This is a picture of my bed. Don’t be fooled by the big down pillow and the crisp white sheets, because for 3 1/2 days last week it was a hellish place, a dungeon of healing and “rest.” Long story short, I have back problems, like many of us do. This time though, the usual tricks didn’t work and for more than 72 hours this was my station. This post is partially dedicated to everyone who has ever been on bed rest for any extended amount of time, God bless you.
We know that Claire has been through a LOT, physically. I have a ripe perspective on pain, immobility, and anything having to do with broken bodies. This, though, this tested me, guys. After everything I’ve been though, bed rest got me in a way I didn’t see coming. For three nights I cried myself to sleep, listening to hymns and David reading me scriptures including the words “do not be afraid.” I had no idea when it would get better, when David could go back to work, when the kids would be able to see their mom walk, when I could tidy and clean, shower, get dressed, DO LIFE. Imagine how triggering this would be for me, for everyone in our family. Oh no, Claire/Mama is using the cane again, she is broken, we are all broken and doomed. For the first time I really wanted Oxy, because I knew it could take the pain away— inside and out. I knew it could get me away from real-life bed and into a bed with…Oxy. When people feel afraid, we also get angry. Enter anger.
The first night, as I felt the spiral approach, I resourced. Resourcing is a meditation technique my beloved therapist taught me, used to help relieve the stressors and triggers that get me in angry, fearful tizzy fits. After excusing myself to my bedroom, I breathe until I am fully present. Then I ask God where I need to be. Then I go there. I don’t know how else to explain it; now you probably think I am nuts. But it’s as real a travel as getting in the car and driving to the park or the market. It’s not a dream, it’s not sleep, I can still hear what’s going on outside my old, wooden door. But when I come out of it, I am new and different, looking like I just woke up from a 3-hour-long nap. Email me if you have questions—I highly recommend it for mindfulness and a balanced, centered emotional state.
Lately, my resources have taken me to Eden. I float in to Eden on the Still Waters mentioned in Ps. 23. I get out and sit on the soft, sweet-smelling grass lining the Waters, and I wait. I wait for a Lion, or a Lamb, or Jesus, or whatever else God knows I need to interact with in that moment. This time though, as I floated in, my back hurt too much to even sit up, let alone get out and onto the river bank. Jesus was there waiting for me.
“What the heck!?” I said (though using stronger language), motioning to my broken bits. “What is the point of this? Why did this happen, during Halloween, during a work week, at all?! Why did…” His face changed a bit, like maybe I needed to pipe down, and His arm lifted to his waist, His hand making a “settle down” gesture.
“Sweetie, knowing the answer to that question won’t help you.”
“Okay then,” I replied, “What can I do to FIX THIS!?”
“Still not the words I can respond to. It wouldn’t help you, knowing how to fix it. I mean, it would, but fixing your back isn’t fixing your heart. It doesn’t matter if your back heals up but your heart and soul go untouched.” I rolled my eyes. I rolled my eyes at Jesus.
Tears began trickling and soon I sobbed, my waters mixing with Eden’s—with His. “Help me. Please help me…” He nodded and shed tears, too.
HELP ME, the battlecry of the broken human, the broken Mama. Not why or what, but HELP. I clung to this Word every moment of those 3 days, and they comforted; they reminded me that I have a Helper, a Healer, even. When I voiced and breathed them I remembered Jesus there at those Still Waters with me, shedding the same pained tears I shed. Immediately I sensed the trickle of the river I rested in, it calmed me. He made me believe it would all somehow be okay, that someday, at some point, I would walk again. That I would step out of bed, leaping into Life and all it’s goodness again. I had hope.
Am I all healed up now? No, I’m writing this in a very odd position on the sofa. It’ll be hard for the rest of pregnancy, for the rest of my earthly life. We all have something like that, a thorn. Or lots of thorns, sometimes I feel like I have lots of thorns. But my time in that down-comforted dungeon got me thinking about something else…
Lucy is phasing out of naps, but she still really needs them because she wakes up so early in the morning. David and I figured out that if we set a timer, if she knows for sure we set a timer (like, hears us telling Siri to “set a timer for one hour”) then she falls asleep—no biggie. If we don’t, she fights naps in my bed just as fiercely as I fought my days of Bed Test (I’ve coined the term bed test instead of bed rest, because those days were anything but restful). The timer is her little “help me.” It’s her way of knowing that there is an end in sight, her hope of one day leaping into her exciting Life again. It’s her safety net when she feels the spiraling and fear begin. Just like her mama, she doesn’t want to be stuck in bed forever.
Maybe we all need a safety net. What are the words you need to hear in order for you to believe that there is a Love Force, a God, out there bigger than anything we could dream up? What would it take for you to ask for help, a net, to ask for a timer? Do you believe that God is crying with you? Do you want Healing? Do you want Peace? Do you want freedom from the darkness that keeps you in those dungeons? Do you want to leap into Life again? There isn’t always an answer to why. There isn’t always an answer to what. But we can always ask for help. Every day I pray I am broken and brave and raw and real enough to ask for help. Every day I want to beg God for the timers and the nets and the help to make it through the sufferings and glories of this life. Every day I want help dressing the wounds all my thorns create.
Simply asking for help comforted me enough to quiet the stirring, exhausting fears in me. I had to get angry, be angry, and roll my eyes at Jesus first, but then His loving challenge to dig deeper got me to the nugget, the Truth, the core. Presence and mindfulness are at my fingertips, even when I am in incredible pain, if I would only ask for help, ask for hope. Every single day, I need help. So I must keep asking for help from the one true Helper, and from all you human helpers.