, teaching them to sing “Jesus loves me this I know…” ….it stung terribly. Daddy help, please Daddy help, I huffed. I’ve never been here before. I don’t understand. I’m alone but I’m not. You are always here.

I clutched my pillow and tried to stifle my sobs with it so I could think straight. If not having children is Your will for me, I accept that. It’s just…oh Daddy it’s hard! I would love to honor my future husband with bearing children to carry on his name, I would love to teach them Your ways. God, why can’t I bring my flesh to understand what my spirit knows? You are in control of all things, even this. You are more than fair to me, make this lie about You being unfair to go away! I swiped my tears. Help me to understand. This is our journey together, You and I. Wherever You lead, that’s where I’m going.
My flesh was quick to object to the concept of this possible path, but my heart was pre-decided. It doesn’t matter to me what path or how dark or how painful or nothing! You are guiding me through this valley and I am going wherever You go; I am going to follow. I love You that much. With that, I sat to the edge of my bed and wiped the remainder of my tears away. I was going to make it through this battle too. Not because of my strength, but His strength alone.

Oct. 21, Friday: Touching a life

I have been learning what it is like to deal with hot flashes. It is, as I’ve told my pals, everything that elderly ladies say it is: It’s really not any fun. I like my clothes dry and when it hits, I become a furnace of heat and I get sweaty. Ighk! Then I shiver, ice cold. Burrr! I have been cooking (I love working with food!) and am often hovering over the fryers or near the oven or leaning into the hot cases. It is very difficult to remain there and do my task with the sweltering heat, but I am committed to doing as great of a job as I can manage.

I am grateful for such compassionate coworkers. I will never forget their kind acts. This day was particularly difficult. My face flushed and instantly a bag was thrust into my hands by a fellow coworker wearing a knowing sort of smile. “Take that into the freezer.” Far grateful for the task of putting away the object, I went quickly. The cold, icy air whipped on my face and I thanked God for merciful coworkers. I stood, resting up against the icy shelving unit and boxes, praying for endurance. To tolerate this awful feeling, and for strength to keep going so I could make it to the end of the day. The last thing I ever want to do is hinder my coworkers. I am committed to be a team-player, to make the quality of their day the best day, just as I want for all my guests.

Lunch rush hit and we were slammed with orders for chicken, and fritters, and mac and cheese. I hurried about to drop the chicken and keep the cases nice and stuffed. A lady came to the counter. She gave a faint smile and asked prices on chicken pieces. She looked so tired and worn. I felt compassion for her, her day must have been rough and it was only noon. I tried to slow my rapid-paced mind down; she was my most important focus right now. She would have my full attention. Everything else faded to background noises. Her hubby had just been through surgery and she’d driven a whole 45 minutes because he wanted our fried chicken! I smiled, then said something dumb, “If it would help, I’ll be praying for you.” She sighed longingly, “I would love that.”

I could have slapped my forehead, I fixed my error, “Prayer does help; I’m going to pray for you.” I asked her husband’s name and wrote the prayer info on a paper towel scrap for later, shoving it in my back pocket. Encourage her, I kept thinking. Then: No no, she’s busy, I’m busy, there’s no time. I handed her the baggy of chicken pieces and she left. My heart felt ripped. Oh! Why didn’t I tell her? I had encouragement and she needed it, I just knew she did. It would only take a second to jot down my blog address and then my story could speak for itself and encourage her, just as I’d recently read in 2 Corinthians 1:4. I saw her briefly, but I was stopped and asked a question by a guest. I answered their question and then served them. By the time I looked back up, she was nowhere to be found. I felt horrible. I had botched it and I knew I did. Oh God, please bring her back. I made a mistake, I know it. You brought her all the way here and I…I messed up. It wouldn’t have taken long for me to scribble my site address on a napkin and pass it to her, but I’d used the excuse of “I’m busy,” coupling it with the worst excuse in the book, “there is no time.” I am so sorry.

I continued to do my job, trying not to think about how I had messed up, trying to move on. An hour later, there was an order call on our phone. Five chicken breasts, 4 fried, 1 baked. I recognized her voice. Somehow, her order had never made it home with her although she’d paid for it. She was coming all the way back. I glanced up at the clock. I’d be off-work by the time she got here, and I also knew I’d be sitting in the fireside area to catch my breath before driving home. That had been pre-planned for me. I’d been longing for the moment where I could sit down, rest, and have a cool glass of water. 

