Sunday, April 18, 2010

There's Joy In The Journey, Even When It's Hard

Just wanted to pop in and write here that recovery is happening. So slowly. But the moments when I feel able to focus on life outside of my birth injury are getting a little bit more frequent. I still deal with pain and probably will for several more weeks until the seton is out and things have healed (please God, NO complications). But I'm learning to deal with it.

I have to say though that there is one book that is walking alongside me on this journey in a way no other book could. And I'd recommend it to anyone dealing with health challenges that make one wonder if healing will ever happen. I know, for me, sometimes when the pain is really bad and the wound looks so terrible, I confess that I begin to wonder if healing will happen or even if my life will be taken from me. My birth injury and the resulting chronic infection is not life threatening at this point, but that is still a fear I battle at times when I look at my little boy and long to live forever so that I can always be here for him. And you know what? That's where this book comes in.

It's written by someone who has faced horrific injury that stole her ability to function below her shoulders. But it's also written by someone who has been used mightily for decades now to encourage others, to share with others a beautiful faith in Jesus, and to make tangible differences in the lives of folks with disabilities all over the world. Her name is Joni Earickson Tada, and the book is her memoir called, The God I Love.

She writes with honesty, openness, vulnerability, and she gives hope even when the parts of her story ebb at their lowest points. Truly, she is a person who makes the phrase "beauty out of ashes" totally make sense. Out of the depths of her pain and struggle one sees indescribable beauty formed by Someone who could only be called a Master Creator.

I'm going to be sad when the book is over, for it's been my companion during the often painful process of dealing with daily bodily functions, wound care, and the ever present sitz bath in iodine-laced water. It's a special book, for I'm a melancholy person easily given to throwing lavish pity parties where I can fantasize about all the horrid things I'd like to say to the midwife and OB who caused this, and yet this book stops all of that in me and incredibly turns my focus to gratitude for all that I'm learning through this. Weird but true. I hate what has happened to me, and yet I'm thankful for the suffering that is working to change me and grow me in ways that a non-injured life could not do in me.

The other thing I totally appreciate about this book is that Joni is extremely open about the fact that she didn't suddenly reach a plateau in her suffering that allowed her to be perfectly happy about everything. She's clear that despite the fact her story has changed many lives that she still wrestles with negative thoughts that would seek to creep in and take control of her whole mind and heart.

I needed to hear that. Because one moment I am feeling hopeful or grateful or some other positive trait. And the next I'm ready to wish a horrible death for the midwife, financial and reputation ruin for the OB, and recognition by the whole world that something very wrong happened at that hospital. It's a crazy pendulum to be on. I originally thought that I would stop feeling that way....once the hospital listened to me, once I got surgery, once I got to seek justice, once...and the list goes on. But in almost 16 months I can say that every time I think I've arrived at some inner resolution that another area needing to be resolved becomes apparent. I wrestle with swinging between hopeful patience that one day all will be well and the opposite feeling of despair that nothing will ever be right. When I pick up Joni's book the pendulum swings in a better direction, one toward hope that one day I'll be okay and that I will finally be able to let bitterness and anger and hurt go.

It's a long, arduous, trying journey. And I'm so completely glad to have Joni walking with me. Because that is EXACTLY what she is doing. Legs may not be involved, but she's walking with me nonetheless.


Kimberly said...

Hope is such a beautiful thing and your wrote about it so poignantly here. May the days of your healing pass quickly...much love to you.

Ruhiyyih Rose said...

I would love to read that book!! A beautifully written post :)

Sarah said...

I am so glad that you have discovered such an inspirational book and author.I know that one day you will write on here that you have been for a great long walk with your son, on a sunny day and that you feel vibrant and alive. And, as you say, you will be a stronger, better person for all you have been through.I think of you often and know that one day you will be through all this.Keep going through the dark days. And if its any consolation even I would like to say rude things to your midwife and OB... and I have no right at all!!! Sarah x

Recipemom said...

thats all part of it.
the fact its hard makes all the more memorable after

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Hope all is well. xoxo