You know when you have the feeling that you’ve known someone forever, but you’ve only just met? That is the way I feel about Linda. Our friendship took mere hours to bloom, partly, I suspect, because she is a type of fertilizer for the soul.
Linda was injured by a failed hip implant, and she has suffered greatly as a result. Still, though her spirit is weary at times, she leans upon her faith in Christ and the Lord of the Bible for wisdom and strength. She has allowed me to share her faith and source of healing in a poem she wrote, Captured Free.
Scripture inspires her life and her writings. She has offered a collection of her thoughts and expressions of her pain in scripture here: Healing Worship – Lenten Study Notes. As a true believer, she runs further into the wisdom of God, so freely given to all, even in her suffering. I hope her words bring you comfort and serve as a salve for your aching soul. I know the many conversations we’ve had were powerful for me and healed some of the broken pieces in my soul. In the realm of human suffering, we are all alike. We all experience it in different ways, but suffering can bring those who sing, in spite of their trials, together – to make a beautiful noise to the Lord who hears our cries.
Here is a beautiful song to listen to, as you read Linda’s words and meditate on them.
Please follow the link to watch my public service announcement (PSA) video. I am so grateful to Baron & Budd for giving me a platform to tell my family’s story so that we can keep others from this preventable harm and find ways to help those already injured. Family members and Caregivers are a welcome part of our community also.
I woke up this morning to a familiar, yet distant, feeling – like a smell that yanks you back into a past memory which is so real, but still forming and too cryptic to grasp fully. When this kind of feeling overtakes me, I cannot move on with my day until I take hold of the memory fully…
“What is that smell? I remember it around the time ‘I lived in’ or ‘I felt like’ or ‘I was this old,’ etc.” I pondered and pondered this morning until I came up with the word.
“I FEEL PEACE.”
For the first time in as long as I can remember, along this road that is paved with plastic mesh, and feels at times, like it leads straight to hell.
“I FEEL PEACE.”
I believe it’s for a combination of reasons which I’ll share at a later date. At least for now, I want to share someone else’s writing. I didn’t write it, but I could have: verbatim. This writing is by a man, a man I respect immensely. Many dislike his teachings, his politics, his tactics, the very sound of his voice, but he is a man of his word, and I respect him for acting courageously, continuously, over and over again; for following his inner being, knit by his Creator. I think this is why I feel at peace. I am courageously following my inner being, led by The inner voice of my Creator. It is difficult, costly, a lonely place to be at times, but it is the only place of rest for me here on this planet, come what may and what has: criticism, attacks on my character, lost friends, lost family members, lost precious time, just loss; however, it is a peaceful lonely, for I know that lonely is not the same as alone. I am not alone; never alone.
Read, enjoy, comment. Be at PEACE, in your soul, with who you are and who you were created to be and what you were created to do here on this earth. Like a pruning gardener, God will slowly deadhead your life. He will remove the parts of you and people around you that just will never bloom, sadly.
Be inspired by someone or something, and know to your heart of hearts that tearing down others will never make you better, will never make you whole, will never make you honorable, will never give you rest or peace; only focusing on your job here and who you are can do those things. Others are right to criticize us if we try to be someone we are not, but it is they who are in the wrong, when they criticize us for being exactly who we are, even when/if/though we are DIFFERENT from who they are, and individually, our jobs are different on this earth than the jobs of others. Living in that knowledge, that space, my friends, is to dwell in love and “tolerance,” this word we revere so. Just be you. And allow others to be who they are. For those who choose to tear down instead of build up, I pray for you; because you will not know Your Peace, until you begin to build up others, and in doing so, build yourself up as well, showing yourself to be honorable and “tolerant” of others’ Truth.
God bless you all. Happy Father’s Day.
Enjoy the reading below, published by its author on Friday.
I am in the final phase of a massive transformation
Friday, Jun 13, 2014 at 12:19 AM CDT
I am once again on a plane chasing the sun.
I am listening to Patty Griffin’s ‘Up to the Mountain’ as I stare out the window admiring Gods handiwork as the sun slips slowly under the curvature of our earthy home.
Sometimes when we are flying late at night, most of my team is asleep and I have time to sit quietly and think.
We don’t have enough time anymore just to ponder.
My grandfather used to have one of those old push mowers (remember the old wooden handle and the round blades between the wheels?). When I was really small I can remember seeing him push it, stop and take his hankie out and mop his brow.
What was he thinking? I now ponder.
Later he got himself a riding mower. By then I was old enough to cut the lawn but he never would let me. I always thought he insisted on doing it was because by then grandma had taken the keys of the truck from him (it involved a plate glass window and the front of a Denny’s but that is a different story 🙂 ).
But, now, I’m convinced he wanted time to think. Time alone, quiet time to ponder.
As I worked the farm on my tractor this past summer, cutting the alfalfa I hypothesized: farmers of the past must have been either 1) the most well balanced people or 2) raging alcoholics.
