Rehabilitation from the Outside In or is it Inside Out?
Imagine for a moment, a woman living inside this broken-down home. Standing slightly back from the window or perhaps even chained to a chair, not by iron but by a damaged body and shattered spirit. Peering out, lost in belonging to what, she wonders.
Her world becomes small and hope wedges itself in the cracks of the brick and mortar. The sands of time crumbling away in the dust.
The ache of it all patched and cemented in the withering and rotting. What life is there left to live in the watching it creep away? What meaning is this to the emptied out and broken?
I can imagine her or him all too well. Can you?
In fact, I’ve been her.
This image spoke well to the haunting of my past. To the mind and thoughts, the heart and body, the lies and false bravado I clung to. All of it manifesting into a body breaking down long before its time. The heart of me desperately wanting… seeking… love and the holiness in the ultimate love.
But it’s not found in the repeating, in the doing of the same thing over and over no matter how hard the work is for different results. Something other must appear – Grace in the wake of pleas and prayers and barrenness.
I was lost in the new age and the more I tried to find myself there, the wider the separation grew from my soul and my body. The bigger and wider I tried to see into The Universe, the deeper I plunged into physical pain and spiritual warfare.
I screamed in agony outwardly and stripped myself inwardly, until nothing was left, and hope seemed elusive. I had it all, yet I had nothing.
Until a miracle occurred. The Lord, he reached out his hand and offered me his Grace, a new way and a new life. I do bow down in worship and gratitude, every morning you can find me there. He rescued me from a broken way of living, in the ruined shell of a house.
This past year has been one of glory and trial, of love and letting go of the past. It’s not an easy thing, the letting go to become something other – the myself in the offering, in the making.
Over my life, I’ve had a couple of back injuries and have a genetic disposition to spinal stenosis, which after twelve long years of living with pain and a walking disability, and numerous tests, it was finally diagnosed this winter.
Too young. Too soon. Twelve years of hope receding, disintegrating and resignation setting in, my world was getting smaller. Like the decaying leaning falling down home.
I’ve learned to pray. And, I know that nothing is impossible for God. My prayers for healing whispered in earnest with the caveat, if this is your will I will endure. The difference now being I live knowing where I belong and to who – so there so much life and living in me now.
There came with the diagnosis a feeling of closure and peace in the knowing. According to the medical professionals there is no cure, but there also came a silver lining and a sliver of hope.
I’ve been off the radar living deeply in a rehabilitation program these past few months. It’s been intense, twice weekly visits to a hospital for therapy and rehab and engaging in a growing intensity twice daily exercise regime, to build strength, flexibility, manage pain, and with hope and fingers crossed (prayers!) that the impinged nerve causing the disability will heal over time.
My body is changing and growing stronger. It’s been hard and exhausting. Where the hope lies, I’ve become aware, is in the healing of old wounds and in the letting go of the past, and the lies I’ve believed.
Yes, the daily exercise regime makes me stronger physically, mentally too and there have been improvements in pain relief and management, but where something spectacular happens is in the moments when I pray, and I see, and I make strides in letting go of the past hauntings and the need for things to be different.
As I give it all up and thank God for the life he has given me, as I learn to see my life, and every one, and every thing, and every situation as a blessed gift from him – then the life that was and all the suffering releases, and it is then I experience moments of ease of walking, of mind and body and soul.
The tension softens with each breath of grace, and all of being is in a twinkling lasting eternity. All striving and wanting something different is forgotten. The sands of grief carried off in a breeze become seeing and being through the eyes of our creator.
And, when life is lifted up, given up, and praised as the gift it is, the moment becomes so very precious.
I’ve given myself to living this physical and spiritual rehabilitation. Turning away from social media and all the comparing and need for validation it conjures up, turning toward God instead.
Learning to lean more and more into him with each trial of faith. Spending time with him where life feels alive – in prayer, in studying the scriptures, and for me in writing. I know I am undergoing big changes from the inside out, though it may look like it is on the outside, the real change happens deep within.
Writing points the way for me. It reveals a living full, in the now and a future. What it specifically looks like is still a mystery. I’m learning there is beauty in the not knowing.
There is beauty in the not knowing.
There is beauty and wisdom and understanding waiting to be found in the resisting and suffering.
Grace is but a breath away.
When life should seem enough, but it isn’t.
When love should fill up everything, but it doesn’t.
When there instead, is a niggling nagging feeling something is missing.
When grief, anxiety, or fear is a consistent presence.
If anyone is reading this, if this is you in any way, take some time away from the world pressing in, from noise and distractions… to pay attention to little (or big) things that are trying to speak to your soul. Ponder what is important, what is truly important. What will fill the deep ache, not on the surface of living, but eternally, infinitely, everlastingly.
Seeking the deeper meaning of life, when I’d finally exhausted all the ways that seemed to take me back to suffering, helped me to hear God calling my name. Everything shifted. Everything I thought I knew or believed altered, when I heard, and felt the love waiting for me to say yes.
This love that overcomes all and fills every need and desire is real. It calls your name. In the quiet place. In a whisper, the soul hears.