After a crazy series of busy weeks involving travel for work and pleasure, back to school, a heavy work load, and purchasing a new home, this weekend my body finally waved the white flag. I went to bed Friday night a happy woman who had just reached a professional milestone, celebrated with a brownie sundae, and watched a hilarious movie with her supportive husband. I woke up in the pre-dawn hours with pain like a knife in the center of my chest. For the next couple hours I prayed that Dramamine and time spent standing in the shower, warm water washing over my angry, tired body would fend off the inevitable. When I woke up again mid-afternoon, the pain was gone. I knew I had made it through the worst this time.
Ever since I became pregnant with my first child, my body occasionally launches into twelve hours or more of nausea and pain that can only be compared to labor. While there are certainly foods that can exacerbate this – brownie sundae before bed, anyone? – another major factor is stress. I honestly worry about few things that would bother someone else. I speak in public often and thrive on it rather than succumb to nerves. We’re moving to a new home and haven’t sold our current home, which shockingly hasn’t given me gray hair. My job is based on new clients week to week with no contract or tenure as a safety net, and yet at this point I wouldn’t trade it for any other job in the world. Individually I’m able to take each stressor in stride, but the cumulative affect….well, it was time to rest. And my body gave me this message loud and clear this weekend.
This morning I woke up at 9:45, forty-five minutes after I should have sat down next to my husband in a pew. Alone in my oddly quiet house with just the sound of my cat purring next to me, I was able to relax. Really, truly rest. Then my children came home with signs around their necks and I was reminded of what really gets me through every challenge in my life, and what has always been the calm in the storm of life.
I still remember standing in the wet grass in the cool mountain air of the morning while at church camp. I was ten or eleven years old and the faith in which I had been raised was taking hold in my heart. We stood in a giant circle, facing each other in the first light of day. A camp counselor taught us this verse from Philippians and we shouted it back. I can still feel my arms punching the air… “Philippians four – dot! dot! – thirteen!!” It’s the verse that I hear in my mind during struggles, big and small. They’re the words I whispered to myself over and over as I faced hyperemisis, feeling as though I was on death’s door. They’re the words I played over and over in my head as I laid in a hospital bed, waiting for my daughter to be born two months early, unsure of her health. They’re the words I prayed as my son came dramatically into this world, blue and quiet and stubborn, waiting to be revived.
And they’re the words that remind me that a busy and full life is a blessing.