I’ve noticed a common feature in my handling of major health problems: I barrel through them with an attitude of I can’t even believe that happened to me and it’s messing up my plans.
When I had cancer, nine years ago, my approach was to get through the treatment as fast as possible and get on with life. Check. Last summer when I had a stroke, I did the same thing. What!? Never mind, I’ll just keep going.
I am extremely thankful that I was able to keep going and that I have no negative effects of either potentially disastrous health challenge. I reasoned that my normal life would be good therapy, and in fact it was.
However, now eight months after the stroke, I’m not sure if I’ve thoroughly processed it.
For example, when a name escapes me, I question whether it’s just normal brain-freeze or whether it is something more persistent resulting from the stroke. Or I wonder, when I can’t find the word I want to use, if I would have had that problem a year ago. Trust me, I’ve lost track of countless names and words before, but I never worried about it. Am I the same person? Is my potential inhibited? I have bouts of depression which my husband says are not uncommon after a stroke, particularly one affecting the part of the brain touched in my case. (He did the research; I did not.)
Frankly, I still can’t believe it. I am still in a bit of denial. Do any of us easily accept what goes wrong with our bodies? I didn’t think so.
I re-read my posts from the weeks after my stroke. They are typical of my barrel through outlook, but more importantly they are true. I must still simply trust that God will use it for his good purpose. I am still confident that Christianity has the best answer for trials of any sort. And I still don’t have any answers. Who knows if there are any answers. Sometimes things just happen.
Thanks for listening to me.
How do you process your health challenges? Have you found it difficult to accept them?
Yesterday, I was at the Apple store with my daughter. The camera on her phone had stoppied working. Not good in an “Instagram” generation. Lol. The “genius” with whom we spoke, said that because she hadn’t installed the latest update for her phone, some of the applications were “crashing.” Updates, the “genius” said, are for repairs and adding new features. He got it working on the spot by clearing the “settings,” and told her to go home and install the latest update.
More debilitating health issues for me, are like a “crash” and then a chance to “clear my settings” and install God’s latest “update.” What gracious repairs He does and the “above and beyond all I could ask or think” new features aren’t bad either.
In any case, our final update will be AWESOME! (heaven if I’m in my own unintelligible, cryptic world).
Thanks for sharing about these vulnerable places in your life and heart, Judy.
Judy this is an excellent post. There’s a difference between tenacious hard work and “barreling through.” I would describe it this way: In the former we leave room for learning and processing along the way but in the latter we put our heads down and push, not taking time to observe and learn from what we’re barreling through. Here is where the spiritual disciplines of solitude, silence and contemplation can be so helpful. In the quiet disciplines it doesn’t seem like we’re really accomplishing anything because the changes wrought by the Holy Spirit are in our interior life. But in reality this is where our strength comes from. No barrels required : )
It’s a tricky mix, isn’t it? We need both contemplative disciplines and communicative work, and that has always been somewhat of a challenge for me. I would never have said that I wasn’t taking contemplative time to learn and process what I was going through, but it’s possible that I wasn’t taking enough time or that the whole process just takes longer than I had thought. (Hmmm…another potential problem with barreling through – I always expect it to go faster than it does!) God always gets us back to where he wants us though, barrels or no barrels. Thanks for your thoughts! Judy
“How do you process your health challenges? Have you found it difficult to accept them?”
Because of football injuries and job related problems, I have bad knees. They have been prayed for, fasted for, even had a few miracles at times, and yet they are bad enough that most people would have had them replaced years ago. Yet, I am not willing to take the time off for surgery or rehab. So, I haven’t ignored the possibility of being crippled in the near future, but I’ve accepted the fact that if the Lord doesn’t heal me then I will walk with a cane, crutches, or use a wheelchair. I truly believe that “all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28)
I like the motto of the U. S. Navy SEALs: “I will never quit…I am never out of the fight.”
Larry, I admire your faith and your fighting spirit. And I pray for healthy knees!