There is a haze lurking overhead clouding rational thinking. Thoughts wander back to times when my body was unencumbered, and I felt nothing was out of my grasp. Maybe that was an unrealistic thought, but it is how youth and inexperience protect one from the somewhat harsh realities of growing older.
Coming to terms with chronic health conditions is perplexing. There are days when everything goes just right. The sun is shining, overhead the skies are a crystal blue, and I feel strong. At these times, I can recall living my life on my terms without any of the what-ifs. Running on hiking trails and listening to the squirrels chattering above me in the treetops, I watch my footing as I leap over rocks that litter my path. Super Woman! I can do this! Life is bold and beautiful!
Just as the rocks scattered on the trail caused me to reassess my direction, so it is with my health. When things take a downward turn for seemingly unknown reasons, it throws my sense of balance off. What have I done wrong? Why is this happening now? I question myself; I question my choices. Brilliant sunlight now becomes dimmed by clouds of uncertainty. Life slows to a crawl as I realize I have very little control as to how the body reacts to any assault that may be thrown at it.
Life is precious, and I try to savor the moments offered to me. During these low points, when one roadblock is cleared, and confidence is within my grasp, there appears another obstacle which blocks my way. I am being tested again. How do I push forward when there seems to be no smooth path ahead, and life seems to be a series of re-evaluations and detours?
I look to my healers but they, also, are in need of healing. They are worn and tired. The light in their eyes has been dimmed by the sadness they have witnessed and the subservience they have endured. They struggle, as I do, looking for hope, looking to restore a sense of purpose and joy to their calling. I keep them in my prayers.
My search leads me deep into my thoughts as I try to make sense of it all. I look for signs given by my Creator. As I walk alongside a meandering creek, beams of sunlight are hitting the surface at just the precise angle, causing innumerable glittering diamonds of light to burst forth. I stand in awe.
I spot a pair of this year’s fawns nibbling eagerly on a patch of lush green grass. They are unaware of my presence as they are self-absorbed in the task at hand. Their hunger is being satisfied by what the Creator has laid before them, and they are content.
Butterflies, whose wings seemed to have been painted with an artist’s brush and palette, are flittering about finding sustenance in flowers that remain before the bountiful season of summer changes into the crisp days of fall. They are not concerned with what may happen in the coming days but only what is happening in the present. For now, life is good. A lesson I try to grasp.
Among a thicket of brambles, there stands an imposing sycamore tree. The many outstretched branches that form its immense canopy reach upward to the sun, drawing in the life-sustaining energy being offered. Its bark is a pattern of whites and tans that resemble a camouflage pattern. It seems to be announcing to the world that it stands ready to do battle against any foe. Illuminated against the background of the azure blue sky, the tree stands majestically. Despite all that it has endured, it stands straight and tall; its roots are planted firmly in the earth.
The old sycamore welcomes me to come closer and I stretch to wrap my arms around its broad girth. In this simple act, I receive a sense of calmness, strength, and clarity. I am being watched over as is all the Lord’s creation. I am ready to move forward. Light has returned.
We each have our own “sycamore tree” awaiting us that will give us respite and hope. The task I place before you — don’t give up the search for it. It’s there waiting for you.
“All truth waits in all things.”
– Walt Whitman
Michele Luckenbaugh is a patient.
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