Monday, December 21, 2015

Taking the NEXT STEP

I "run" marathons and train for them daily but not the kind you may think.   My daily struggle as a chronic migraineur with its many symptoms, triggers, and pain makes me feel as though my days are just one long race of endurance after another.   The importance of trying to maintain as much of a healthy lifestyle balanced in body, mind, and spirit is essential to me and to those for whom I love and care.   As I was never athletic per say, I did engage in sports activities and did learn the valuable lessons of preparing my body for what it needed to participate in each activity of physical endurance.  So, those lessons have served me well for just a time as this.  

I find it takes me a great deal of mental energy, never mind the physical, to just put my feet on the floor some days especially after repeated nights of painsomnia and the like.  Sometimes just mustering up the courage to start the day all over again knowing I will be very medicated and sick and barely functioning can take every ounce of emotional bravery.  But then, I say my prayers, and I start to breathe in the light of the new day's grace, and I give thanks and begin again...not refreshed, but anew.

I put my little feet on the floor (possibly stumbling) and take JUST THE NEXT STEP.  One step. Then I take another...and another...and another... Before I know it, I have changed positions, possibly rooms, maybe taken nourishment, at least maneuvered to my favorite brown couch, and made an attempt to embrace the day with all it has to offer in whatever state of health I find myself.  I feel old, frail, lost, beaten down, sad, but taking the NEXT STEP moves me forward in some kind of positive direction and still gives me a sense of purpose and accomplishment no matter how small it may seem.  

I can get easily overwhelmed with my daily "new normal" a lot.  Yep---I feel out of control and defeated and frustrated when I only focus on the big picture.  The thing is, I realize that focusing too far ahead with all of its unknowns and what if's just doesn't serve me well.   Reflecting on taking just the NEXT STEP helps me realize how valuable staying in the present moment really is.  Sitting in the moment after I have taken the next step offers time for me to see where I am, where I have been, and where I might like to go next.  I don't always feel "comfortable" in that sitting, but that is okay.  I am also learning it is okay to NOT be okay.  All will pass eventually and time moves on.  I will trust in the Lord in my sitting. 

This week is the last week before Christmas.  I absolutely LOVE this last week of Advent and its final period of waiting.  It has the most meaning to my heart and soul.  I plan to walk it out purposefully and carefully and prayerfully just taking the NEXT STEP and reflecting on the real meaning of the Incarnation.  

Mary and Joseph traveled with much uncertainty and fatigue, I imagine, waiting to find a birthplace for our Savior only to keep being told there was no room in the Inn.   They kept journeying one step at a time until they were blessed with a humble stable surrounded by animals and love in which Jesus could come down to earth into our sufferings and messes and redeem us.  If the Holy Family can travel and TRUST by taking just the NEXT STEP in front of them, then so can I.  

Friday, December 4, 2015

Waiting is so hard sometimes

Here we find ourselves in the beginning of the Advent Season.  For Christians, it is a special, liturgical season when we prepare our hearts for the Incarnation.  It is a most sacred time of interior reflection as well as practicing "waiting".

I don't know about you, but I am not especially gifted with patience and waiting under certain circumstances.  That being said, the more I pray for the opportunity to increase in virtue, the more the good Lord sees fit to answer my requests!  Ouch!  As "they" say, be careful what you pray for.  LOL.

My first week of Advent was mostly spent tethered to my couch or the bed trying to cope with yet another migraine marathon of epic proportion which unleashed its reign of terror on my body for days and nights on end.  Waiting was the only thing (besides begging and praying ) that I could actually do.  I sure had other plans for that first week---like decorating just a bit, looking up some fun cookie recipes, getting some organization to my Christmas lists, and preparing for an upcoming trip for the holidays to visit family, to name just a few.  But, no, my body and its illness had other plans.

So, my waiting began...
wait for the meds to work
wait for the time to take the next dose
wait to be able to open my eyes enough to see where I am going
wait for the passing of the many awful neurological symptoms to abate enough to even move
wait for my husband to come home from work to help me in my fragile state

and on and on the waiting went...  minutes seemed like hours and days were lost.

All the while I waited, I definitely prayed and prayed hard.  I actually did reflect a lot about Advent and how Mary must have felt as she waited those months and days before giving birth to our Savior and then waiting for a place to even labor and bring Jesus into this world.

My struggles are teaching me valuable lessons on waiting.  Waiting can be productive and redemptive if I allow it.  Waiting slows me down and teaches me to live with a more purposeful and intentional mindset.  While I do still pray for healing and certainly much better management of my current chronic conditon,  I am always amazed at my ongoing transformation in the journey.

Even if you are not celebrating Christmas due to your own background and tradition, can you still find value in waiting through your own struggles?  Is waiting easy or hard for you?  Maybe helping someone else who might be having a hard time waiting for one reason or another right now would be a great gift to offer this time of year.  Any easing of suffering in the waiting, I can assure you, would be a most generous gift of the heart.

    I decided to call my new orchid  "Advent Orchid" as it started to 
    bloom while I waited.  It bloomed patiently and silently.
    I love learning from Mother Nature as well.