For new readers, I call my Sunday ponderings Sunday Afternoon Tea after Edith Schaeffer's Sunday teas held at L'Abri when she and her husband (the late Francis Schaeffer) would serve tea and conversation each week. How I would have loved to be there.
This week's Sunday chat came out of a week of fatigue and the frustrations of dealing with chronic illness. There's really no use to complain as that does no good and only brings down those around us. Instead I've learned to work within limitations and do that which I can do each day.
It doesn't have to be physical limitations which cause us to rethink everyday activities... financial setbacks and lean years must be met with rethinking daily "to do's" as well as yearly goals. Marriage, moving, a change in career... all come with rethinking.
Nothing changes our days as do children in our life... from the welcomed birth, through the active toddler years (I basically stayed home when Christopher was a toddler!), school activities... whether homeschooled or part of the neighborhood classrooms... through their high school and college years.
All this to say... working within the confines of a chronic illness does not make me the Lone Ranger. We all must make mid-course corrections in our life, "tweaking" that which we have always done. There is often a need to accept where we find ourselves in life, when no amount of wishing or working will change circumstances.
For much of my life, I have met stress by tying an apron around my waist and spending time in the kitchen. I love every part of cooking and baking. (A long ago friend told me I'm the only person she knew whose idea of Heaven include an apron and a kitchen.) :)
However, the pain which has deepened in my right arm for years has now traveled to the left... causing difficulty of movement. Juvenile Diabetes and thyroid disease bring with them intense and overwhelming fatigue as well as the usual side affects with feet and eyes.
It would be easy to be angry at God that He would allow such chronic illness to one who has no insurance... and having spent years being just above the annual income for govt. insurance... yet, at the cusp of poverty lines... thinking perhaps God has "missed it" and forgotten all about me.
Yet, I know quite often those times I feel His peace in the midst of the storms of life. He chooses not to take me out of the storm but (as the lyrics of a song states) He takes the storm out of me. He never tells me I must understand to have that peace... no, quite often instead He allows the storms to intensify.
I'm reminded of the water thrown from my salad in the spinner as it twirls faster and faster. The salad ingredients certainly must not appreciate the cool water being so forcibly removed from their leaves (should lettuce have feelings, of course). I know removing the water is also taking away all the dirt still clinging to it.. otherwise it is just dizzy lettuce. :)
I have learned to be thankful for what He has given me instead of complaining. This cute house at the edge of the forest is appreciated even more after having to give up the "dream house" years ago. Stretching out on a cozy sofa and watching a couple of PBS cooking shows in the afternoon and Foyle's War in the evening... with Sasha curled next to me... is even sweeter after having no access to PBS for a couple of years. Saying goodbye to Sasha's sister two years ago causes me to appreciate each day we have our elderly kitty with us.
Pain free days can only be appreciated by those who experience pain. A check in the mail to help stock the pantry would not bring tears to the eyes of a millionaire. A cup of good coffee or a shared favorite tea would be a strange gift to one who can stop at Starbucks every morning.
How many friends I've known who were glowing at their wedding after waiting years for the man God had for them all along... and I've seen the tears of those who jumped into marriage out of the fear of being alone.
How precious is the site of an adopted baby held in the arms of parents who longed for a child of their own... yet, knowing instantly this child was to be theirs all along. Similar joy is felt at the birth of a much longed for baby, as we felt with the birth of each child after our first went to Heaven so soon after his birth.
During this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, we are enjoying the benefits of sowing and reaping... after weeks of fighting the curse of Eden with weeds and bugs and all sorts of challenges to our garden or farm.
God's ways are not our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He never promises we will understand all we go through as we are sojourners on the path of this life. He warns us this isn't Heaven so don't be surprised when the road is covered with rocks and we find ourselves hungering and thirsty... He says He is the Bread and the Living Water.
In the meantime, I've learned to appreciate what I do have and not complain about what is missing. Well, most of the time. :)