I had a dear friend named Celeste who had multiple sclerosis. It was a severe case that eventually stole her life. It started when she was was in her late teens, robbing her of the chance to finish her Master’s Degree. By the time we became friends she was living in a wheelchair, could barely see through her coke-bottle-thick glasses, and using her hands was difficult for her. But she had a wonderful mind, and a tremendous heart.
She was struggling to raise a rebellious teenage son and deal with the state medical, public assistance, and housing systems. Although she could no longer read, she volunteered at the elementary school, listening to other children read. She was a very independent person, and tried very hard to do things for herself. She loved to go for rides with me, to the store or to the park. But her desire to be active was greater than her energy.
I remember (with chagrin) my “energy point” talk. “Imagine you are given,” I told Celeste, “100 energy points a day. Suppose it takes 70 points a day for your normal daily activities - bathing, brushing your teeth, eating, dressing, etc. That leave you 30 points for other things. You can’t do more than 100 points in one day. If you do, you will crash.”
I say I remember with chagrin because those words have come back to haunt me. I used to have super-energy; now it seems I have none. Since I have become ill, my energy has declined at an alarming rate. Just a year ago I used to be able to do two things a day; now I can do only one. And that means I can go to church on Sunday, but I can’t sing with the Worship Team because I put too much energy into singing. It means I can go grocery shopping with my husband on Saturday, but I can’t go out to dinner that night, not even for fast food. It means if I overdo it, I get sick, or take two or three days to get my strength back. It means I must take a nap every day, sometimes two.
I worry some days that perhaps I am nearing the end of my life, and this is the signal, this wearing-down of my batteries. Other days I tell myself I am just ill, and aging, and things don’t work the way they should. Either way, I know God has a plan for me, and I just need to trust it. But it is difficult when I feel I have so much more I must accomplish. But the more I worry, the less energy I have. That, too, takes energy points. And it robs me of the joy of just being present in God’s amazing world.
Are you, too, “sick and tired of being sick and tired”? Managing each day can be a chore. But each day when you open your eyes remember to thank God that you were given this day. It is a gift, the present. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow uncertain. When we remember to ask for God’s help as we diligently pace ourselves, each day can be a blessing, and we can bless others. I have to believe that is why I am still here.
May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. Colossians 1:11-12
Dear Loving God, We thank you for the gift of life in the form each of us has received it. Help us to appreciate that gift, to use it wisely, to revel in its blessing and to bless others with its richness and glory. Bless those who are traveling to spread your message of inclusiveness. Let hearts, minds and doors truly be opened to all. Amen.