“...whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and it there is anything praiseworthy, think on these things...”
I woke up in the morning wracked with pain. Every joint, every muscle in agony as I went from the chair I’ve had to sleep in, to the bathroom. Heading back out, I knew I couldn’t manage the trip back to the living room. I painfully climbed into bed, but was unable to pull the blankets over me, as my hands were unusable. Randy, seeing my plight, tossed them over me on his way out in the morning.
An hour or so later I ventured to get up again. Only slightly stronger, I shuffled to the kitchen for coffee unable to cope with the painful sensation of my feet rising and falling on the floor. As snowflakes fall silently outside the window I sip my coffee and appreciate the heat radiating from my cup to my aching hands. This is not the life I bargained for.
If I look in the mirror, I won’t recognize the woman looking back at me. The puffy, overweight, lumbering mess isn’t the quick moving, athletic over achiever I have always been. These aren’t my hands, puffy, swollen, stiff with papery skin. Those aren’t my clothes in the closet, they are made for someone larger. I don’t want to see anyone, and I don’t want to be seen. I drown in misery, tears falling freely.
Agitated, I pick up my Bible and start to read. I’m graciously reminded that I didn’t ‘bargain’ for anything. My life is a gift, both the the triumphs on the mountain peaks and the darkest places in the valleys. The journey I have been on is my own, but I am not alone. There are many who take it with me, some competing against me, others cheering me on, and yet others who just share the joys and pains of this place on the path, this space in my life. But there is also One who has walked alongside me the entire way. He’s been this way before and knows the pitfalls and dangers I will face, someone who has been to far more painful depths and knows also the ultimate heights of joy. He doesn’t always carry me, but usually lets me choose my own way, sometimes stumbling, sometimes running freely. When I fall headlong and sputter and spit dirt of failure out of my mouth, sometimes I am overcome with rage, or with sorrow. But soon I push past it and cry out for help, or simply raise my eyes and always, I find He is there, a Holy hand stretched out, ready to help me up again. This has been such a day.
One of the Maremmas pushes his head up under my elbow and gently rests his head on my leg. Often the hands and feet and heart of Jesus come to me wrapped in fur. With eyes full of concern and compassion he looks at me and touches his cold wet nose to my tear dampened cheek. I hug him and it feels better, even hurting.
I push through the pain and this morning I am rewarded by it. The world awaits outside and there are new baby lambs, baby goats to marvel at. The miracle of life unfolds before me even as mine seems to fade. This day will get better, even if tomorrow does not. Each step of this journey brings me to a new and renewed life, one that will not be full of pain. I will see lost loved ones and best of all I will see HIM face to face. I can do this. I’m not the first, but I am also not the weakest. I can do this. I can keep walking until I too, reach Home.
There is much I can do. Milk to process, cheese to make. It will take some effort but it will be worth it. I have to keep trying and pushing forward.
The sun is breaking through the clouds even now and I can see my way and I am strengthened. I know who I am, because I know who He is. For now, that is enough.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. -2 Cor 12:9