I have always thought of community as those who I am physically with. Typically that includes church, work, family and friends. As I have walked this journey of continuing this Choose Joy ministry that Sara began, my community has expanded to include each of you...this online community that loved Sara and that she loved right back.
Below is a post from Sara on finding love in community.
"learning that home bound doesn't limit
your life, just your location."
your life, just your location."
That's a section of my bio, and it's been taunting me a bit lately.
Of course, the way I meant it is still true. I still mean, through this blog and the internet and the phone and the mail, I get to touch people's lives and they flood mine with beauty and grace. You all have made sure my location doesn't matter when it comes to community.
I am so grateful for that.
It's not the home bound part that feels like it's limiting my life these days, it's life itself.
A few months ago, my nurse suggested we have physical therapy start coming to the house again for a short period of time. I had to stop doing any sort of therapy when Cushing's hit, and my abilities have changed fairly drastically since then. I thought it would be a great idea to have someone come in and refresh me on what I should be doing.
They key here is that I thought I'd still be able to do it. Do something. Do anything.
I can do nothing.
I joke about it a lot, but my physical therapist went from talking about exercises to saying that my goal should be getting out of bed periodically and walking to the kitchen and back.
I was ready for stretches and lifts and maybe some stretchy bands. Turns out, I can barely move my ankles without them swelling. Forget about the rest of me.
I was in shock. Everything he talked about I would respond with, "Oh, I can do that…" and then I would try, and I couldn't move. I have fused and been made limited in ways I never dreamed. I thought I could move my neck, until he held my shoulders still and I realized I had been moving my whole body.
It's all about our perspective. Mine was skewed until someone came along, put their hands on my shoulders and said, "Wait. Look. Realize."
Physical therapy no longer comes to the house because there is nothing for them to do. The little ways I can still move, I do repeatedly to make sure I don't lose it… but if I move too much I enflame the joints and am worse off.
It's a balancing act.
A perspective-shifting balancing act.
I had the same "wake up" moment when Nicole and the girls came last weekend. I knew I would be in bed most of the time, but I thought I would at least get up and sit on the couch a little or sit at the table during a meal here and there. I thought I would still be a participant in their visit.
Until they came on Saturday, and after I sat at the table with them for all of 15 minutes I was barely able to make it back to the bedroom without passing out. By the time they left for the hotel that night I was shaking and vomiting from trying to be "active" earlier.
It broke my heart. It broke my spirit. It was in that moment I came face-to-face with something I knew to be true but was trying so hard to make false. I had moved from feeling like a sick person to feeling like an invalid.
And I hate it.
I stayed in bed the rest of their stay, only getting up to use the bathroom. I got up once to go through some of the stuff Nicole was throwing out of cupboards and I was so weak I could barely sit on my walker, George.
Admittedly, I am fighting an infection… but fighting infections has become my norm more than a random event. When I am here alone, I do nothing but stay in bed, rest, do little bits on the computer here and there and try my best to exist with a good attitude. I can get by on my own, get to the kitchen and back, bathroom and back. I am safe and capable.
But that is it.
Throw some people and activity in there, and I can't accomplish even that. Activity for me is now defined as sitting up in bed and talking and being animated.
Talking now requires a nap.
I have no stamina.
It's like a dagger to my heart every time I have to make these realizations. Every time I see myself physically slipping to another level. The invalid level.
But I have to look at it, otherwise I constantly set my sights on things higher than I can achieve, and I end in failure. I have to recognize my limitations so I don't end up making myself worse because I'm trying to make my life into something it isn't.
It's a balancing act.
Just like my physical therapist put his hands on my shoulders to give me perspective, God is putting His hands on my shoulders and telling me to live the life He's given me, not the life I'm trying to wish into existence.
My perspective has to come from a still space in this bed. It has to come after long rests and acceptance of where I am. If there is a purpose for me on this earth, and there must be because I am still here, then I need to keep my eyes open to the here and now and find it where I am.
I am feeling like an invalid these days. And I hate it. But I know He sees more in me than my location. He will not let my life be in–valid.
Wherever you are in your life, take a moment to let His hands rest on your shoulders. Don't let life get so busy with your own ideas and vision that you miss His perspective for you. Because I promise He has one.
Just for you.
You can find more of Sara's perspective on community in her book, Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts. Keep spreading the love through your community, my friends!