The end of my shift came and I sat down with my water, it was a sweet relief. I nursed my water and glanced every now and again at the cooking channel, mainly speaking to a sweet-mannered lady at the next table across from me. We talked about Thanksgiving suppers, cooking and all the warm pleasantness of being with family, among all the memorable chaos that somehow always happens. :P 

I glanced up at the clock, realizing it’d been longer than I’d thought. The guest had come and left without my knowledge. I grasped the paper towel with my site address and tried to run although my stomach did not like that. I couldn’t find her in the parking lot. I couldn’t recall what she looked like. I slowed to a walk and stopped near the flag pole, looking up at the sky. I felt rain dribble on my face but I didn’t care. Tears came to my eyes and I crumpled the paper in my hands. God, I said, dejected. I tried… I tried…
A car engine from behind startled me. I moved aside, glancing at it. A woman looked at me in concern and asked if everything was okay. I told her it was, and then I recognized her and she recognized me. “Hi, are you the guest who ordered the fried chicken?” A silly question, I know, but I was double-checking. She nodded, asking me if I needed a ride somewhere. She kept asking if I was okay. I must look pretty awful, I decided. I pointed to my car, thanking her but I had a ride. “I wanted to give you this.” I said, uncrumpling the paper and handing it to her. “I wanted to give it to you, but I…didn’t.” I told her how I’d prayed God would bring her back so I could encourage her and her husband. “Then your prayer brought me back a whole 45 minutes,” she laughed then after a pause, she looked up at me. “Thank you.” I saw tears in her eyes and I wanted to cry too. It was beautiful to me.

“God provides.” I told her. “He always has, always will.” Her eyes did water up, “You are an angel…” I blinked, taken back, “Oh I am no angel ma’am. I am only a servant, God’s servant, and I want to do His will.” Her expression had me wanting to lean in and give her a hug. She looked like she could use one. I wondered if I should, but I wasn’t sure how to go about giving the hug being she was in the car and I was standing. To lean over like that would make me very nauseous and that wouldn’t be pleasant for either of us if my stomach decided to let go. I decided on a smile instead. “Thank you,” She looked back up at me. “You have encouraged me. You are my angel today because God has sent you. I needed this.” She touched my heart with what she said. We smiled at each other and I told her I’d be praying for her and for her husband, then we parted ways. I watched her tail-lights as she drove out of the parking lot, praying that she would find encouragement from my current trial. 

God, you have amazed me, I told Him, and then I wandered to my car. I eased inside and sat. And sat. Then I cried. Why choose me? I cried in my thoughts, and then blubbered, leaning my head on my steering wheel. Who am I? I’m only a vessel of clay. Yet, You are working amazing things through my pain, through this trial. I can’t understand; it’s too big, too grand. I prayed for the guest and her husband, then drove home.

Oct. 22, Saturday: Faithfulness:

My stomach had been upset the whole day, and it gave me no rest. Gurgling, bubbling, very angry. Breakfast was hard to eat and I had to concentrate hard on the knowledge that I needed the fuel, that I needed to eat. I swallowed the food and my stomach protested, resulting in feeling awful. I prayed for the day to be over quickly, but it went on second by second, minute by minute, just as it always does. Then my work day was finished. I wandered to my car and sat in it for a bit, praying before resting my fingers around the steering wheel. I just wanted to go home, I wanted to cry. My stomach was hurting, I did not feel good. I did not like these hot flashes. I wanted to go home now. 

I drove home, concentrating on the fixed prize: Bed, lay down. I turned up the worship music in my car to focus on that instead of the pain inside of me. I want to be at home now, I said, informing God of what He already knew I wanted. I didn’t want to be driving, I wanted to be curled in a ball with warm covers. Hot tea; the soothing hot liquid to stop the lava-feeling in my stomach, and to ease the nausea. Yes, that’s what I wanted. There was so much pain inside of me. I turned up the speed on my wiper-blades. Then I watched it appear. 

A rainbow streaked across the highway in a brilliant arc of color. I breathed in awed delight. I love rainbows. I seek for them when the sun begins to shine through the rain. It was so beautiful, so vibrant, so amazing!

