As I write this blog post, I am deeply hurting. My pain is both emotional and physical. Tonight I had a bad fall, and my physical hurt has only revealed my emotional and spiritual pain.
Most of us living with a disabled family member regularly experience emotional pain … pain centered around the realization that things aren’t as they “should” be.
My husband and I deal with our pain by ignoring it. It’s not that we pretend it doesn’t exist. We have simply chosen to fix our eyes on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things “ (Phil 4) rather than focusing on the challenges, fear and difficulties caused by Ben’s disability.
This weekend, I feel like all of my physical and emotional resolve came crumbling down.
I started a new full-time job on Wednesday. A job that God has graciously given me to provide for our family while my husband continues to pursue Social Security disability benefits. The newness of my job and its permanence overwhelmed me. After three days of working full-time, I came home and burst into tears.
The next morning, I woke with a sinus infection. Fever and sinus pressure overwhelmed my body and left me weak. Physical pain overshadowed my emotional pain.
As the week began, I doubled my resolve to focus on the positives. On Sunday, with a raging sinus infection, I baked 2 loaves of crescent rolls, one chocolate cake, 5 pounds of fudge (to freeze for later), a carrot cake, and one killer sausage pizza!
WHY? Why did I work so hard? I don’t know if I was trying to escape the physical and emotional pain that I was feeling, or if I was really just trying to enjoy one of my hobbies. I like cooking (and I like eating what I’ve cooked!) When I cook, I become “Mom.” I do all of the things that Godly women are “supposed” to do … provide for my kids, make nutritious homemade food for them, save money by spending less on pre-packaged meals … cooking is something I can do to feel “normal,” to pretend that our unusual family situation and Ben’s disability does not really exist.
But then I fell. While carrying the crock-pot from the garage into the kitchen, I tripped over Grizzle and slammed into the ground, breaking the fall with both knees and one elbow (and shattering the crock-pot in the process). And I am in physical PAIN.
“God, WHY?” is the cry of my heart. “This is too much!” Physical pain reveals the emotional and spiritual pain.
I’m dog-sitting Grizzle, a lovable bear of a dog, because my neighbor is away and had a need. But deep-down, I’m also watching Grizzle because I know one day soon I will have needs from my neighbor. I will need her to take my children after school while I’m working. I will need her to take the kids when Ben is having seizures and it helps him to have quiet in the house. Because my needs are so many, I did not feel that I could say no to her one simple request to watch Grizzle. And now I am in pain (did I mention that Grizzle weighs more than I do and tripping over him is no small feat?)
Physical pain reveals emotional and spiritual pain. “Why did God allow me to fall and get hurt when I was just trying to serve my friend, especially knowing how many times she’s served our family?” “Why did I get a painful, wearying sinus infection after my first week of work instead of being able to enjoy the weekend with my children and husband?” “Why did Ben start having seizures the very first day I went back to work? Why did he continue having seizures, requiring that he get even more rest, when I will not be there to help him?”
My pain leads me to ask “Why.” My faith leads me to ask “Who.”
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.