Monday, July 5, 2010

Firecrackers, Tea and Loneliness

As I write this, the light from my bedside lamp is shining down on my computer, the fan is causing my hair to wave slightly, and my hands are shaking slightly from the all too keen sensation of pain.

Yesterday was the 4th of July. A time of celebration. A time of rejoicing in both the freedoms that our founding fathers fought for, and the freedom we have in Christ!
But yesterday was also the worst day in my gradual downward spiral of health (next to today that is) that started nearly two weeks ago. Of all the days that I had to be up and going for more than 15 hours, the 4th was that day. Great worship, a wonderful sermon, and a sweet lunch with my family. That was great. The party was nice, but of all my girlfriends, only Liz Kane was there. And...she had her beau with her, so I felt at times like the third wheel.
That would normally not be a problem, but, you see, for once, I felt lonely. And needy. I wanted someone there for me, and I didn't really have my girlfriends there to lean on.
Then, I started feeling so sick and physically unstable that I couldn't make it to the fireworks. That night was the first time in my whole life that I've missed them.

Exhausted, in pain, lonely, and slightly depressed, I sat for most of the evening wishing someone would call or pop on over, even to just say hi. *shrug* Oh well. Life doesn't always go so well, or as well as one would hope.

When my doctor in Cleveland gave me a personality test, I tested positive for 9 of the 12 possible personality disorders, aka mood swings and chemical imbalances, which made him quite cautious about which meds to prescribe. He also warned me that such times of elation or depression would happen, so I'm not surprised. It's just....well, how do I describe feels hollow and overwhelmed at the same time. Without care and feeling, yet desperately in need, all at once. I handled it quite well considering. I sat, curled up on the couch eating ice cream, watching a murder mystery, sitting with my cellphone next to me praying for anyone to call, and my bible.

What helped get me through that evening and night were the words I read in the bible. Now, some of you know that I hear the Holy Spirit in my head. It talks to me, and will sometimes take on a sarcastic or parental tone when I don’t do what it’s urging me to. But tonight, holding onto my bible, I asked myself the question “Where should I even start to read?” HS (the Holy Spirit) said “Jeremiah 4:12”… Right. I went to it. It was in the middle of a thought, and I heard a little laugh in my head and HS responded to my confusion with “Try Jeremiah 4:11-12 and 14”. This time, it made sense, although I was not happy about what it said.
“At this time the people and Jerusalem will be told, “A scorching wind from the barren heights in the desert blows toward my people, but not to winnow or to cleanse, a wind too strong from that comes from me. Now I pronounce my judgment against them….”Oh Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts?”

I know, right? It was kind of harsh, especially considering my slight devastation at that point already. But then it struck me. There were definitely some areas of my life that I have kept hidden from God’s sight. But more to the point, I was bemoaning the fact that I was alone and hurting, without thinking that I have the ultimate love letter and reality checker in my hands, the Bible. The fact that it comes from the most steadfast lover in history is also something to note. And here I was saying I was all alone. Yes, I wasn’t sitting and talking with a friend, using that rare, vulnerable time to bear my soul to them. I wasn’t watching fireworks with my family. I wasn’t even happy. But I was surrounded by the Love of my God. How long would I harbor the wicked thoughts that denied his existence in my life? For that is truly what one does when they say “I am alone”.
Once I had my head wrapped around that, the Holy Spirit seemed to place his hand on my shoulder and quietly said “Jonah 3:9”. Flipping slowly, I came to the chapter and verse, and read “Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” As I read that, relief flooded by body. I knew that my God had turned his anger from me, wishing only to comfort me and show me I am loved. For when I am fulfilled in Christ, He can use me to show others the works He can do in them.

I smiled. Only a little smile, but a smile nonetheless. I still wasn’t free of my loneliness. But God had sufficiently reminded me that no matter what, He is always there to hold me, to shield me, and to help me take that next step forward, because it is sometimes so hard to even see the hope of moving forward at all. He reminded me of what I am normally like, a person who isn’t easily put down, someone who gets fixated on something and won’t back down and won’t give up. It’s a good thing to remember.

So, I ate another spoon of ice cream, and remembered that my dad had asked me to pull in my car from the street (where I had it parked for the party). I sighed and unbundled myself, grabbed my keys and slowly moved out to where my car was parked. As I was about to turn off the ignition, the next song on the Sara Groves cd I had in the player came on. The first words were “It’s going to be alright”.