In a second, I’d nearly forgotten all my pain, although I knew it roared in my stomach all the same. That’s what’s going to be over Your throne…Faithfulness, that’s what it represents, that You are Faithful. A song popped to mind, “Great is Thy faithfulness.” My heart knew the song by memory, and so it sang… Great is Thy faithfulness. Great is Thy faithfulness. Morning by morning, new mercies I see. All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me. Great is Thy faithfulness, oh God my Father. There is no shadow of turning with Thee. Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not. As thou hast been, Thou forever will be. Summer and winter and springtime and harvest. Sun, moon, and stars in their courses up above, join with all nature in manifold witness. To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning, new mercies I see. All I have needed, Thy hand hath always provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide. Your strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow. Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside. 

….I lurched for my cellphone. I wanted a picture. I doubted anyone would believe I’d seen such a beautiful treasure. Not at this moment in my life, anyway. I pulled over and clicked the picture. It did not look near as beautiful as it did in person, but I still sent it to my friends. I watched it begin to fade as the rain poured. So beautiful… Then I drove the rest of the way home, laid down, and crashed.

Oct.26, Wednesday: God provides for our needs:

A particularly bad day. I woke up from a sound sleep with a dry heaving motion that caused me to double up. My stomach was in the worst pain it had yet been in. It made the other days look like it was less pain. I was crying and I wasn’t trying to, my eyes were watering so badly. The pain in my stomach was fierce. I needed relief. I supposed I just had to go to the bathroom, so I went there but that wasn’t the cure. I decided I needed something soothing and hot tea sounded good. I waddled down the stairs and turned on the burner for the kettle. Instantly I realized I wasn’t done with the restroom. I bolted back up the stairs as quick as I could, my stomach raging at the quickness of my movements but I felt I had no choice.

Long story condensed: I found out I was bleeding, something I knew the doctors had told me to watch for. My instant reaction was to begin shaking and quivering. I paced the house aimlessly, sat on the couch, got up and paced more. Was this anxiety? I tried to still myself. No, no, don’t be anxious. I told myself. God’s still in control. You must think through this, I fought my fear to think straight. Should I call someone? Whom? I sat on the couch for a moment. What if I imagined that I saw blood? My stomach curled at the memory as I recalled it. No, it was blood. I felt very ill. There was blood upstairs…my blood. My nausea increased. I stood up and paced the kitchen. Perhaps I should eat something? No, I should call someone! Duh! “If you have any questions, call me.” I remembered my aunt had told me. I called my aunt. She eased my mind and told me what I knew: I needed to inform my doctor, and I needed to be calm. 

So, I passed my fear over to God for Him to handle, then I made the call to the doctor. I wager I didn’t make much sense, babbling that I’d seen blood and it worried me being they’d told me it might happen and might had just happened to me. They told me they wanted to see me at 1:30pm, so I agreed to the appointment. I heated up a breakfast muffin with sausage and egg and tried to eat it. My body, to my frustration, kept trying to not swallow, to not eat, and to gag it back up. It didn’t want food, but I knew I was hungry. I also have been struggling with keeping my weight up, so food is important. I fought with myself and forced it down, then felt miserable for it. Until the time for the appointment came, I laid on the couch in a ball, dozed in and out of sleep, and texted my pals. I thought about working on my blog or one of my books, but I couldn’t focus – my stomach hurt so bad it was unbelievably painful. I wondered if I was bleeding internally, but I didn’t dwell on it. It wouldn’t have been good for me. I turned on my worship music and curled up in a ball with my headphones, closing my eyes and listening. Every now and again, bringing my finger up to tap a one-fingered text to my pals when they texted me.

The appointment came and I was told I had the option to lay down. Great! I curled up. “That’s how she is when she gets home,” mom pointed out to the doctor. He asked us both questions, mom doing most of the responding while I laid there, hurting. Then he asked me to stretch out so he could see something. He prodded my stomach a little bit, which really hurt. One spot had me taste bile in the back of my throat, and a few more prods off to the side – ouch

He asked me a slew of questions as he went, then he sighed. “I have never seen anyone so sensitive to Prednisone before but your stomach is very irritated with it. We’re dropping it from 60 to 20. And I’m putting in a prescription for Sucralfate to coat your stomach and protect it. Don’t be surprised to continue seeing the blood for a little while, but that should go away. If it doesn’t, call us and make an appointment. I’m scheduling you for an appointment in two weeks. Also, on Friday, I’d like you to go down for some blood-work and we’ll see if your platelets go down or up due to the drop in the medication. Prednisone is the best medication for this, the only other kind to put you on is other steroids.” I nodded. 

