Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
~ George Bernard Shaw
The body sometimes just shuts down and maybe this happens for a number of reasons: we need brief reminders of our mortality and fragility, as if the body tells us “not yet… But this is your reminder that I don’t run forever…” Perhaps it shuts down because we don’t always know when to rest but it does and it just can’t go another step. Maybe the body and the mind got some secret under the table deal going, using your back to get behind you because if you won’t take a break, well by golly, they sure will and like it or not, you’re getting dragged along with them. And maybe the body just tells you something like “your mamma always told you not to go out in blizzard’s without your warm coat stupid… don’t come crying to me now about it!”
I run my body and my mind into the ground – sometimes it’s just plain hard – grinding it out – day after day work. Sometimes I use worry (my favorite body driven into dust vehicle) to do the trick. Other times, I just let my body get out of shape, eating bad and not exercising, not getting it prepared for tough, busy season up ahead and when the seasons arrive… it’s not prepared to handle the physical and mental stress that’s required. There are lots of ways I can run my body down – not all of them completely bad by themselves and in moderation – but I do it. I go until there is no more go left. Then at some point my body cries “Foul!” And as if in unison, my soul and my mind and every other member of the body union walk off the job. It’s a mass walk-out and they know they got me and there isn’t a darn thing I can do about it. The body goes on strike and it doesn’t come off the pickett line until it’s good and ready.
When I get sick, I crash for days. I completely shut down and let me tell you… that’s 72 hours of hell! Sick as a dog dying in a desert with no water. I don’t move, I don’t talk (I mumble a lot so my wife says). I don’t function. I am sick. And it’s no vacation. You think I’d at least catch up on reading or writing or dreaming between the cold sweats and the 100+ spiking temperatures and body aches but the body coordinates the strike well. Everything shuts down simultaneously to the point where I can’t think a straight thought for longer then 60 seconds. It sucks. But then, life and consciousness slowly ebb back into focus, just enough at first so I can start deciding what to do differently, how I came to such a hideous state, that is exactly what I do. In between marathon episodes of some Netflix serious I’ll never remember, I reach for my phone or my journal and make little notes like “Slow down” or “What’s to worry about” and “Time is currency… and you broke, sucka!” (Probably my favorite this last go around). Then back into the semi coma filled with the aches and sweats.
The first recollection of going to the bathroom and actually looking in the mirror – and I assume it’s not my first trip because I’m not wearing adult diapers and I don’t smell like pee, it’s just the first trip I’m fully conscious of – is a frightful image. I’m pretty sure I was wearing those same sweats two days ago and though the pile of shirts I tripped over getting off my couch tells me I’ve been changing out of sweat drenched tee shirts non-stop, for a second I actually check to see if Rene somehow put some adulties on me which would be a pretty cool trick if that were the case but thankfully… it is not. So I deduce that in some crazy, zombie-fied way, I’ve been functional enough to get the necessities of life taken care of. (Of which brushing my hair and shaving are obviously not among these). I am a hideous sight. Another thought which reinforces my desire that NO one will be permitted hospital visits on the outside chance that I ever actually ALLOW myself to be taken to one willingly. It’s apparent that there are some rogue body members still at work within me – whom I shall handsomely reward with dip-cones and large shakes should I ever recover. But the body does have me thinking now and I think at the center of its demands, this is really the core of it all… for me to think about these things which drive me to such a warn down state. Brushing my teeth and showering feels good, better then a meal – cause I’m still far away from anything thicker then some chicken broth at this junction.
Collapsing back onto my quarantined couch, the aches won’t let me sleep just yet so I get as comfortable as possible. Turn on the overhead fan. And I thank God for giving me this time with Him – sick as I am – and I tell Him “I got a psalm for you… remind me of it later… I’ll write it when you tell the fingers and the brain think they can go back to work…” and I’m out again for who knows how many hours.
I always know God is behind it all. Yeah, I brought myself to this place but in His mercy, sometimes I see He has to take some extreme measures to help get me centered again. And the only way He knows how to do it when I’ve been ignoring His gentle hints is to just physically shut me down. It takes me a good while to fully get back 100% – oh, I’ll be functioning and back in action in a week or so but my voice won’t resonate as clear nor as strong. I’ll move a lot slower and get tired much quicker for a good while longer and it’ll take time to where I’m running on all cylinders again. But He uses this time to plant some pretty wise thoughts inside me and when all the body workers come back I’ll be doing a lot more listening and a little less telling. Then next time we take a break, I’ll be the one telling them “come on fellas… let’s shut down the factory, turn off the lights and call it a day… let’s go take a vacation and get out of here – this stuff will be here when we get back!”
This factory doesn’t run itself and it won’t run forever. But I’d hate to see it shut down before God has had the chance to get everything He needs out it. Being sick isn’t so bad when you have the right mind to listen, rest and think peacefully. But all the same, next time I just assume go to Hawaii for the week if it’s alright with you.
Peace, today. SAG
Today’s Scripture: 1 Kings 5:4-5
4 But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune.
5 And so I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’