The brace- cone of shame...

The brace- cone of shame…

“It’s not fused. You wear the brace 24/7. Maybe it will still fuse. If not. I’ll do surgery.”

So, here we are again. For the foreseeable future I will be accessorized by a hard, ugly, uncomfortable, neck brace. And I will be praying that this stupid neck fuses with every uncomfortable reminder:

  • Like bumping into someone or something because I can’t see. (Not being able to turn your head- limits your peripheral vision… it’s a great way to meet new people… just sayin.)
  • When I trip over everything.. and nothing) Not being able to look down is a little like being 9  months pregnant and not being able to see your feet. (Minus the belly. well. maybe not in my case:P)
  • When I walk like a 92 year old woman- bent over trying not to fall because falling would be BAD, very bad.
  • When I have to hold my laptop at about nose level (propped on  my knees) in order to type this because I STILL cannot touch type and need to see my fingers…..(FYI: in addition to math, I failed typing in 9th grade. oopsy.)
  • When I have to fish bits of lunch out of the brace and need help with everything I drop and end up having a fit because eating without seeing what your doing is a little like this scene from Helen Keller. 

The good news:

  • I can drive. (I bought this awesomely dorky mirror that allows me to see my blind spots.) (Which my kids remove from the car every time they borrow it. It’s THAT dorky.)
  • I didn’t do any further damage to my spine during “the great snow shoveling tantrum of 2013.”
  • Neurontin minimizes the nerve pain and I’m back on it. My pain is (mostly) manageable without narcotics. (Which I hate. Not a fan of being stoned. It only gets unmanageable if I’m stupid. Which I gave up for lent.)
  • There is a chance that I can avoid further surgery if I behave, and stay in the brace.

The bad news: My neck is still crap. If this doesn’t work- (We’re giving it until June.) Then, I’ll need to have a Posterior fusion- which has a much more painful/ potentially lengthy-recovery.

So this is where we are. And God is with me, even here. I know it- and believe it, even when I don’t feel it.

This week the brace has challenged me in more ways than just physically.  I’ve been struggling with condemnation. Not of others- (for a change) but condemnation of myself. Last week after my shoveling tantrum..  I kept saying things like: “I hate myself for doing this.” “I can’t tell you how much I hate myself right now.” “I am such an idiot.” “How could I be so stupid?”  “Will I ever learn?”  I’d like to say I didn’t mean them. But- I did. In those moments. I was angry and afraid and in pain.  A lot of pain.

Here’s the thing- In January- I prayed and chose words to focus on for this year….I chose  “Mercy” And “Rescue.”  (Click the link to read about my choice.) I thought this focus was going to lead me on a journey to being more merciful to others….. and I still believe it will. But- when I think about all the ways I have been unmerciful and ugly to myself lately… I wonder…. how can I love others as my self if I’m constantly being hateful to myself?

The truth is— I would never say any of the things I said to myself last week, (Or a thousand other weeks- my self talk can be pretty ugly)  to others.

Today, As I get ready for a very busy, complicated and physically challenging week- I know this…..I can’t spend my time and energy looking back and being angry for why I am here. (Well- let’s face it- I can’t exactly look BACK  or even to the side at the moment;) Maybe that’s the point. Maybe I have been spending too much time looking back. Maybe- it’s time to look forward.

Straight ahead.

So- that’s what I’m doing. Even here. In the neck brace of doom, again.

Lord Jesus- forgive me for being so ugly to the one you love so much. Forgive me for all the time I’ve wasted- looking back with anger and frustration at all the mistakes and bad choices I’ve made. Forgive me for judging myself so harshly when you offer mercy and rescue and love. Lord-  thank you for this time in this brace. Help me learn to look straight ahead. Where you are leading. Help me not turn to the right or the left— but to follow you. I love you lord- and praise you- even here. amen.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips;meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9