I’ve been fighting myself all day over whether or not to write this. Truthfully, it’s a nonstory, definitely anticlimactic. But I guess I feel that when God allows “nothing” to happen, and we actually notice it, that should be mentioned, too.
Let me go way back, first. Death of others has been a scary thing for me since I was a kid. For some reason I had terrible nightmares as a child. I swear I watched my parents die a thousand times in my sleep between the ages of six and twelve and I thought about it even when I was awake. In my dreams I also remember progressing in time, waking up within the dream to a world where my mom had already been gone a month and seeing my dad live without her. It’s going to sound weird, but: before I went to sleep I used to pray and ask God that my parents would live “at least until I’m 8, 9, 11…” and I would ask not to dream. Obviously, I hated to dream.
Anyway, death became very real to me even though I didn’t go through much real death. And I got to a point where I didn’t think about my own, because, ever practical, I always realized that I would be the last person to care if I were to die. It’s a strange thing to explain that I have two feelings that seem to contradict each other: I really don’t care if I die; but I do want to live.
I know that this isn’t it, but this surely means something or we wouldn’t be here. In other words, I don’t think it’s my job to accept Jesus then keel over. My life on earth must still be meaningful even after I get on the path to forever. The Lord is not wasteful. He is due glory.
But back to the point. I haven’t thought I was going to die many times. There were a few times in the RMI when, walking to school, I would kind of want a coconut to fall on my head. That sounds, and is, terrible, but it’s completely true. (By the way, that really is a thing that causes death there. Think of a coconut falling from a hundred foot tall coconut tree). Then there was one time when I rode back to the capital on the open ocean and, in my 24 hour ride in the hull, it was so rough that I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it home. But even then, I just asked God that it be quick.
And there’s the thing that brought me to the keyboard tonight. Again, this will be anticlimactic. Over a month ago I started running. A few weeks in, I got this weird numbness/coldness in my left knee. I thought it was probably due to the running so I stopped for a little and figured it would go away. Fast forward a month and I’m still going to sleep every night with a numb left knee/part of my thigh, that part of my leg is a little cold, and there’s these really weird electrical feeling sensations emanating from it. To further freak me out, my left arm starts feeling similarly. Tack onto that the fact that my left eyelid has twitched intermittently for over five years and I’m thinking I need Doc’s advice on this one. So I get an appointment with a neurologist.
Last week, I go to my appointment. Doc is fantastic: this older, clearly wise, gentleman. He gets me to do a lengthy list of various things after he listens to my symptoms. And when he sits me down to tell me what we’re going to do, I expected it all along…but not at the same time. Doc says that it could be a number of things. It could be a bone spur, a pinched nerve….or MS (Multiple Sclerosis) or you know, a brain tumor or something. He goes on to tell me that MS is the number one disabler of young people right now, that because of the left eye being added in, it fits the symptoms. Doc says that advances have been made, but not to look anything up on the internet until we know that’s what it is.
He says, hopefully, I call you and tell you everything is fine. How will we know? Well, I have to get a full blood panel done, anddddd an MRI of my brain and spine! Yeah! He set the appointment for that night, but I have to go home and come back. I tell myself as I leave that I might as well not freak out until I know that something is wrong but…did not have much luck and instead fought back crying the whole way home. Yes, I wanted to cry because I maybe might be sick. Possibly. But isn’t fear sometimes worse than knowing? Sometimes.
So I tell my best friend. I tell her what it could be. And I tell her (and myself) that if it’s the worst, that it’s okay. That it’ll be okay not because I’ll be okay but because this life in the flesh isn’t forever anyway, right?
I go back and get the MRI. The technician makes tons of jokes about how he’s losing his hair. And it takes way longer than it looks like in the House episodes. I’m talking almost two hours in that magnetic coffin. But I do get to be injected with that cool contrast material and the visual of an inky brain was quite amusing to me. What didn’t turn out to be as amusing was the huge bruise that I’ve had on my arm for the past week.
I leave and the piece of paper that describes the bad reactions I could have from the contrast tells me that the results will come back in about four days. Four days is not very long, but it is. So I spend four days trying to accept the possibility that I could be okay, or that my life could be different, or I just might die. So many times I felt sure that it would be the worst. Why not me? And (this sounds so dramatic to me as I type) I tried to accept not having kids, not loving someone like I really want to. Because I thought that, even if it wasn’t the absolute worst, that I didn’t want to make someone love me who I’d leave early.
But! I got an email this morning to check my “patient portal.” Believe that my hands were shaking as I tried to log in. Doc says my bloodwork is normal, there’s no sign of MS or lesions on my brain or spine. I thought I would float away. I called my best friend, told her. Then I drove home from class trying not to be dramatic about it all. But instead I’m trying really hard not to cry while I’m pumping gas and hoping that no one around me notices. When I’m done I call my mom: “Hey, I’m okay, first. But just so you know, kind of went to a neurologist early this week and had an MRI and he thought it might be bad but I’m fine so…no worries!” Add in a nervous laugh at the end. Haha. Everything is okay.
And my mom is like, “Honey?—“
I know you might think that God didn’t do anything, that either I was really sick or I wasn’t. And there’s no denying that we really never know God’s ways. But miracles do happen. Sometimes He does do that. And when and why are anybody’s guess. I certainly don’t think He allowed me to be healthy because of anything I’ve done. For that matter, if you are one of the ones He allowed to be sick, I can only say that there must be a reason for it. And I know that barely makes it better. I know that God has refrained from saving me from a few things in my life that I wished He would have, unrelated to health. But I also believe that none of my pain is wasted, ever, and that there is nothing outside of His sovereign hand.
I just think that God is so ridiculously good. That He has no reason to love me this much. But He does. I feel like this tiny little thing in His arms, that nothing can touch me if He doesn’t want it to, that even if He lets darkness in, that it is for my good. He is jealous for me, He knew me before I was born. He knew me. And He knew what I would feel this week, what I would feel today. He has always given me enough, even when it didn’t feel like it at the time. So here’s just a thanks, to a God who can rightfully allow any calamity to befall me, that He has withheld, at least at this time, this one thing. Because hallelujah it feels good.