I sat in that car for the next five minutes, quietly listening to her soulful voice sing, “I can tell by your eyes that you’re not getting any sleep. And you try to rise above it. But you feel you’re sinking in too deep. Oh, I believe. It’s going to be alright. I believe you’ll outlive this pain in your heart. And you’ll gain such strength from what is tearing you apart. Oh I believe, it’s going to be alright. When some time has past us, and the story can be told, it will mirror the strength and the courage of your soul. Oh, I believe, I believe, I believe. I did not come here to offer you cliché’s. I will not pretend to know of all your pain. Just when you cannot, then I will hold out faith, for you. It’s going to be alright. It’s going to be alright.”

As I sat there, tears started to form and I found myself holding on to the steering wheel of my car, body limp, a few hot, wet tears sliding down my cheeks. I was in so much pain, but it all seemed to hover on the edge of perception. “I believe you’ll outlive this pain….” And I did. I believed it. Just when I needed most to hear those words, they were poured out from a fellow believers heart with all their love and conviction. “I will.”
Such powerful words.

And I did.

And I am.

I got back inside the house, my fingers trailing on the banister, my hand unsteady on the doorknob as I left my keys in my room, my knees on the verge of buckling my whole weary way back to the blanket on the couch. I pulled by feet up beneath me, poured out as many pain killers and muscle relaxers as it was safe to take, and downed them with my half-empty cup of water. One click and a Poirot murder mystery was playing on my TV, and my hand rested gently on the Bible in my lap.

I can’t say that I’ll never feel that way again. But I can say that the Lord is good, and, as always, he stepped in right when I was at the end of myself, when I could handle no more of the pressures that my diseases put upon me. All the emotions I had pent up had momentarily broken out of their nice, secure box, the box where I didn’t have to touch them, or feel them, or deal with them. I will always know they are there, and I will usually be able to say “I am happy and content”. But today was, as there always is, the exception.

I will be seeing the doctor tomorrow to discuss why my treatments haven’t made the improvements he had intended, and why I have had such a sudden downturn in health. He may have answers, he may not. But that is in God’s hands, and I won’t try to push his timing in revealing them.
My prayer is that I can continue to see God as a personable, loving God, always with me, and not shelve him, put on standby until Sunday morning. I Love Him. More than I can say, and last night was just a small testament as to why. He is my savior and my comforter, and a comforter is what I most needed at that moment.

Needless to say, I will be mostly bedridden and/or tied to my house. If we were going to make plans for this week, I must apologize and sadly cancel them. I am barely able to walk, let alone do anything out and about. What we could do instead is have time together at my house. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate…a movie and a bag of popcorn. A couch and two curled up bodies laughing over a woman who looked like her dog. It doesn't not matter. But it's when I am cooped up for so long and when I am in such pain that I am in the greatest want for a friend.

You don’t even have to call before you stop by, although I’d hope that you would *chuckle*. Even a quick “hello” on the phone would be a nice thing to brighten my day. Because for me, I am seeing long, painful days of sipping hot tea, eating pain killers like candy, watching many a murder mystery and reading a few good books. Your name would be a welcome addition to that list.

Thank you all for reading this…I know it is a bit long, but I feel that you deserve honesty, and I am beginning to realize that I can give such honesty without fear. I trust you all enough to admit when my defenses are down, and am slowly getting to the point where I can admit that I need someone to weather the journey with me.
This isn't a plea for your pity or a raft of letters or visits or calls. I'm just saying that it would be nice to keep in touch with you guys, and right now, any physical, face to face interaction will have to be at my house, because my body won't easily let me do anything else. If you go to all the effort to make it over here, then my day will definitely be blessed.

Again, thank you guys for reading.
I love you all.



Ellie's Blog said...

Oh dear Rae! I so wish I had known this earlier. Could you FB McK your number so I can call and schedule a get-together? I'm not even going to pretend to know what you're going through, because I don't. But I want you to know that I'm here for you, and I love you SO much. God does have a plan in store for you and He will bring it into fruition. Much love, Ellie

RaeLynn Hitchings said...

You saw my email reply to this, I hope. But again, thank you for your concern. :) McKenna hopefully gave you my number, as did I in the email.
And one doesn't have to go through everything in life to be able to relate, or at least show compassion, as you have been a great example of. God is definitely working in my life, and the past few days have actually been great catalysts for His work.
Your continued prayers would be greatly appreciated =D
I love you!

Yousuf P.M said...

Great..!!...I really felt ur emotions in it..hats off :)


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