Sometimes I think to myself, I know – I’ll wear that shirt. Or, That dish would be perfect. And then it hits me like a ton of bricks. I used to have that shirt, dish, book, gadget, life.
A while ago I gathered enough courage to open a little shoe box full of the “junk drawer” bits and pieces from my apartment. The shoe box was from my last Zappos order when I was well – when I ordered “Missionary Sandals.” The serviceability of red patent leather is debatable, but whatever. Moot point.
I opened the box long enough to fish out the picture frame (above) the movers must have taken from my countertop and put in the box for me. Then I closed the lid and didn’t want to look at any of that stuff anymore bc I was too sad.
I remember the day that photo arrived. Karine had chosen that frame especially for me. I displayed it proudly and taped pictures of a pasta acorn and other works of art from my children to the wall. Now I like to put her picture in front of me to cheer me up while I eat. It’s impossible not to smile back at that little round face that is so skinny now. Sigh. She was only 4 when I got sick. Now she’s 8. We went to the American Girl store to celebrate her 5th birthday soon after I came home. It was my first outing in my wheelchair. It was worth it to see Tanpo eating star and heart fruit kabobs with great solemnity.
Sometimes life is tough. I get it. I wrote in my Memoirs that I considered holding my breath until this was all over but I read once that if you tried that your body would knock itself out and start breathing again as a self-defense mechanism, so that wouldn’t work. I’ve considered the staying in bed with the covers over my head route but I spent enough time in bed as an inpatient (and an early outpatient) and trust me on this one – it gets boring. So if you know anyone who is bedridden from illness, think about how you could brighten his or her day. 🙂
Meanwhile, there are plenty of able-bodied people in the world who struggle to get out of bed in the morning simply bc the weight of life’s responsibilities is so crushing. I am truly thankful that I decided the Gospel is true bc that means I have unlimited power and joy resources at my disposal. I’m still working on accessing them effectively – c’mon, don’t you think it’s more fun to worry unnecessarily?
But I appreciate that scripture acknowledges that sometimes “the journey is too great for thee.” This is what happened to Elijah in I Kings 19. I used to lie in my car (seat reclined) at 6am in the parking garage in DC listening to this message by KRK. That was the time I was stressing myself out crazily, I ended up a little scrawny, and I stubbornly insisted that if I just woke up a little earlier I could get everything done. (Spoiler alert: I never finished it all.)
Elijah, after a great spiritual triumph, is gripped by fear when Jezebel goes on an intimidation campaign-killing spree and marks him as next. He actually lies down under a tree and prays for death. But you know what? God provides food for Elijah that fuels him for the next 40 days until he reaches Mount Horeb. In the same way, food is ready for us – but you still gotta get up and eat.
Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. I Kings 19.7