So much time and so much silence. You had no place to run from your thoughts.
How many of us can really spend time with ourselves and our thoughts? How many of us need music, talk radio or books on tape? Anything except silence and our own internal voice.
A voice that questions, condemns or emboldens with truth.
The sun sinks a little lower and the sky grows from deep orange to dark blue at the horizon and space grows black above.
I turn the music off.
I am in the final phase, I think, of a massive transformation. One that will take me to rough terrain, uncharted landscape and lonely woods. This may end up being the biggest and most important challenge of my life.
Lead by that still small voice always and simply, questioning, condemning and empowering with love and truth. I have challenged myself to let go of my anger and hurt and instead see others pain, need, confusion and hurt.
I want to be a better man. A much better man.
It is hard.
Sometimes it’s too hard, because I hurt or I am tired or honestly, sometimes I just want to be angry.
“I have a right!” I think to myself.
The country I love is washing ashore in bits and pieces. Dashed intentionally on the rocks by fools and knaves. The flames of hate rages. Fires started by those who just want power or money. Only to have the flames fanned by those of us who were sometimes duped, sometimes trusting “our side” and honestly, sometimes too tired, lazy or unwilling to challenge what we WANT to believe because it allows us to escape that condemning voice about the role we played.
I want to be a better man. A better husband, father and friend.
Life moves so fast. So many fires. I try to put one out and three more appear.
“How Lord? Why Lord?” I pray/wrestle. “I want to do what you want me to do, but I am not smart enough to figure out how to get from here to there.”
“Tell me! What do you want me to do! I will do it, but just tell me!”
Deep down, if I am quiet enough, I know He doesn’t work that way.
He doesn’t want the power.
He wants to empower us.
“Figure it out yourself” the voice whispers. “You have all you need. You always have and if you just trust Me completely and take the leap you will see.”
My mind cannot grasp the eternal.
My eyes cannot see what He sees.
He is right.
For all the worry and panic, trouble and white-knuckle events of my life, I have always had everything I really needed and everything worked out in the end.
It will again.
For all of us.
The stars begin to shine brighter, the sound of the air blowing through the cabin. The quiet conversations from the back of the plane and the empowering voice whispers again.
“It is the simple things that makes a man great. The way he treats his wife, his children and those who CANNOT help him advance in his career or goals. It is the simple repeated act of choosing love over anger, peace instead of hate, forgiveness over revenge and courage over comfort.”
“Most of all”, He whispers, “A great man mows his lawn and is eager for the challenge of silence.”
I turn off the light, smile at the thought of my grandpa. I gaze out my window. I am no longer able to make out the curve of the earth.
I close my eyes comfortable with the knowledge that what is coming, just over the horizon, is a new day and everything we need is already being warmed by tomorrow’s sun.
One of my favorite blessings about this, our mesh-injured community that we are slowly building, is that EVERYONE gets validation, not from doctors maybe, but from one another. Mesh Angels and Warriors, immediate and extended family; we all get to experience that sense of relief when we discover we are not alone. On that note, please find validation and healing in today’s writing from guest blogger, Tanya, a Mesh Angel’s daughter.
Thank you for sharing your story. ~ God Bless you all/TMW
The Unbearable Likeness of Being a Mesh Angel’s Daughter
~ by Tanya
When you grow up in the Midwest, summer evenings mean lightning bugs (my favorite) and June bugs (Holy terrors). It was always too humid and hot to do anything other than sit inside and play or read in the air conditioning during the day, so my mom would take me and my younger brother and sister for walks nearly every evening. My mom is 5’9” with long legs, and we would have to run to keep up with her. I don’t remember her sitting still unless she was reading the newspaper or reading library books to us.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember now that my mom is that same woman. I honestly don’t know if my brother and sister remember much about Mom when she was more active. When my brother was about 3 years old, he took off running in a parking lot. My mom ran after him and slipped on the gravel. She had to have stitches on her nose – scraped up her hands and knees pretty badly too. That’s how my mom used to be.
My mother doesn’t run anymore. She barely walks. Until recently, she couldn’t even sit for very long. Thankfully she has found some relief with medication and physical therapy. Her days are still full of pain, but the medication brings it to a tolerable level. She is never completely pain free.
My mother is a grandmother. She longs to lift her grandkids up into her arms and give them hugs and kisses. She wants to wrestle with them and play tickles and make their lunches. She is the kind of adult who never speaks down to kids. She talks to them like they are grown, and they love her for it. My mom considers conversations with children to be equal to great debates on literature and history.
She can barely hold the little ones on her lap now. It causes her too much pain. My brother lives closest to my parents. He has a boy, James. James and my mom are very close. Since he was a baby, he has sat with Mom on her special chair in the living room. They have watched TV shows together or read stories or looked at pictures of James’ cousins Zeke and Evie (my sister’s kids).
