Saturday, February 15, 2014

Some Valentine's Thoughts...

Yesterday I had a realization. A realization about my heart and Valentine's Day. But, before I write about yesterday, let's go back to the prior year.

Last year on Valentine's Day I was in a relationship. I wore a pink dress covered in printed hearts, made an itunes mixtape as a gift, and looked forward to being with my fellow in the time we had etched out in our crazy college schedules. I had high hopes for the time. I hoped to receive a little note of affection and then just enjoy some time together and hold his hand. I didn't expect anything fancy or elaborate. Yet, it still ended up being a bittersweet day. His heart was heavy due to a lot of factors which impacted his words and actions and made my heart heavy too. There were some hurt feelings, sadness, and distance. There was also a sweet gift of a balloon bouquet and affection. Yet, it was a bitter sweet Valentine's Day and I realized something- I had bought into the lie that Valentine's Day is a wonderful day if you are in a relationship and get to spend time with the person you are in a relationship with. I realized that simply isn't true. Bad news, heart ache, and tears are not excluded on Valentine's Day.

Now, flash forward a year later and I have had another realization. I genuinely thought  that I would be completely content to be single this year after the reality hit me that being in a relationship does not automatically make Valentine's Day great. However, yesterday I was caught off guard when I had that ache of longing to share the day with someone. It wasn't even just about Valentine's Day, I think it was more of an ache to share life with someone. To share and celebrate with, to love and support, to respect and cherish, to apologize to and to forgive, to learn from and grow. One thing I learned from last year is that a relationship reveals new levels of my selfishness and flaws. Being in a relationship was incredibly beautiful and joyous all the while being incredibly painful and humbling. Maybe someday I will be able to share all of that and more with someone, but for now, I desire to learn to be content and to not wallow when I feel that ache.

In fact, I realized that one of the greatest ways to spend my time when I feel that ache is to serve. Yesterday I could have chosen to stay by myself and wallow, but by Grace I instead spent many parts of the day serving. I tutored two very excited and distracted 1st graders in the morning, chosen to bless my family in little ways, and photographed an event. In those moments focused on blessing and honoring others I was not focused on myself or that ache in my heart, I was focused on loving others in practical ways.

And, here is what I learned- It isn't about being in a relationship on Valentine's Day or being single. It shouldn't even really be about me. The best way to spend Valentine's Day is to serve others in genuine love. It is taking the focus off of myself and using the skills, gifts, and finances I have to extend love to others. That is what I want to focus on when the future Valentine's Days in life come my way. Even more than that, serving and loving is what I desire to focus on each of the "ordinary" days that pass in between. By God's grace, may I grow in love, humility, patience, and learn to serve and bless those I interact with daily.    


Saturday, February 1, 2014

When a Fibro flare rears its ugliness...

Well, it happened. Thursday the full force of a Fibro flare reared its ugliness. And, believe me, it has been ugly.

I believe that something is off in my back which is making my Fibro go crazy everywhere else in my body. (Hopefully I will be able to get in to see a good Chiropractor on Monday.) I am in more pain than I've been in, well, in a really long time. On the one hand, I am incredibly thankful that it has been so long since I've had a flare like this. On the other hand, it is slightly terrifying.

It is hard to explain, but I realized that having a flare like this brings up fear. This isn't a flare that I've been able to sleep off or stretch out of or simply wait for an afternoon for it to pass. No, this is a painful flare that has lasted three days so far. It also isn't one of the "lesser" flares that simply makes life a little bit more difficult. No, this is one of the flares in which I must fight to get out of bed, fight to accomplish anything, and fight to think clearly. All of that is why it is slightly terrifying. Because, what if it doesn't go away?

When a bad flare like this comes along it also brings up a lot of emotions and makes me wonder if it will leave or how long it will take to leave. I wonder what changed to bring it about and how much it will impact life if it sticks around for awhile. It makes me cry when I snap at people I love when they try to give me a hug or a pat on the shoulder because I am in so much pain. It brings up anger towards doctors who tell me they can "cure" me and give me a speech about positive thinking. It brings up the pain that is physical and the pain that is emotional that I have walked through over these past four years since I began dealing with this. And, I wonder, if I'm honest, if someday someone will be a part of my life that is willing to share life and love with me knowing that there might be days that his touch causes pain even when extended towards me in love. All those things are stirred up during times like this.

The past few days have been hard, but I am clinging to Grace and choosing to hope. Today I choose to remember how far I've come and how well I am doing compared to where I once was. Goodness! I mean, I am attending college full time, working part time, learning, living, being creative, loving, and more. So, today I take a deep breath and remember Grace. Yes, I give thanks for Grace in my life.

Here are a few things I am thankful for today:

-My math tutor and how patient he was this morning as I made so many basic mistakes in math due to not processing as well since I'm in pain.
-Making 100% on a online quiz for a class despite being in so much pain. (I'm still fighting to get good grades even with this flare!)
-My Dad kindly driving me today.
-Having tomorrow to rest more.
-My blue heating pad. (We're spending a lot of quality time together.)
-Smiles on my siblings' faces.
-God's continued faithfulness in the midst of all of this.