474. Overflowing

Kpop's T-shirt for a school vocab project

Kpop’s T-shirt for a school vocab project

I was in a lot of pain last weekend. It was stress-induced, I think – not helped by my strength training regimen, but mostly sympathy pains bc Coach R is having some shoulder issues he’s ignoring. I told him I should do the Vulcan Death Grip on him and put us both out of our misery. Problem is I don’t know how to do the VDG. Maybe Gen can teach me.

So I suffered all weekend and felt better enough in the morning to take it out on Trainer D first thing on Monday, after which I tried to play it cool with Coach R, but then was so annoyed at my lack of “running” stamina I relieved my feelings by sending him one of my hilariously passive aggressive emails and hoped that it would make me feel better.

It did.

Still, I’ve avoided writing this post, bc it’s pretty bold – like 395. Well Suited. After I wrote it and transitioned to the Full Disclosure Model with my peeps I took a major physical hit.

395.  Well Suited

395. Well Suited

Well, although I’ve been feeling GREAT lately I’ve acknowledged that the physical situation is deteriorating rapidly (speed bump! I’ll tell you about it next week) so I figure I might as well go all the way and write this, although I fondly hope the physical situation will right itself ASAP.

So here we go: When this happened to me I lost a lot of things. I owned pretty things – not super high-end stuff, but things I liked well enough to still miss. When I saw which way the wind was blowing, the things I still had a fingertip hold on I decided to lay down and pretend like that was my intention all along.

Example 1: for 3 years I pawed through my belongings mentally and thought, When I get this back…. But at a certain point in Oregon last year I threw a “souvenir” back in the box and said, I don’t need any of this. I dismissed entire boxes that were still sealed with packing tape.

358.  "I don't need any of this."

358. “I don’t need any of this.”

After we went to OR I landed at Boo Boo’s house and actually thought about what happened. One morning I came to the kitchen and cried on Mommy’s shoulder: Boo hooo!! My pretty things. Poor Boo Boo  relieved her feelings by banging some pots around on the stove.

She told me later, You did it smart, Ning – you made a clean break.

It wasn’t what I had wanted, but I agree – ultimately it was a smart move.

Example 2: My name. Are you confused by the Ann|Ning thing (FAQ)? An old friend from B school contacted me via my website and called me “Ann.” He was relieved when I told him to please keep calling me “Ning” even though I thought it was really sweet of him to use “Ann” since he thought I might prefer it. Please – it’s totally cool for you to call me what you’ve always called me, or you can choose the name you’re most comfortable with. It’s fine. The thing is that Shady Grove “The Place” was the first hospital I arrived at awake. I wasn’t used to people talking to me directly and lacked the vocal strength to tell them, My name is Ning.

So they called me “Ann.” It is my actual name, after all, and I like it – it’s just that I never used it until now. So my name was something I laid down intentionally, too. I’ve embraced the usage of “Ann” – it’s kind of my Medical Alter Ego now. I embraced it to the point where I told myself, It doesn’t matter. It’s not important.

But it kind of does matter.


Yesterday I told you I’ve had a hard time believing that the Land of the Living is for me. That’s one of the reasons I insist on being identified with the Disabled Community – they were the first ones to make me feel welcome here and to tell me that there are workarounds to get stuff done even if you’re living with XYZ and things aren’t like they used to be. It’s a function of my time in The Valley and the strange waking up process.

The last couple of times I spoke publicly about How I Found Grace in The Valley I emphasized at the end that This Disabled Life is not all drudgery. There is stuff that has happened that is so good that I can’t talk about all of it still bc it makes my teeth hurt and I’m afraid they might fall out of my head entirely. I joke that the Lord had to do something SO drastic to keep me out of Africa bc I am so thick-headed about these things that I probably wouldn’t get the memo unless He did something as serious as putting me in a wheelchair (even so, it took me another 6-8+ months to concede the point post injury).

In the same way, I’m super thick-headed about good stuff, too. But God, in His mercy, persists in giving me extremely kind and obvious “post it notes” to remind me along the way that even though this is crazy, it’s okay because He’s taking care of me. These circumstances, like my injury, are way too pointed to be considered coincidence.

359.  Running With Myself

359. Running With Myself

This summer when I was still feeling great I was in the Gym’s café buying some “Brain Juice” (EPA/DHA) and told Trainer D as we stood in line, I didn’t know this [feeling of wellness] was for me.

A minute later I said, My chi is so strong right now, you have no idea.

I can feel it, he contradicted.

As I walked to the lobby I told him, I’ve decided that we’re calling this “healthy,” so I need you pony up and play along.

There have been lots of ups and downs since we had that conversation, but the main thing I’ve clung to is my statement, I didn’t think this was for me. “This” = The Land of The Living.

As soon as Decision Day hit and I decided that Jesus Christ is in fact who He says He is I knew what I’d have to do. God gave me some extreme circumstances, but His grace has been so vast and surprising there’s no way for me not to be “all in” and respond in kind with an extreme sort of lifestyle even though the expectation was that I might just lie in bed and watch Netflix for the duration. Even back then I knew a Public Recovery would occasionally be brutal, but again, I chose this lifestyle with my eyes open because this message is so critical. But although I’ve found my calling this isn’t all “work.”

I’ve realized that I don’t constantly have to grit my teeth and brace for impact. Yes, my feelings have been hurt beyond the scope of “normal” human interaction as a byproduct of this lifestyle, but it pales in comparison to the goodness I’ve received from the gentle care of the Good Shepherd (who, btw, knows and cares about my hurts). It’s just that part of my Recovery has been to learn to be willing to receive. This is still a process, and I’m at the very beginning – but I want to state for the record: my cup runneth over (Psalm 23.5).

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!


3 thoughts on “474. Overflowing

  1. Ning, I know it’s not possible for the rest of us to totally put ourselves in your shoes or anything, but you sure do a pretty amazing job of communicating so that we can, in a small way, step into your journey…hugs and hugs (sniff) ❤

  2. N, I have often felt that this world is not made for sick people, or disabled, or what have you, and I often have found relief in the arms of Jesus. It’s been 20 yrs. for me and I have found out that my hope lies in the return of the Lord. I’m so strong willed that it took this illness to set me down to listen to Him. Be still and know that I Am God. I really love you N. and keep sharing cause you strengthen others who suffer. Love Mrs. R.

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