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Silver threads and other musings...

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A friend who has health challenges and I were talking yesterday. (Let's be honest: I was whining, and she was graciously listening.😭) We both encountered problems with illness and injury at much younger ages than we ever expected to. I remember lying on the couch during a summer of repeated high fevers and looking out the window, wondering why I -- in my early thirties, then -- was stuck inside while sixty year olds were jogging by. That seemed topsy turvy to me.   

Even now, some years later, it's easy to compare myself to the most active people my age and older. Most of my peers have some twinges that signal we aren't as young as we used to be. For the most part, however, these require only small adjustments in otherwise healthy lives. Not only that, but I can find images of silver-haired, beautiful athletes my age and much older in social media.  

My friend pointed out that at our age, we still have the expectation of being able-bodied. Generally, I am inspired by what p…

Practicing Radical Generosity as a Spoonie...part 2

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Do you ever feel like it is all you can do to get through a day of pain or extreme fatigue, much less encourage someone else? I am in the middle of a flare of many symptoms -- including pain that worsens with movement -- so I this is where I'm living. My spoons are few today, and they 
will be used up in coping. I feel silly thinking that I have anything to share about living a radically generous life! Even mustering enough mental strength to think about someone else' needs seems daunting, for the pain is distracting. I have had to table most of the plans I had for today, even those that involved some pampering at a salon. Sigh.

There are times to "just be", and today seems to be one of those occasions for me. Even so, I am contemplating how I can more fully live a generous life despite limitations. Today, my ideas are on a tiny scale, for small things are what I can handle. Yet, I believe that the Lord can multiply even the tiniest of gifts that are rendered back wi…

Radical generosity and the spoonie life...Part 1

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Radical generosity, not self protection, is the ethic of the Christian life.Matthew Perman
During Jesus' days on earth, others tried to draw lines around whom he could serve and when. "You're talking to a tax collector? To a sinful woman? To a Samaritan? To little children? You're so busy serving that you don't even have time to eat? You're healing on the Sabbath?  What's up with all that?"

While they were clucking their tongues about Jesus' radical generosity, Jesus was busy doing all of those generous things and more. He touched lepers in order to heal them. He went to parties. He taught crowds. He set aside his own mourning for John the Baptist in order to welcome a crowd.  He expressed the tough kind of loving by telling people what they needed to hear, even if that brought about conflict.

Jesus, of course, is both God and man, and in his humanity, he got tired, hungry, and thirsty, and he felt pain, as well. When the Samaritan woman came to …

Toward Healthy Self Care: Developing a Healthy Perspective

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When it comes to coping well with illness or aging, perspective is everything.  How, then, do we develop a healthy focus?  I'm a work in progress when it comes to that, but I have learned a few things that do help.

1)  Admit your current reality.  Pretending to yourself that your challenges aren't real cause them to loom larger in the back of your mind.  Admit what's hard, but don't forget to be grateful for all of the good.
2) What if you don't know what your current reality is?  Are you dealing with an uncertain diagnosis, waiting for test results, wondering if a brand new development is your new normal?  Don't over-analyze things.  Don't fret, either. Pray, lean on God's wisdom, attend to what you do know, and train your mind to focus on things that inspire and bring peace.  Phil. 4:4-8
3) Vocalize your pain; mourn what losses you need to mourn. Read the Psalms for examples of how to pour out your heart. Refrain from bitterness, but embrace truthful,…

Toward Healthy Self Care...The Self Awareness Paradox

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Physical ailments necessarily draw our attention to how our bodies feel, and, more largely, give a clue or two about our emotional state.  After all, our bodies send us warning messages for a reason; they were designed to let us know when something's amiss. (Happily, they also inform us when all is well and enjoyable.) I've ignored messages like these to my peril; I've also become preoccupied with them, also with disastrous results.

Over the years, I've experienced healing responses to pain and unhealthy ones, as well. On the harmful side, I've reacted with anxiety, frustration, over-analyzing, denial of symptoms, hyper vigilance about symptoms, pushing through when I should rest, resting when it would be healthier to be up and doing, keeping suffering locked inside, over-sharing about suffering, endlessly searching the Internet for answers, and a host of other things that just don't help. It occurs to me that so many of these unhelpful coping mechanisms are r…

Overwhelming, Painful, but Purposeful

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"Christianity teaches that,  contra fatalism,  suffering is overwhelming;  contra Buddhism, suffering is real;  contra karma, suffering is often unfair;  but contra secularism,  suffering is meaningful.  There is a purpose to it,  and if faced rightly,  it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God  and into more stability  and spiritual power than you can imagine."
Timothy Keller

What kind of tired are you?

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Why is fatigue so hard to communicate?  I think one reason is that there are many different ways of being tired, but only a few words to describe each experience. Two people may say, "I'm exhausted; I need to sit down," but each may mean something entirely different. 

In my life, I've experienced the following:

1) You go,Girl: healthy fatigue. This is a sense of having used a lot of energy in healthful activity, especially if the activity involved both mental and physical effort. It is the way that our body communicates that it needs to recharge. It occurs after a particular endeavor, such as gardening or running, and it also occurs at the end of a day. Usually, it is accompanied by the emotional satisfaction of tasks accomplished or memories made. Even for the person who works a dull job, fatigue signals that the day is done and that recuperation is near. Healthy fatigue resolves with rest, recreation, and sleep, though soreness may linger.   
Everyone on the pla…