Today I was eating a taco salad when my husband pointed out that I ate a leaf of spinach. I froze, not because of that one leaf, but I had forgotten to look up how much vitamin K was in the chili's kidney beans at the bottom.
My breathing has been a bit more winded lately. I was talking to a co-worker who asked me if I was ok since I had begun to wheeze. She was having her own uh-oh moment for me.
I woke up the other day with leg cramps. Since I don't know when these clots moved from my legs to my lungs, these cramps caused me to jar from waking casually to waking up like the fire alarm had gone off. "What if this is a clot????"
Because I am fairly sure that, despite my fear to the contrary, they really were just muscle spams, I didn't say anything. Later that day I had scratched my leg on something and suddenly felt blood dripping down my leg. Figured my blood wasn't going to make blood clots if it bled that well.
But this seems to be where I have landed...from the shock of the fragility of life to the fear of the uncertainty of it. I remind myself that panic is unnecessary, though the thoughts birthed of fear come anyway.
When I read those verses in Philippians, I feel inadequate. Isn't that dreadful? Not only do I compare my troubles minor to those Christians suffering then in times of persecution, but my prayer isn't enough. These small fears I cannot release. I hold onto them much as the chains that held Paul. I am conscious of watchful eyes observing my faith, and lack of, and I feel certain to be letting someone down as these fears, new fears, or recycled fears rush me.
I do not allow those fears fo overtake me. At least I can do that little thing. I can allow the fear to visit but not to move in. I refocus, check the vitamin K of beans, use my inhaler, get some rest, remember that ultimately God is in charge. Whether things go well or go poorly, whether it goes my way or not, He is with me. Fear, or specifically my desire to control my existence, will not be enough to keep things going "my way." Besides, it has been proven to me, repeatedly, that God's way is preferable to mine. Trusting this evidence seems to be challenging though.
When I was in the hospital, I was following a woman who chronicled her journey with her very prematurely born daughter on Facebook. Her daughter was very ill, had been since birth. Her lungs hadn't developed well. She was on a machine to help her breath. The medications had swollen her tiny body. The doctors were weaning her medications and oxygen when a new infection took hold of her. I prayed for Halle's peace as much as for her mother, Amy.
One evening, I thought to myself that I hadn't read any of Amy's updates lately. With dread, I went to her page to find that Halle had passed.
The amazing thing about her journey had been Amy's faith. She knew that Halle was a gift from God that she might only have for a short time, unless He chose to heal her lungs. She believed that He could do that. And she wrote that even if He didn't, God was still good. She wrote throughout Halle's short life, and even after her death, about God's goodness & faithfulness. Her posts encouraged me to remember His character. A few days after Halle's passing, I sent Amy my condolences and expressed my gratitude for that encouragement during my own health issues.
This post is already too long, but the point is, we have a "cloud of witnesses" cheering us and encouraging us to persevere, but we also have witnesses watching us. They hope to garner strength from another's suffering, hope from another's journey.
I don't know how to do this well. I want to take the cop out that Paul was an apostle and I am so not. My concerns all seem so insignificant and yet daunting. I feel weak and needy, but I remain stubbornly fixed on the journey. Not so unlike that Paul guy. Maybe.