Yesterday, our pastor did the children’s sermon based on the 20th chapter of the Book of John from the New Testament. He drew a black circle on a white piece of paper. He asked the kids what they saw, and all of them said they saw a black spot. He asked them to look closer – what did they REALLY see? They still answered the same, although this time, they looked closer and found that his black dot wasn’t drawn so perfect.
They missed the point. But, he planned it that way.
He explained to them that sometimes we see only the black spot in life. What else was there on that paper? After a few very serious-looking faces studying the paper and some gentle prodding, they realized there was a whole lot of white space on that paper. The black dot was only a small item compared to the white space. He told them that life was like that sometimes – we look at and talk about the black spot in our lives, but forget about all the “good stuff” that makes up the white paper.
Even adults can learn from a children’s sermon.
Even *I* can learn from a children’s sermon.
After that, I will admit to barely paying attention to the real sermon. I was thinking about that black dot.
(In case you are not familiar with John 20, it is about Jesus showing Himself after His resurrection to Simon Peter and telling him to cast his fishing net to the right side of the boat and not the left…to take a minute to try another approach and reap the benefits of a full net of fish.)
At this point in my life, my black dot looms large. It nearly fills the white spot on a piece of my paper. Some MS sufferers have something called muscle spasticity. In me, the muscles in my feet and legs spasm and then contract – and it can take minutes or hours for the muscles to go back to how they should be. Up until a couple of weeks ago, one medication has taken care of this problem. When I started having breakthrough spasms, the neurologist’s office put me on another medication to take with the first one. As with before, the added medication helped but within a few days, it no longer kept the spasms at bay. Because I wake up in a new MS world everyday, I never know what to expect. This past weekend, I started having bladder spasms, too. On Sunday, I was able to make it through the grocery store but by the time I sat down to relax in the church pew, the spasms came at me with a vengence and by the time I got up to leave, I could barely walk. It felt like I was walking on a bed of nails and rocks on the bottoms of my feet. It hurts. Bad. On the pain scale, I’d give it a six to seven when the spasms are happening but closer to a nine when the spasms are at their worst. That’s just my lower extremities. My hands now fall asleep for no rhyme or reason. The dizziness that originally sent me to the hospital in December 2010 continues, regardless of the medications I take to ward that off. My fine motor skills in my hands are questionable – sometimes to the point that I cannot even hold a pen to sign my name to one of the kids’ school papers. And every so often I’ll get muscle spasms in my arms, too.
My husband said something the other day to our primary care clinic’s nurse practitioner that I had never heard him say aloud. He told her I had no quality of life with him or our children. Those words, coming from the man I have loved and been married to for 20 years, hurt my heart. Each day, I come to my office to spend a couple of hours waking up and checking on the day, then go home for lunch, my daily shot and medications. From there, I head straight to the bed for my nap – which can last anywhere from two to five hours. When I wake up, I go back and lay in the bed because frankly, I am no good to our family. The kids come into our room, one at a time (so as not to make me dizzy) and tell me about their day, talk to me about their lives or just to say hello and how’re you doing. Once the kids go to bed, if I feel like I can function without assistance, I come back to my office and do some work or just mess around for a little quiet time. Perhaps it is more that I WANT to feel useful but the only way I can do that is to do it in the peace and quiet with my computer and without the noise and chaos of the kids.
After I got past the hurt about what he said, I realized he was correct. I am not the mom who I used to be. I am not the wife that I used to be. I am not the woman that I used to be. And this MS is taking way more of my life than I was led to believe it would and obviously, more than I want it to.
So, pastor hit my black spot pretty hard. But, there are good things in life and I was bound and determined to try to figure out what those were. That is what I was concentrating on while I was supposed to be listening to the main message:
- I have complete and total faith in God the Father, who has been my lifeline throughout my life.
- My husband is healthy and a Godsend to me and our children.
- My kids are healthy.
- My kids are doing well in school.
- My mother-in-law is relatively healthy and the kids enjoy spending time with her.
- My kids have a number of grandparents (relatives and not) who love them unconditionally.
- I have a home and two automobiles that are paid for.
- I have the tools needed to fulfill my quilting passion, when I am feeling well enough to do so.
- I have friends who would help at the drop of a hat if we asked for it.
- My kids know how to love and show it.
- I have understanding clients who are so very patient while I try to do their work.
- I have business partners who are so very patient.
- I have Nook books to read to help keep the dizziness down to a functionable level.
- I have love – some near, some far – but, love nonetheless.
I am sure there is more to fill up the white space in my life – these are just the tip of the iceberg. But, LOVE is the theme throughout. Those who know and love me are the ones who lift me up on a daily basis. They feed my soul. They make the MS almost bearable.
And I love them right back.