Watching my old wedding video left me thinking about how I wound up here. I don’t mean “here” in a geographical sense. How did that bright-eyed young-looking woman become this creaking old thing fighting to keep moving under her own power?
Who is this person?
She doesn’t look or act like me. I can vouch for this because I used to be her, but now I am not at all sure who I am or whose body this is. While I slept, someone slipped in an imposter body. I would jump right on the imposter theory except being me is not something any sane person would want. If I had a say in the matter, I would be healthier, wealthier and younger. Someone else, but keep the brain.
Life changes, sometimes in a split second, or slowly over many years.
Remember Christopher Reeve? One minute, he was a big, handsome, strapping movie star. A dreadful split second later, he was someone else.
My down hill slide occurred at the pace at which bones and joints calcify, briskly enough to realize what was happening, but with enough time to be thoroughly frightened.
I broke my back when I was a kid. I was reconstructed when I was 19. For the next 35 years, I refused to pay any attention to my spine. I was not going to be disabled. Not me. It was mind over matter.
Turns out, mind over matter only takes you so far. Seven years ago, I began to have trouble walking. My balance became erratic. I lost sensation in my feet and miscellaneous reflexes disappeared. I went to doctors, orthopedic hot shots. All of them said I need a new spinal fusion, the old one having fallen apart over the long years. Diagnosis: Horrible spine. Solution: New fusion in which I get screwed together using metal rods. After surgery, I would be in even more pain than now, but my spine would be stable. Say what? This surgery would be the 21st century version of the surgery I had in 1967.
I said no. God can choose, because I wouldn’t.
I believe in miracles, but don’t count on them. I’ve never been clear who He is, but I’m reasonably sure there is a Higher Power who has never deserted me. I’ve survived more than once when I was supposed to be dead. As little as I believe in dogma, I believe prayers are answered, though the answer is not always what we want. I figure God is busy. In the great scheme of things, my problems are tiny, but we are all little children at heart and want Father to fix it. He knows. He forgives. Or so I hope. Meanwhile, I took my case to the top spine guy in Boston, the Supreme Court of spinal care. And got my miracle.
He said I did not need the surgery and it wouldn’t solve any of the problems I had. He was annoyed with his colleagues’ scare tactics. Laugh or cry? I did both. With a few words, tons of rocks fell from my shoulders. I’d been living on the edge of the razor. Now I heard: “Your back has got you through this far, it’ll take you the rest of the way. Pain control, gentle exercise, and recognize your limits. Don’t do anything stupid.” Like fall off a horse? Lift heavy packages?
Was that the sounds of angels singing?
We all know we will die, but it takes a personal encounter to make it real. A close friends dies; you feel the brush of the Dark Angel’s wings across your own soul. From that moment, death is no abstraction. Maybe you’ll live a long time. Maybe you’ll outlive your whole generation, but the end will come. If you have faith in something beyond yourself, time becomes your treasure. You stop focusing on the future because this is the future. You’re glad to be alive when so many peers are gone. Every dawn is a miracle for which you are grateful.
Faith in something bigger than oneself helps get you through. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to do for yourself, but it makes surviving the bad stuff easier. It doesn’t make you young again nor stop your joints from aching. It won’t make you immortal, but it gives you a larger context in which to see your problems. As for me, I said that I would let God choose. He chose. I’m good with that.
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- Daily Prompt: In Good Faith (dailypost.wordpress.com)
- Daily Prompt: In Good Faith (theevolvingdad.wordpress.com)
- I Cannot Believe in Miracles (themercenaryresearcher.wordpress.com)
- Teenager’s miracle spine operation to correct curve of 86 degrees (mirror.co.uk)
- Daily Prompt: A Test Of Faith (layedbacklife.wordpress.com)