Once upon a time I wasn’t dizzy. Then I lost my balance. Two years ago, long or short, depending on how you look at it, I still had a sense of balance and I could still depend on my body and my brain to give me reliable information about where I stood in relation to the ground. Then, one day, my balance was gone.
Anyone who has ever suffered from dizziness, or vertigo if I am to give it its proper name, knows what an advantage balance is and what a handicap it is to live without it. Having lived without a good sense of balance for the past two years, I have learned the hard way to appreciate it. Frankly, I miss it. Ever since my balance got up and left me in a spin, I have been seeking to recapture it, going through the various processes which various doctors have prescribed in an attempt to regain what I once took for granted as a permanent fixture in my life.
This has been a hard struggle in my life and one which I would rather have been without. Other struggles seem to make more sense and other struggles seem to be over sooner. I am glad that I did not know two years ago when my dizziness began that I would still be plagued with it two years later. I am learning patience slowly, especially patience with my own physical limitations when the dizziness is bad. Over the last two years the word endurance has taken on new depths of meaning for me. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t have chosen this. I would choose health. Who wouldn’t?
Through a process of elimination and deduction my doctors and I have reached a consensus that my dizziness is spine-related. I have been passed back and forth between various specialists who all agree with one thing – that they don’t know what to do with me. This is hardly encouraging, particularly when I am going through a severe bout of dizziness. My dizziness has brought me up against the reality that there are still some gaping holes in the medical profession’s abilities to cure us. My dizziness has brought me up against my own helplessness in the face of physical disability, which is unpredictable and beyond my control. It feels hard at age 46 when your own body starts to betray you, when you don’t know when you get out of bed in the morning if today will be a good day or a bad day, or whether you will even have the physical capacity to do the basic tasks your family needs you to perform. Sometimes, many times, it feels like an impossible situation. Sometimes it feels like it will be enough to crush me.
And yet here I am, with two years of impossible situations under my belt and evidence of God’s provision, over and over, despite moments of wild panic in my mind and heart. I don’t know what God is birthing in me through the hardness of this trial but I believe that He is doing something new, something good and something that will make it worthwhile, meaningful, that this will indeed turn out to be a severe mercy. That belief keeps me holding on when the world is spinning around me and it feels hard to hold my head up on my aching neck.
Have I seen any good in my dizziness?
My children’s compassion has grown over these two years. That is surely a good thing. It is hard to have a dizzy mother, who, instead of serving, needs to be served some days but my children have adapted with graciousness and I have sensed their compassion. What a gift!
Being dizzy has opened up new opportunities for conversation too and has provided grounds for relating to others in ways that I never would have expected. It has brought me into the prayers of others more frequently than ever before. That is a good thing too and I am grateful for it. Long may it continue. It is good to know that someone else is lifting me up before the Father. That someone cares.
Any form of suffering can be isolating and I, as so many before me, have felt alone in my own particular branch of suffering. But suffering can create deeper bonds with others than any other human experience. To discover that someone can relate to what you are going through is a tremendous experience. I wouldn’t want to forfeit that.
It is hard to look into a future which may hold no solution for the dizziness I feel. This is certainly a place where I must learn to take one day at a time and to be grateful for the good days and patient in the bad ones, to relinquish my fears and trust God to be enough. I hold on to my hope in a God whose plans for me are for my welfare, for my shalom, not for calamity, but to give me a future and a hope. I hold onto His promise that He will never desert me, nor ever forsake me, and that He is my helper. And I find freedom in the fact that God Himself gives me a mandate for fearlessness despite the crush of circumstances, the freedom to be anxious for nothing but to bring all my requests to Him.
And I continue to learn, step by step, day by day, that I must trust in Him with all my heart and not lean on my own understanding.*
As I sit and write this I am dizzy. It has been a particularly bad week. The book of the psalms has been my lifeline this week. Over the last two years I have learned to love this book more than ever before. It is full of hope and it is full of eternity. That is what I need when I get overwhelmed by the present. Through the psalms I sense God’s own great compassion towards me and I know that He will receive the cries of my heart. I call on Him for healing and help and I wait for His deliverance.
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:4-5
*(Scriptures taken from Jeremiah 29:11, Hebrews 13:5-6, Philippians 4:6 and Proverbs 3:5)