My mother, James’ grandmother, struggles to have him over at the house unless Grandpa is there too. She can’t get James a drink of water or a snack, because just walking across the room is an insurmountable task at times. Keeping up with him while playing outside is out of the question.
James and his grandma love each other very much. James’ grandma loves him so much that she doesn’t let him see when she is in agony. Once or twice, a tear has escaped, and James has been very concerned for her. She tries to be careful and tries not to worry him.
“What’s the matter, Grandma?” He comes over and gives her a hug and kiss. That’s what you do when someone you love is hurting.
“Grandma’s tummy hurts. It’s okay,” she tells him.
Grandmother and Grandson – a new relationship.
Since the first of this year, my mother has been to the emergency room more than twenty times, simply because there was just too much pain – intractable pain in medical terms – pain that cannot be eased. Yes, she has seen doctors. Yes, they have given her pain medication. Yes, she has seen specialists. She has had MRIs, CT Scans, Sonograms, Echocardiograms, X-rays, etc. The pain levels have often been too high for her to bear.
“I don’t see any acute cause for your pain,” the doctors say.
My father has to sit outside the triage room at the ER. It’s hospital procedure – separate the spouse in case there is any abuse the patient wants to disclose. My dad doesn’t get much sleep these days. His wife’s pain wakes them both in the night. She needs help. Dad is the one there to help her. He is her home health care provider, the breadwinner, the housekeeper, maintenance man, etc. They don’t really remember what it means to simply be husband and wife anymore. They just try to get through one day at a time. I worry about my dad as much as my mom.
I moved away from my hometown three and a half years ago. Mom had been gradually experiencing more and more pain and limited mobility for a few years before I left, but it wasn’t debilitating at that point. I visited my parents a couple times a year, each time noticing mom’s worsened state, but still not fully realizing what was happening.
Last February I bought a plane ticket home again, and in the weeks leading up to my trip, I started talking to Mom about the plans for what we would do. She said things like, “Remember, I can’t do all of that.” My dad started sending me text messages saying that Mom was in the ER. “Lots of pain,” the texts read. I began to worry that Mom’s situation had gotten much worse since I had seen her last.
That week last February during my visit is still a complete blur. Days and nights bleed together. There was little sleep. I made pill charts to make sure Mom didn’t overdose on painkillers and anxiety medications. They were prescribed, “As needed,” and she hated taking them. I cooked meals that she didn’t eat – just too much pain. She had no appetite. I didn’t eat much either.
I cried more than I had in a long time. I followed Mom back and forth: from her chair to the bathroom and back; to the bed that we brought downstairs for her. Climbing stairs had become a burden for her. I researched everything I could. On one particular occasion, Mom got so frustrated with my constant research, that she literally took my cell phone out of my hands and told me to, “Give up.” She was struggling to hold on to any hope at all.
I left that visit with a broken heart for my mother. I sat in the airport, numb from the experience. I ordered a drink and some food at the bar. I slept like a baby on the plane. My boyfriend picked me up from the airport, and I cried all the way home. He held me, and I wept for my mother. I wept for my father. I wept for my brother and sister and nephews and niece. Our mother, wife, grandmother and friend is still here, but we miss her. She misses herself. The mesh with all its pain, complications and unanswered questions has impacted our relationships with her.
My sister flew home about a month after I was home. She didn’t take her kids. It was for the best; Grandma was in bad shape. We, her family members, have become nurses, doing the kinds of up close and personal things that nurses do – my brother, sister, and father – all of us. I don’t disclose this to embarrass my family, although it most definitely will. I tell you these things because this is the truth of living with a mesh-injured mother. It is the truth.
We have become a family poised to take action. We research. We ask questions. We are the squeaky wheels. We spend a lot of time on the phone with one another planning courses of action regarding doctors, lawyers, health insurance, etc.
“In the midst of it all, my mother reminds me that she is a person, not a project. We must remember that. It is her body. She gets to make decisions.”
My mother is a person. My mother is a person in pain, a person who did what her doctor recommended to fix a problem, and her life changed forever – and not for the better. My mom has a mesh implant, and her health problems started shortly after it was implanted. We have yet to find a doctor who will diagnose the mesh as the culprit and cause of her pain and/or the litany of other symptoms she has developed since the procedure.
It’s highly likely that the rest of my mother’s life will be one that includes pain in all its iterations. Thankfully, she has found a pain management program that has made her pain more manageable, but it is a daily struggle.
My family has a different life than we thought we ever would. We get angry about it sometimes. We get angry that there are so many women struggling in the same ways. My family and I pray and try to be an encouragement, and we give one another grace when one of us just can’t handle the emotional strain of it all. My mom has many times been just as brave for the rest of us as she is for James, our family’s precious next chapter. She sees how upset I get – how upset we all get – about it all.
She’s afraid of worrying me. She called the other day, and no, she didn’t talk about her pain or herself; she actually asked how I was doing.
That is the kind of mother I have. I pray that I will have her for many more years.