"I am weary of pain like a withered flower but He is
clearing a path for others to tread."
1. A second or new entry
2. The act of returning from outer space.
If there is one feeling that has been most prevalent through Lyme treatment, it is the feeling of wanting to be covered, of wanting to be hidden in some small chamber until the season has passed over. I am not sure why this childhood image came back to me, but in my darkest moments of Lyme, I imagined myself crawling into the Mork and Mindy egg and staying there until I felt like reentering family life.
My deepest longing during this journey has been for healing, but also for the permission to retreat, to be sick for a season. I have wanted affirmation, wanted someone to say that it's okay to be sick, and it's okay to tend to your owns needs for a while so that you can heal. There were times when I received that affirmation, but as a mother of three, there were also many moments that I spent fighting for the right to be sick. Because if you don't have the right to be sick, you don't feel that you have the right to heal.
I have floated in and out of good seasons and bad seasons but sixteen months into treatment, I still have days where I am fighting for the right to heal, for permission to rest when I need to and for the permission to take a couple of hours to myself to write or paint in order to pull myself out of the depression and brain fog that comes along with switching medications weekly.
Lyme leaves me feeling as if I am in a foreign land, as if I am in outerspace, trying to push my way back through the earth’s atmosphere in order to land and be present at the dinner table. At times, it takes everything in me to come back to earth and be present in the moment. The worst thing about those moments though is that I can look down from my Mork and Mindy egg and see my life passing by before me. It feels as if I am watching a black and white TV show that I know should be in full color. I am fully aware of what I am missing. I feel it in every ounce of my being, but often the meds leave me feeling as if my brain is sitting in quicksand, and it seems next to impossible to step into the fullness of life.
I wish I was one of those strong sick people, one of those women that others comment about and say, “Oh, she is so strong. She never complains. She never talks about it.” I can't say that I have been her. I haven’t been the one that smiles through clenched teeth and says, “I’m fine” when I am not. I come from a long line of frank women, and if you ask me how I am feeling, I will more than than likely give you a frank answer. I have tried not to bore people with long-winded conversations about my physical issues, but at moments, I am sure that I have failed in that too.
Since I am not going to land in the Strong Sick People Hall of Fame, I will be frank and tell you that today I am weary. I feel like the astronauts on Apollo 13, waiting for the reentry in a broken vessel, fearing that I may not approach at the right angle, fearing that I may not do enough of the right things, take enough salt baths or steam showers, or eat enough of the right foods to get me to wellness. I fear that I may not have what it takes to make it to the finish line of Lyme, that I might not be able to stand the heat of the reentry process.
In my doubting moments, I ask myself, “What if my husband can’t take any more of my communication blackouts at the dinner table? What if I never reenter and this is as good as it gets? What if I never return “home” from this season of captivity?
More than anything else in my life right now, I want to go home. I want to reenter, to emerge from my Mork and Mindy egg and walk in the fullness of life. Today, it is ever so clear to me that instead of stepping into fullness, I am beginning to allow bitterness to fully take root in my heart. I am growing bitter that Lyme has lingered way too long. I am bitter about all the black and white moments that could have been in full color, and I am sad that I will never get those moments back. I am bitter that my neck is still fully inflamed and won't allow me to do the things I love. And I am bitter toward the diet that is beginning to feel like months of manna in the desert.
The Israelites grew bitter about months of manna too. They forgot how God had delivered them from Egypt, how He had parted the Red Sea after he turned the River Jordan to blood. They forgot that the angel of death passed over their firstborn son at the midnight hour. They forgot that they were told to eat in their traveling clothes so that they would be ready for departure from captivity.
In essence, they forgot what God had done. And so have I in my eagerness to depart the land of Lyme.
My doctor says she can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I am ever so grateful for that. I still have days where I wish for my Mork and Mindy egg, but they are fewer and farther in between. And I am holding on tight to the truth that God will complete the work he began in me. He still hasn't delivered my Mork and Mindy egg in which I can hide, but He did send me these words that He spoke to Moses. They covered me all the more.
He said, “When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.” Exodus 33:22
He said he would have to hide me in “the cleft of the rock” when he showed me the glory that would come from my suffering because it would be too much for my little heart to bear.
So today, I reenter. I allow God to hide me in this painted rock, and I wait for God’s glory to pass by as he brings me home, like he brought the Israelites out of captivity from a foreign land.
At first I thought it was too soon to reenter, that my heart was too bitter and too weary to remember publicly. I was concerned that I would spew more venom than victory, but as I read the words of Leanna Tolensky a few days ago, I knew it was time to go, time to reenter the remembrance of Him.
She said, "We will not live in the dark, even if that means we have to walk around squinting for a time. We will let ourselves be seen.
...Our emergence doesn’t happen when we are at our most brave. It often happens when we are at our most bruised."
So I emerge from my Mork and Mindy egg, standing bruised, asking God to give me the words to say as I reenter this painted rock,
knowing full well
that all the moments
on which I dwell
tainted black and white
of painted stones
to the faint and weak,
"You are not alone.
You are not alone.
You are not alone."
Now do this in remembrance of me.
Click on photo to enter the Apollo 13 rabbit hole