Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Living Life in Limbo




I’ve been living in limbo for almost four years now….  Four years ago I was in the process of expanding my business, planning a vacation for my family, teaching fitness classes, and working towards various personal, family, and professional goals.  Then, one fateful day in October, I collapsed on said family vacation and all the pieces of my life were instantly suspended in space and time.    




It kind of sounds like a movie plot.  Maybe it could be, except the most exciting parts seem to have already happened.  Limbo, where I sit today, isn’t very exciting.  I can imagine the void of my life where all my hopes and dreams are floating in some viscous liquid that’s holding everything in suspended motion.  I’d like to rescue those dreams, but they are just too far away and my head is hammering and my limbs are made of lead and I’m just too stinking tired to move.

It’s raining and thundering outside right now and my mood is matching.  I used to love a good summer rainstorm, but now it just means that the barometric pressure is low and my P.O.T.S./ Dysautonomia is flaring. 

Today I was supposed to be going on vacation with my family—well, actually we were supposed to leave yesterday, but I was too worn out after a doctor appointment, packing, and little sleep.  So we decided to wait until today.  Postponing plans is always a toss-up—is the crudiness I feel today going to be better or worse tomorrow?  Well, I lost the toss up; it’s definitely worse today, so no traveling is happening in the near future.  I’m hoping tomorrow will be better, but, if not, I’ll send my family on without me—as I have for so many trips the last few years.



We made plans for this trip over a year ago.  It’s only a few hours away, but I haven’t travelled that far by car in the last four years, so it was probably a bit of a stretch to think I could do it.  Of course, a year ago when we planned it I thought “surely I will have improved enough by then to go.” 

Ha!

What is that saying?  “You make plans and God laughs.”  I have definitely learned that my plans are not always His plans, and I believe God has a sense of humor, but I don’t think he’s laughing at me right now.  I’m pretty sure He’s crying with me. 

Living in limbo is so hard!  I feel like I’ve put parts of my life on hold until an unknown time in hopes that I might someday feel better.  

How can I make plans if I don’t know how I’m going to feel a year from now, a week from now, or even a day from now?  Honestly, things can change within minutes.  How can I set goals if I have no idea if I’ll have the capacity to achieve them?  My grand ambitions on a good day generally just glare back at me with a menacing laugh on my bad days. 



At the same time though, how can I NOT make plans?  If I don’t make plans, I don’t have anything to look forward to. Without goals I have nothing to strive for.  But having aspirations can also so easily lead to heartache when plans fail.

Yet, I have to keep hoping and searching for something that helps me feel better.  Fortunately/unfortunately, I subscribe too earnestly to the concept of Hope sometimes.  I have one good day and all of a sudden I find myself making plans for future days that I expect to feel good-- only to realize that my medication didn’t help as much as I thought, my CSF fluid is leaking again, or that something so unchangeable as the weather can control my ability to function.

Sometimes I wonder if I am going to live the rest of my life in limbo— never being able to fully plan, do, or be what I want….

*****

I’m sorry.... This post has taken a much more dismal look at my life than I intended.  So, before I drown in misery (think Alice in Wonderland engulfed in her sea of tears), I’ll stop myself now and try to end my ramblings on a more positive note (because sometimes I have to remind myself of the good things too). 



I was re-reading this talk by Elder Kyle McKay this week, and I love his thoughts on the immediate goodness of God that comes while we are waiting in limbo for the bigger blessings we desire.  He says:

“[God’s] time, and frequently His timing, is different from ours…. But my message today is that, even while we are patiently waiting upon the Lord, there are certain blessings that come to us immediately.

"The immediate goodness of God comes to all who call upon Him with real intent and full purpose of heart. This includes those who cry out in earnest desperation, when deliverance seems so distant and suffering seems prolonged, even intensified....

"God also gives immediate hope for eventual deliverance. No matter what, no matter where, in Christ and through Christ there is always hope smiling brightly before us.  Immediately before us.”


I can testify of the immediate goodness of God.  It's the rainbow that comes during the storm.  It doesn't make the storm go away, but it certainly makes it more bearable.  

Sometimes that immediate goodness comes in the form of:
  • An inspired message from a friend
  • My husband giving me a hug or making me laugh
  • A note left on my pillow from my tender-hearted son (and Puppy Puppy)
  • The ability to finally fall asleep after enduring hours of a migraine
  • Getting an appointment with a knowledgeable doctor
  • Being able to leave the house after days of cabin fever
  • Having the energy and ability to help or serve someone else
  • A quiet feeling of comfort and peace

Despite the bleakness that living in limbo can yield, and though I can’t always readily feel it or see it, I know that “there is hope smiling brightly before me.”  As I lay here in limbo waiting for the miracle that will heal my body, I can still reach for and feel God’s grace in my life as he sends me the tender mercies and immediate blessings I need. 


Post Script: I wrote this post over a week ago and I’m happy to report that I was able to see some of that immediate goodness soon after!  I really debated going, but I did, indeed, make it on our family vacation!  I may have only left the hotel a handful of times and had a few rough days there (and have definitely had some down days recovering afterwards), but I kept my expectations low, and am just grateful for the time I was able to spend with my family.


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