PHYSICAL -vs- EMOTIONAL
This week has been an interesting one. I have not felt much like myself. Everywhere I look there seems to be a reminder of what once was and is no more. There has been an emotional weight, or heaviness that I have carried through the week.
I have come to understand that while much of this Cancer journey has to do with physical struggles it is the emotional pieces which can really undo you. I have learned to accept, or at least live with, the physical limitations that come with my illness and treatment. I no longer push to do everything. I am learning to sit and relax when normally I would have forced myself to keep moving until the last little bit of every project was completed. I cannot move as fast as I used to and that is okay. I struggle to button buttons and getting a credit card out my wallet takes more effort than it ought to. Shuffling through a pile of papers on my desk takes focus and determination, my fingers just do not work like they used to. My bowels, which used to be very regular, now have a rhythm and mind of their own. (I know…TMI…but it is my reality) These physical things I am learning to accept and adjust to.
The mental and emotional waves are different. One moment I can be fine and in great spirits, the next I am not sure which end is up. It feels like the weight of everything comes crashing down and lands square upon me. I get behind in my work. There is a commercial on television. Nancy walks through the room. I lay awake and cannot sleep, wondering about what the future holds. In those moments of emotional turmoil it feels as if things are spiraling out of control. If I am not careful I allow myself to stay in those dark places and I miss the good all around me.
One of the fascinating things about these emotional waves is that they are unpredictable. Everything can be going great. I may be in the midst of an enjoyable and productive day when I stumble on my way up the stairs. “How pathetic…you cannot even walk up the stairs without almost falling…what is wrong with you…pull it together…this is no way to live.” Starting up the stairs all was well. By the time I reach the top I am an emotional wreck.
I have learned how to adapt my walking to the top of the stairs in a slower, more intentional way. Learning how to manage the emotional roller coaster is much more difficult. The sad truth is that I get frustrated with myself, my situation and will sometimes allow that frustration to color conversations with those who care for me most. I get short with Rayann or Nancy. They have done nothing wrong…they just happen to be in the area when I am weak and unable to keep the roller coaster on the tracks anymore.
My neuropathy is not getting better. I have a hard time with buttons. I used to take buttoning my shirt for granted. A simple task at the start of the day. Today it is a monumental process worthy of celebration once complete. Nancy wants to help. “I do NOT need help buttoning my shirt!” I am a grown man, I can handle this, have been ever since I was a toddler. Nancy stands back and watches me struggle. “Aren’t you going to help?” Nancy gets sneaky and buttons half the buttons on my shirt before she lays it out for me. As I pull the shirt over my head I am reminded of how much she cares…and of the reality that I cannot efficiently and effectively dress myself anymore. The frustration is real and I have to be careful how I share it with those around me.
The emotional roller coaster this past week has been a rough ride. I could have easily pulled the sheets up above my head and slept much of the days away.
A CONSTANT COMPANION
As I started to move this morning I opened my devotional and began to read:
I AM THE PRINCE OF PEACE. As I said to My disciples, I also say to you: Peace be with you. Since I am your constant Companion, My Peace is steadfastly with you. When you keep your focus on Me, you experience both My Presence and My Peace. Worship Me as King of kings, Lord of lords, and Prince of peace.
You need My Peace each moment to accomplish My purposes in your life. Sometimes you are tempted to take shortcuts, in order to reach your goal as quickly as possible. But if the shortcut requires turning your back on My peaceful Presence, you must choose the longer route. Walk with Me along paths of Peace; enjoy the journey in My Presence.
I sat in silence.
“I am your constant companion. When you keep your focus on Me, you experience both My Presence and My Peace.”
In the midst of Cancer…”I am your constant companion.” As the roller coaster of emotions begins to weave its way through my day…”I can experience both the Presence and Peace of Abba Father.”
We all have our stuff. There are unsettling pieces and parts of life that rise up and seek to draw our attention away from the Prince of Peace. The next time your roller coaster starts the downward journey and it feels as if life is getting ready to go out of control remember our constant companion. May you know and cling to the peace that passes all understanding.
God is Good All the Time…All the Time God is Good