I’d done some research at home and Prednisone was proven. I wasn’t too sure about other steroids either and I hope I don’t have to go down that path. I’d rather be on a well-worn path that was proven, but at what cost to my stomach lining? Another worry to let God handle. He had guided me this far, He’d guide me through the rest of the way too. I was certain of that. I just had to go willingly one step at a time, trusting Him. I don’t know where this is going, but He does. He knows where He is leading me through all of this, even though I do not. This is called faith. To trust in what cannot be seen, knowing that God has control over it all, and He will work it out for good. Hand in hand, I’ll go through this trial with Him too. It won’t make me weary or break me. I know that because the Bible said: “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will rise up on wings like eagles. They will run and not be weary. They will walk and not faint.” Oh God, teach me to wait.

Went to the store to pick up my prescription. I was hoping to go unseen. Slip in and slip out so I wasn’t asked if I wasn’t feeling good. It was certainly noticeable in my walk, although I tried to draw up so no one could tell. Phony! Everyone could tell I didn’t feel good, and they cast concerned smiles at me. I got my meds, checked out and then started for the door. Then I recalled a promise. The other night, I was having one of my hot flashes and so dad got up and served me some Chocolate Bourdoux Cherry ice cream. I am not a big fan of cherry flavored things for the reason that as a child, medication was grape or cherry flavored, so it all reminds me of…medicine. XP

I took it gratefully. He got mom one too, but he didn’t have any. I asked and he said because I was a piggy and had hogged it so there was none left. He is so generous! He gave me something he really wanted because I was uncomfortably hot and the cold ice cream was a delicious relief. I promised myself that the next time I was at the store, why, I’d get him a private stash to honor his gift to me. I walked up to the counter with the ice cream and my coworker immediately took notice as my face flushed. She came around the counter and wrapped me in a hug. I closed my eyes, I had so needed a good hug, “Thank you.” She told me she would be praying for me and I thanked her again and gave her a hug. A few customers stood back as they looked at me, unsure what to make of the situation I am sure. They probably thought I had a cold due to the fact that I had a pharmacy baggy in one hand and cold ice cream in the other…and telling my coworker that I was hot and sweaty as a warning before she hugged me. Perhaps they thought I had the flu? I speculate that was the case…

Got home and curled in a ball on the couch, my headphones on and listening in the dark livingroom to smooth classical music. Then it occurred to me in a panic: Tonight was Bible study at church! I hadn’t made dinner, hadn’t considered it at all! It was 4pm. I had time. I stood up reluctantly and made for the stairs to the freezer. I stopped at the top as the stairs seemed to wobble and shift beneath my foot as I put it out to descend; I was dizzy. I turned around and paced the kitchen. Was there an easier way? I went back to the top of the stairs and then shook my head. No, no. I checked the fridge aimlessly, not really looking for anything. I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t want to cook. I wanted to lay down. I felt awfully crummy. But mom and dad, they hadn’t had dinner and they would be hungry. By the time they got home, there would be no time for them to fix dinner before study. I was torn. I went back to the stairs and gripped the hand rail. I’d get down those darned stairs if it killed me! I took one step and then stopped. I started crying. I realized I couldn’t do it. I felt helpless. I sat down on the couch, wiped my tears and then laid down. I continued aim-ing with Paul. He offered to bring me supper.

I cried quietly, feeling them streaming down my cheek as I peered sideways up at the laptop screen, one finger typing. That would be wonderful. He asked what I’d like, where, what kind, narrowing down the field. Done. KFC for supper. I felt…relief: Supper was provided. I wished for a good hug. Genny brought me her red pillow and nosed it up to me to take. I cuddled it and cried some more. Grateful for good pals.

I realized then that he’d be showing up at my doorstep with supper. He’d not see me like this, curled up in a ball as I was. My hair was askew and unbrushed. The house needed a good and quick tidy. Someone was coming over, after all. I fought myself to move, but I only felt pain. I considered the condition of the livingroom and kitchen. Well, perhaps those I could let slide. He knew I wasn’t feeling good. But I should turn on some lights so it wasn’t dark in here. I should get up, brush my hair, wash off the tearstains from my cheeks, and make myself presentable. Was it worth it? I mused. Making it appear that I wasn’t as in pain as I was? Wouldn’t that be lying? Yeah, it would be lying, I decided. Still, I wanted to look more put together. I went to sit up and try, but the nausea and dizziness kept me down now. I cried openly, upset at this ‘disaster.’ It wasn’t fair. He was coming and he’d find me stuck to the couch, helpless…wait, that wasn’t good thinking. I had to re-evaluate my thoughts. He was coming with supper because I was hurting and couldn’t do it. He was coming to help me. He knew I was hurting. It would still feel humbling to have him see me curled up like this. So…I cried about that. Then I turned to crying about the irritation in my stomach. I texted mom to tell her supper was provided for. 

