I never used to understand why there were so many people writing online about their “health journeys.” I understand better, now, I think. It’s not so much about wanting others to hear, but about trying to process things yourself. And maybe a little about wanting to be heard, actually; being sick can be very isolating and make you feel very lonely and misunderstood. Do we want sympathy? Maybe; what human doesn’t want a little sympathy?
But, for one certain thing, it’s not because I think it’s in any way interesting to anyone else. It’s not. Nor will it be scientific or instructional or informative. It’s venting, that’s all, and trying so straighten out one’s ability to meet it head on.
It’s a bit peculiar, I suppose, but I’ve always felt like this was a spiritual problem more than a physical problem. I mean, yes, my body is physically affected. But when I first started getting sick, I though, “well, here we go; you knew this was coming.” I mean, I knew I couldn’t let go of school, knew I couldn’t let go of perfectionism, or try-hardism, or trying to prove myself as good enough. There were warning signs that was a lesson I needed to learn, and I tried to learn it, but I couldn’t. I knew it would take something more drastic, and isn’t this just?
And I’ve always felt resigned going to the doctors. I’ve never felt like they could really fix anything. Just hoops I have to jump through. But really, I’m not going to get better until I learn. I mean, I’ve cried out for mercy, and for wisdom for the doctors. But I’ve just never been able to really convince myself that my REAL problem is my perplexing health issues.
I’ve schemed a little about “rehab,” about fixing my problems. But they’ve been flat on the lips. I’ve tried data collection, which “seems” smart, but for me seemed pointless. Collecting physical data on what you know to be a spiritual problem is not going to be particularly helpful.
I don’t mean that in the sense of “my problem does not involve physical atoms or biology.” I mean, I don’t know – I think we have a pretty poor imagination regarding how the spiritual world and the physical world interact. But I think the point of it is, the real point of it, is that I do need to learn something that is very hard for me to learn.
People talk about making “accountability” pacts with each other, but that still doesn’t ring true to me. I don’t really think we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, discipline ourselves into being “better” or “more spiritual.” I think all we can really do is recognize our lack and seek God. And when I think about how to do that, I don’t think it’s about devotionals or the proper frame of mind or attitude (gratitude, guilt, etc). What I think of is Jesus: withdrawing to the wilderness to pray.
It is tempting to think that changing my diet and aggressively sticking to an exercise regimen will be helpful in alleviating my symptoms. But if it’s not of faith, what will it profit? To me, this is not about saying “everything is of faith, so never mind the action.” The point is like what James says: faith leads to action. Words (or actions) without faith profits little, and “faith” without action profits little.
I do think I can’t just keep sitting around moping. I just think that it has to be in a conscience choice to chose things as more valuable than school, not in a desperate attempt to selvedge school. I just think the point can’t be in hoping that an AIP diet or fasting or whatever is going to “fix” me. It has to be about, for lack of a better explanation, about withdrawing to the wilderness.
Into the quietness. Away from the people who tell you what you are supposed to be all about, about what is approved. And into the presence of God, who so much more often speaks in a still, small voice rather than the whirlwind or earthquake.
And I guess this is a slightly lengthy introduction to part of that for me, which is writing. I write a lot all the time, but I have a lot on my plate right now, and a lot to think about. I guess I just want to set aside this place to remind myself carefully (over the next 6 weeks, at least), that this is not about the “doing” but rather the “being.” To spend time looking at my thoughts and heart, and to try to seek and listen and pay attention to what God is doing.
I really want to commit to trying to taking care of my body, a temple long neglected. I really do think that exercising and giving my digestive system a break would be good steps. But I want to stay focused on the fact that those things are not enough, and aren’t the point. That they’re ancillary to the fact that I need to seek God. But that claiming to be “seeking” without really putting anything on the line is just faking it. It’s one thing to say, “Oh, I know this happened to me to get me to chose something other than being good enough in school. I know this happened to get me to listen to God.” But if you don’t actually make the chose to do the other, to say, oh well, school, I’m going to attend this temple–of what use are all those “knows” to you?
That I have to do, yes, but that it really, really matters why and how. And that I need to stop obsessing with the raw desperation to do and attend deliberately to the why and how. And I, personally, cannot do that without writing. I need to do–I need to not kinda, sorta, a little bit plan on doing. I need to commit, I need to follow through, I need to do. But it cannot be divorced from the other, and I need to do both or it will turn terribly bitter and wasted.
Lord, be with me.