Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What If We All Had Comic Book Symbols?

It should come as no surprise that I often have deep thoughts.

Today's?  Was...what if we all had comic book symbols that floated above our heads?

Like this:

Our comic book symbol could serve as notice to others.  A warning, if you will.  That they might treat us with a little more...patience, kindness, compassion...and maybe pick up the tab for our coffee if they were so moved?  I'm just sayin'.

I'm one of those, "You have MS?  But you look so good!" sorts of folks.  I always say thank you to that, because come on, I'll take it.  It's like when someone says you look nice on a particular day.  If you're me, you only have 6 tops and as many black dress pants.  This is strategy on my part, because when I have more choices, I become overwhelmed in my closet and cannot get out.  Laugh with me, people...it has happened.  So when someone says, "You look nice today!", I want to say, "Thanks!  It's a little something I call 'Tuesday'!"

What I'm saying is, with the exception of bruises from walking into things and scuff marks on my shoes, ms is invisible to those around me.  And I feel comic book symbols are the answer.

If I were bold enough, I would write something like this in mine for all to see:

"I don't remember what it feels like to be well.  Sometimes, it's a major accomplishment just to get out the door in the morning.  I don't want to worry or be anxious, but I don't always feel able to control that.  My hope is in the Lord.  I'm trying my very best.

Thoughts of the comic book symbol concept intensified as I waited for my son to finish soccer practice.  Again with soccer, right?

Someone was joking with him about the way he runs.  I thought to myself, if they only knew his story.  A story that isn't as "over" as we thought it might be, but that's ok.  We're not afraid of facing challenges in this household.  His comic book symbol might say something like:

"I was brain injured.  There was so much I couldn't do and running was on that list.  I worked very hard to overcome many obstacles.  I still struggle with things no one can see.  My bible is always next to me when I wake up in the morning.  My hope is in the Lord.  I'm trying my very best."

I thought of my daughter, who's been struggling through a weird, autoimmune, inflammatory condition that has taken her ability to run with her cross country team.  Her comic book symbol might say something like:

"I'm the 3rd person in my family-of-4 diagnosed with an autoimmune condition.  I'm beyond disappointed and a little scared.  I don't want what my mom has.  I'm super quiet, so I keep it all inside.  I trust that God has it.  My hope is in the Lord.  I'm trying my very best."

Honestly, don't we all have stuff that a comic book symbol would be helpful for?

I think about the list of friends that I - just one person - pray for and all the tough stuff they're dealing with in the midst of their daily grind.  There's illness.  Difficult family challenges.  Financial struggles.  Combinations of all.  Yet each of them gets up in the morning and goes about their day...managing that illness, dealing with that family challenge the best way they know how, working as hard as they can - trying their very best.

It inspires me :)  Often, to the point of happy tears...

Yep, we're all fighting a battle.  Some plates are overflowing more than others.  Some plates are not just overflowing, they've fallen on the floor and cascaded across the entire room.  But...we're only an arm's length, a phone call, an email, a text message, or maybe a social media post away from someone who loves us and would love to help hold the plate, or clean up some of the mess on the floor.

And maybe that someone's comic book symbol would say something like, "All I want to do today is buy coffee for the next person who messages me!"

Talk about inspiration...

Token Meme of Truth

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Flares and Ironic FB Stati

I started with a flare this past Friday.  I have to say, it's really a pretty sneaky one as far as flares typically go for me.  Basically, I was minding my own business, plodding along in my work when I stood from my desk to get bottle-of-water-number-four du jour when...boom.

I fell into my filing cabinets.

I laughed a little and looked down to see if I tripped over anything in particular "or nah", as the teens say.


Bending my head down resulted in electric shocks.  Then stabbing sensations in my face.  Plus that all too familiar disco ball sensation.

So I went home for the day.  There went 2 of my "sick hours".

That was:  "Falling, Stabbing, Spinning Friday"

Over the weekend, I slept more than most people sleep in a week.  It was a wonderful weekend, however.  No one belittled my son during his double header soccer games.  And actually?  He had some great plays, which brought him joy :)

That was:  "Sleeping Saturday/Sunday"

Fast forward to Monday...

I couldn't think.  Like at all.  And the guilt I felt was overwhelming.  The self-doubt and self-bullying thoughts entered my mind and gave me a little bit of thinking ability.  The wrong kind.  All I could focus on was all I was not.  Like "good enough".  Or just "enough", really.  To combat this, I decided to take a walk around the building.  I had amazing conversations with people I ran into (thankfully, not literally) along the way.  And I focused my tasks on work that needed done, but required less thought than usual.  Filing, organizing, stuffing envelopes, receiving papercuts, stuff like that.

That was:  "Mental Fog Monday"

Tuesday was unremarkable.  It was more like a mash up of Sleeping Saturday/Sunday plus Mental Fog Monday, but in a much lesser capacity.

Oh, I did actually have tremors.  All, "This is your egg.  This is your egg, on the floor, because of MS.  Any questions?"

I was sure I was on the downswing.  "Tremor Tuesday".

Today, I posted this deep thought from my morning devotional on the book about how there are times that our "best" isn't enough, but that it doesn't mean we are not enough.  Here's a clip of the devo for all us highly performance driven individuals:

"God wanted me to humble myself before Him and be honest about my limitations."  and "...some days my best isn’t good enough, but it’s all I have to give."

And then I went to work.  I immediately dug in with a huge project that had no option but to be completed today.  Yet, as I worked, I began to lose the ability to read the font on my screen.  I squinted.  I opened.  Squint...open...washed out eyes with cold water (like that would help?)...squinted again...and my screen morphed into like...something similar to this:

The frustration became so great that I sought out a friend to pray with.  I stood in her office, fuming, pressing my fingers into my eyes to see if that helped at all with the pain at least.  Tearing up a little.  Positive I couldn't finish my project.  Replaying the morning devo, but hating it all the same.  Until she interrupted my thought process by asking, "can I be your eyes?"  

Be my eyes?  Hmph.  That was something I hadn't thought of.  I could read numbers from my paper reports out loud, or point at where they were if I couldn't...and she could type.  That could most definitely work!

Together, we worked to finish the project.  I wrapped another few things up that didn't require a computer screen.  Then?  I left work, exchanging the last few hours of my workday with a coma nap.  How am I seeing the screen right now?  Eh, could be better.  But...

Tomorrow is a new day.  A new day to be thankful for what I could accomplish today.  But maybe to be extra thankful for what I couldn't, because it was a moment in which I was reminded of who God has placed all around me to walk with me through this.  And the opportunity for me to put into practice that whole "humble yourself before the Lord" thing that I'm REALLY bad at.  I'm always stuck on "I got it" and "I can do it myself".  Until I can't.  And that just ends up in a lot of unnecessary and misplaced guilt: 

Thanks, Lord!

"If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble." - Ecclesiastes 4:10 NLT