I am so alone. I just want a friend here. I was thinking. Someone to please talk to. Then I realized I had a great friend with me, who always listened, who was always there. So I turned to praying. I admit, I lost track of time. I may have dozed off, I’m not sure. If I did, I continued praying where I left off when I woke up again. There was a knock at the door and it startled me. I laid there for a second, realizing foggily that the front door was locked. He couldn’t come in unless I got up and opened that door. I stood up and wiped at my tears. I didn’t want him knowing I’d been crying, but that was just plain silly: I had tearstains down both cheeks, testifying against me that I had been. My eyes were probably all red too, more evidence to the fact. The doorknob, cold from the Fall weather, was stuck tight. I fought it. It just had to open! I wasn’t about to shout through the door, “Its stuck! I can’t get it. Can you?” It didn’t sit right with me. I might be feeling terrible, but this door was going to open. I clasped it tight in both hands and wrenched it with a thick turn. *Click!* It opened. Relief flooded me. Good

I let him in and tried not to share eye-contact at first. What if he saw the pain inside of them? Wouldn’t that hurt to know he couldn’t do anything to ease it? It hurt my other pals to see it. I dismissed the notion: He could pray. Not making eye-contact would be rude of me after so nice an act as he had done. It was selfless really, and out of his way. I hoped that the piece of Scripture would be said of this case to him: “I was sick, and you visited me.” He had provided for an immediate need to his sister in Christ. I was so grateful for the supper and I thanked him. He set the bag down on the kitchen counter and then he wandered back toward the door. He saw my pain all right, I could tell he did. I wished he wouldn’t go, but no one else was home. I swallowed the words that I’m sure would have had him gladly flip on the lightswitch and sit on the couch until my parents got home. I needed to be upright first; above reproach. I didn’t want to be alone though. I reminded myself that I really wasn’t alone; I hadn’t been since I was five. Once I’d reminded me of this fact, then I was okay with my pal going out the door.

He stopped at his car. “You are surrounded by lots of people who care about you, we are all praying for you,” he encouraged me. My vision blurred up, but I put that under control. I wasn’t about to start crying. “Thank you.” I responded, beginning to close the door, then I swung it back open. “God bless you, Paul!” He smiled, told me his usual goodbye and added that he was praying, and he left. I heard him drive away, then I smiled at the warm smell of Kentucky Fried Chicken emanating from the kitchen. I laid down on the couch, then I let go of the tears.

Oct.27, Thursday: Unexpected Surprise:

11am. I am upstairs working on the updates to my blog. There is the sound of a truck and the gravel crunching. Genny scurries from her bed and begins barking furiously. Someone is here! I realized in surprise. Who? Is dad home for an early lunch? I questioned. I hurried down stairs as quick as I could manage it. The front door was stuck. I gave it a quick wrench. Stuck, stuck tight! Blast! Something was laid down on the porch. I wasn’t expecting anything. I wracked my brain. Well, there was that book on prayer that was coming via Grace2You ministry, but that wasn’t due to come in a few weeks yet. And this sounded heavier, bigger than a box with a book in it. I twisted the doorknob, trying to get it open. Gravel, the sound of the truck fading into the distance. Gah! Silly door! I fought it, twisting it. I pressed myself against it and jerked the knob. It clicked. Yessss! Victory!! 

It was a brown box. Standing “this side up” vertical. I cocked my head off to the side, reading the name. It was for…me? My fingers quaked as I placed them around the box and lifted. It was light, not heavy at all. Who from? There was no name in that column. It was completely blank. What the…? The thought came. Confusion. What was this? Who would send a box and not put who it was from? Questions were like the popping of corn kernels, filling my brain. I grabbed my box-knife and slit open the packaging tape. A card slid right into my palm. I saw it and then fell to pieces, sniffling and wiping my nose and trying to contain myself. “Nicole, You’re surrounded by family and friends who love you and are praying for you. The light of Christ is shining brightly through you, a beacon of hope and encouragement to all those that you meet. –from, a friend.”

