“If you did nothing… would God still love you?”
A friend asked you this back in your most intense Marthaholic days. You were so upset at the very thought of not producing for God’s Kingdom, you told her you didn’t want to entertain the question.
I have your answer, and it didn’t come easily.
We haven’t corresponded in almost two years. Most of that time I was seeing doctors or bedridden in a dark room watching Netflix on a poorly lit phone or listening to sermons on the lowest volume setting (enter pastors Timothy Keller, Billy Waters and Peter Henderson).
You learn a lot about the medical profession during this time:
- Some docs exist for their patients and some for their egos. When the latter can’t diagnose, you’re labeled psychosomatic (the modern term for hypochondriac).
- Getting this diagnosis reversed is almost impossible.
- The best way to get an answer when there is no answer is to have a friend/neighbor/family member in the profession. Yes, even in medicine, it’s who you know.
Therefore, eighteen months, five trips to the ER, and a dozen specialists didn’t lead to your diagnosis. Instead, one day Troy drives you to the gynecologist (a friend of the family. Don’t trust just anyone down there) for your annual exam. During the appointment you review the symptoms that have halted your life:
- Brutal headache, sometimes with dilation of pupils and swollen eye(s)
- Painfully sensitive scalp (Buzzed your hair because of it. Not pretty.)
- Random nerve pain and misinformation
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulty breathing
- Pins and needles in extremities and face
- Intermittent muscle weakness
- Episodes of full body paralysis (as in, so bad that your eyelids don’t work)
- Loss of speech
- Inability to comprehend others
- Confusion/short-term memory loss (why am I in the kitchen holding a jar of mayo? I must be making something. What is it? I should look around to find out).
- Extreme sensitivity to sound/light
- Pain from light touch
- Episodes of numb/blue lips
- Biting tongue/lips/cheeks in sleep
- Phantom smells (feces, cigarette smoke)
Basically, every day I lived in constant pain, couldn’t count on my brain to either interpret or send information correctly and had varying degrees of stroke symptoms – on both sides. Gyno friend says, “That sounds like migraine.” He sends you to a Neurologist friend of his (your fifth) who announces, “Oh, yeah, you totally have Chronic Migraine,” and puts you on a preventative that dials back the symptoms enough to get you on your feet.
Six months later you bring this info to the transplant team (for the umpteenth time) and their pharmacist says, all nonchalant like, as in, this was totally obvious if only someone had just thought to ask him, that the migraines are a side effect of your main anti-rejection med. Two days after switching to something else, the migraines disappear. Poof! GONE! There’s a 50% chance they will return over time on this new medicine, but that was in July and so far so good.
Bitter? Resentful? Nope, because you finally got an answer to that scary question your friend asked in your peak Marthaholic days: “If you did nothing… would God still love you?” Because of these migraines, all you could do for almost eighteen months was lie in bed. You couldn’t work, share, preach, teach, rescue, fix, express, lift, carry, push, perform, fake it, or even read – you did nothing and He still loved you. Actually, He lavished love upon you every moment of every day in countless expressions both great and small. It was a precious, romantic time.
I certainly pray that this new medication holds, but still wouldn’t ask for one day back to work, share, preach, rescue, fix, express, teach, lift, carry, push, perform, fake it, read or anything else I could dream up to feel like I was producing,
because it was all worth it to now know that He loves us…
…not for what we do for Him…
…but simply because we’re His!
Older, Wiser, You