Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Still Standing

Hello, strangers! It's been four months. Holy cow. I've missed you!! (So much so that I don't even care how weird that sounds!)

Usually when I go this long between blogs, I just choose to be mysterious and let y'all assume I have been doing something ridiculously time consuming and awesome. This time, I decided to give an explanation. I guess this blog has been a long time coming...I was just trying to become brave enough to write it.

You see, I've been sick. I would tell you more about it but
A) I really don't want a pity party, nor need one. (Sitting in a neurological research facility with the ability to speak and walk and eat almost makes you feel like nothing is wrong with you at all.) and
B) There's not a whole lot at this point to tell. I will say that we have been actively trying to make a diagnosis since February, and I've gone through so many specialists and tests, I am beginning to feel like there is a small possibility that I may be secretly starring in the next episode of House. (And if that's actually the case, sorry I haven't been blogging y'all. I've been doing something mysterious and awesome.)

The truth is, in the beginning, I really was just too busy to write. I had set aside Thursdays as "blogging days," and when my Thursdays starting filling up with doctor appointments and lab work, I never actually got around to writing anything. After enough Thursdays passed, I started to feel like it would be awkward just to jump right back into it. (Which now I realize is dumb, because that is exactly what I always do.) There was really only one thing that I needed to say, but I wasn't ready to talk about it yet. So I waited for the right timing.
I am not too ashamed to tell you out front that I was selfishly waiting to write you the I-was-sick-but-look-at-me-now-i'm-all-better-hallelujah blog. And I am also not too ashamed to tell you that I started to get really bitter that I wasn't able to write it. If I'm being perfectly honest, forgive me for saying I still wish that it was the blog I was writing you today instead of this one.

I am not better. But I am also no longer bitter. That's why I know that the timing is right.


I've enjoyed running for a long, long time now. I had never really considered it one of my identifiers, though. You know how some people describe themselves in one word: soldier, doctor, mother, blogger, etc. etc. "Runner" just never seemed to fit for me. That is, of course, until I moved to Missouri. I found myself with lots and lots of time and absolutely no activities to fill that time, so I ran. One day, I realized that I was running around an empty park trail in the snow. Happily, I might add. And on purpose. I figured then and there that I probably had to own up to my new identifier.

Running suits my personality because I am strongly competitive. I like to compete. I like to win. I like to set goals and surpass them. I am a typical first child that way, I guess. I remember sharing an experience with you about a time I nearly killed myself running so I wouldn't look weak in front of a group of soldiers. While I still struggle with that person from time to time, I am happy to say that I am learning to do the best with the body I have been given. But I won't lie to you and tell you that this acceptance has come easily. Anyone who runs regularly could tell you how disheartening it is to see your pace time slow from 7...to 8...to 9...to 10. I have chosen not to run longer distances right now because the recovery time is a bit too taxing for my body. ("Stay-at-home-mom" is one of my even bigger identifiers. I didn't want to run so much that I had to add broken/boring in front of it.) This worked for a while, until it didn't.
More disheartening than the pace time, it is so hard to see your mileage drop from 13...to 6...to 5...to 3...to 2.5. I kept on trucking as best as I could with a smile forced on my face until I realized once in the middle of a 2.5 jaunt, I either needed to slow down or stop and walk.
I was furious.
I was mad at myself. I was mad at my body. I was mad at everyone walking around me on that track like they weren't hurting and in the midst of personal defeat. I was mad at the stupid, extremely well-educated and capable doctors who weren't finding the right answers to help me. I was mad at God for not healing me and letting me write my hallelujah blog.

I think that I might have lied to myself somewhere along the lines about what a Christian should look like when they are struggling. I always thought that good, God-fearing girls should cry alone in their closets and then walk out into the world singing and dancing to Pharrell's Happy song. (And you got bonus points if you could find some minions on the street to join you.)
Furthermore, I thought that if you didn't act this way, then you weren't living right. I felt that a person who is victorious should live victoriously at all times. Don't get me wrong. It was never an issue about whether or not I would struggle---all people will struggle. But I thought I would be able to handle things with an attitude of grace that would help me overcome anything this world could throw at me...and then somehow, my struggles would just meld seamlessly into my life rendering it almost totally unaltered. Just a hiccup. Because I'm a warrior.
And for the past 10 months, this lie cost me a lot of grief. Then I found the truth:

Ephesians 6:18 King James Version (KJV)

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Sometimes a warrior is called to fight. And sometimes a warrior is beat six ways from Sunday. And then he is called to stand back up.

Because sometimes my standing back up looks just as victorious as doling a mighty blow, regardless of whether or not I have forced a smile while doing so. Standing back up, even through tears, says hope is still in me.

Now when I go running, I keep the pace a bit slower and more comfortable. If I have to walk, then I slow down to a walk. But then I regain my strength and I start running again. You see, I used to think it a discouragement if I had to quit. I used to think that if I quit running, then I was admitting defeat to myself and for my body. As it turns out, I can find victory in stopping too...because as long as I keep standing, I will find the strength to start up again.

And just so you know, the day we figure all of this stuff out, I am going to write the MESS out of my I-was-sick-but-look-at-me-now-i'm-all-better-hallelujah blog. And I'll post a video of me and some minions dancing to Pharrell's Happy song, too!