I shook my head, baffled. Who would…? Who did this? Then it occurred to me, whoever this was, didn’t just put a card into a huge box to ship it to my door. I flipped back the cardboard flap and gasped. A dozen yellow roses with accented baby’s breath! My favorite color of rose. I re-read the card. Hugged it (silly, aren’t I?), thanked God for such simple treasures as these. And then with careful but quaking fingers, blurry tear-dripping vision, lifted the wrapped bundle in my hands. How beautiful! I brought it to my nose and sniffed. I was made upset. I was crying so my nose was all stuffed with drippy snot: I couldn’t smell them! How infuriating! 

I carefully unwrapped the plastic and brought the project over to the sink. I cut off the rubber bands and sniffling and crying, I tended to it. Pieces of the ends flung across the room. Genny ran over and bit on the little projectiles and then spit them out. My guess is she doesn’t like rose stems. :P Tuxedo flicked his ear and stretched out in the sunlight coming in through the dining room. I recalled my three months of working the floral department, as I arranged them in the glass vase. I was allergic to the plant food, so that was a short-lived task, although I loved making the arrangements. Now I got to do that again. It was a creative moment and I enjoyed that. I set them on the dining room table and observed them, wiping at my tears. I re-read the card again, plagued with the mystery of it all. I paced to and fro in front of them, using the little card like a fan. Who sent these? Who did I know with this writing style? Who used these kinds of words when they spoke? Which friends could afford such a bountiful purchase? This friend was right, I was surrounded by those that cared about me – there were too many to narrow it down to who had done this. Brushing away the last of my tears, I sniffed the roses, faintly smelling its sweet, relaxing scent. They were a lovely treasure. I was greatly encouraged. “Friend, whoever you are, you have made my day.” I said aloud to no one. I was, after all, by myself.

Had blood-work done. I told them about my aloe allergy and they began a joking-argument about if the perrywinkle color of the gloves she slipped her fingers into were blue or purple. We all got to laughing, and then she stuck me. It sucked the breath out of me in shock, but then I reminded myself to breathe and I was fine again. I chatted with her in good conversation about my unexpected surprise and then she informed me I was all done. I snatched my book and went to the hospital cafeteria. It was lunch time. I wasn’t hungry, but then, I had only had a breakfast burrito at 8:30am and it was 2:15pm. I should get something to eat. It didn’t feel necessary, but I should. I debated, yes and then no. It was like a ping-pong match. Finally, reason won. I should eat. I pushed through the cafeteria door and entered. There, I told me. You are in the cafeteria, you have to eat now.
I stepped up to the counter and ordered their beef stew and roll. I got a coke to go with it and then sat down at the table. I spooned my soup, moving the beef chunks around for a disinterested second, then I prayed and ate it. I read my book and slowly cleaned off my plate. I was not in a hurry. I had another 15 minutes to go; I’d only used 45 minutes so far.

I wandered aimlessly to the gift shop and found a necklace I couldn’t leave alone. I started playing with the magnetic pieces that go in its center. It was fascinating, and it was also on sale. I also didn’t need it. I put it back. I took it. I put it back. I fidgeted with the pieces. (-Translation of this strange ritual: my usual process of convincing me to buy it has begun.) :P

The phone rang: mom. I talked to her and with my free hand, organized the pieces into shades, textures, and then created an apron design pattern with them on the magnetic board. It was becoming my artwork as I spoke to my mom. I’m sure the gift-shop lady wondered what in the world this shopper was doing with her display piece! :P I took off six of the little magnets and held them in my hand. Mom told me she was on her way, she’d be there for the appointment. Great. I hung up and then the lady informed me that the necklace was on special today: Buy the necklace and get one flair-magnet free. My mind perked at the 20 dollar price. Not bad! I could spoil myself this once. I’d yet to this month. I reasoned in my mind: You only have a budget for spoilage once per month. Is this the spoils you wish to get, or is there something else? I bit my lip. Hmmm… I slipped the black satin chain with its silver pendant from the display arm and held it in my palm. It had a Japanese flair in it, a bird with pink background, black leaves curling this way and that way. Kinda….yeah…pretty.

Hmmm… said my mind. I didn’t put back the other six flair-magnets. I curled my fingers into a fist. (-Translation: Process of convincing is complete. I am getting it.) I paid for it and then felt my usual sick “I just spent money” feeling that I have always felt when I purchase anything. But then I signed my name with a flourish and she passed me the necklace and its flairs. Then I grinned and felt better. A good treat. I liked it. 

Ping ping! Ping ping! Went my phone. I fumbled before realizing that last month I’d bought a messenger-styled purse for ease of carrying things, the phone was no longer inside the main bag where I was digging, but in a special phone pouch. I blushed, embarrassed. “Oh, yeah,” I mumbled in remembrance, retrieved the phone and turned it off. “Time for my appointment.” I smiled and said goodbye.
Wandered into the cancer wing of the hospital and told the ladies at the counter I was there. They were so surprised that I wasn’t finished with the book yet. “Ah, because I’m savoring it!” I said, then added. “It is very, very good and I don’t know when I’ll find another one like this. It’s a great story.” I sat down and read it while I waited. Mom came, so I shared my purchase with her.

My turn came up. I discovered I’d lost a little bit of weight. Learned about taking medication. Learned about doses and times, scheduling. Learned about keeping a record of what medication I take with me in my purse. Learned about reading the side-affects warning (which I usually skim over with a “yeah-yeah, I know” mentality) and what to do when I have those affects. Now I know. This whole realm was (still is!) completely new to me. I’m grateful for such patient nurses. I had the nurse repeat most of this over and over and over again, because it kept going over my head. I finally got it. I’m glad they were so patient with me. :) Discovered my level had soared to 175,000. Mom and I were delighted. I was in a healthy zone with lots of maneuvering space, lots of cushion.

I was spoken to about my tummy-irritation, which I’d tried to “tough through” and not tell anyone how badly it was hurting me. “Some things are not meant to be toughed through.” I’d been told. I agreed quietly, nodding and fidgeting with the corner of my book and purse strap. It was a duh moment: Of course I should have told them it was upsetting my stomach and making me uncomfortable. What had I been thinking?

The specialist spoke with us for a little while, repeating what the nurse said about my stomach-irritation. What they said was right on and I knew that. I wondered why I hadn’t done what they were telling me is the right way to address such symptoms, it made such good sense. She then said that most children grow out of this, but for young adults, like myself, it was most likely to be chronic. She said we would get to know each other. I had anticipated this route, just as I’d pre-thought out all the routes. It didn’t surprise me at all. It made sense. It was an allergy to something. We just have to find out what the “something” is.
 I want to know what it is that causes my I.T.P. and on my next visit, I plan to ask my specialist what the process for elimination is. How do they plan on going about isolating the outside-allergy that causes my I.T.P.? Once I know that, a mystery will be solved. Hurrah! I can’t wait for that day! 

Mom took me to the gift shop and so I showed her my handiwork and she gave a slight tilt of her head. “So, which ones do you like?” I shrugged and grinned, “I bought them already.” “But what else?” She asked. I pondered this, staring at the pieces. I had been reluctant on putting back the two ships in the harbor, the blue ivy, and the yellow and white flowers. I pointed out the three pieces of flair. She plucked them off the board. “What are you doing?” I asked. She gave a wirey grin, “Everyone else is not the only ones who you’ve inspired and encouraged with your story you know.” She said, matter-of-factly. “You inspired me too. You are an encouragement to me, and I want to buy these for you.” I just about blubbered emotionally, but then I caught myself – it was a public place with the cashier watching us. I still teared up, but I blinked them back. Mom bought the pieces and then handed me the baggy of three flair. I held them and smiled up at her, “Thank you.” It was a great day. :)

…Well, I best go have some breakfast and attend to the rest of my chores. I’ll try and keep you all updated as it comes, and thank you all for praying for me; it is a very big encouragement. I hope that my story brings you encouragement to continue to press your concerns and worries into the hands of the Lord and trust Him, even when it seems hardest to do. Rest assured, God knows what we are dealing with, and He intends for those things to mature us and strengthen our faith (and that’s why we should consider those trials as joy). Wonderfully enough, He knows what struggles and trials we are going to encounter long before we discover them. He has control over it all, and that is the greatest of comfort. :)

Until next time, God bless.

1 comment:

  1. God is using you and will continue to use you to encourage those around you, and those that you may never meet.