For several years now my need to write and share hasn’t been foremost in my mind like it was when I began blogging. I developed Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, a life altering illness, and for a time writing was not one of my priorities. It seemed more important to use whatever small parcel of energy allowed me each day to be with my grandchildren and children. There were months on end when my body and mind’s gears were stuck in idle and on those days I slept, read, watched Hallmark movies and play mindless games on my ipad.
It may not be very apparent, but I have now slipped into at least 1st gear. Recently I have been drawn back to my journals, and now I have decided it’s time to jumpstart my blog. I don’t know if it will be of interest to anyone else, but I know it will be good for me. So selfishly, I begin.
Healthwise, I am still connected to oxygen 24/7. I get short of breath with the smallest physical exhertion and if I keep at it I break out in a drenching sweat and have to sit down or fall down. I’m able to do small things in little spurts; like gather up a batch of clothes to wash, remove wet clothes from the washer to dryer, and take out the dry clothes and fold them. If it involves hanging things, that requires the extra exhertion I mentioned above and I have to be careful not to hang too many in a row. I can walk on a flat trail, but won’t get very far if on an incline. It appears, though, that none of it is as life threatening as I once thought. Three years ago I was told I had maybe 6 months to a year to live. Obviously, that’s not the case as I actually went through a healing process a few months later that can’t be medically explained.
Now, though I’m not “completely healed”, I am better enough. We have been able to travel once again in our motor home, and I feel like my mind has cleared itself of a fog.
Still, now and then I have what I can only describe as symptoms of a heart attack. I get a twisting pain in the middle of my chest, near my breast bone and it quickly radiates up my throat into my jaw. It comes in waves like labor and it is scary and painful. Time after time we would rush off to the emergency room where they would run all of the tests on my heart and then tell me my heart is fine but if it happens again be sure and go back because the symptoms appear to be my heart and it’s better not to second guess it. Now when it happens we wait in the parking lot of the hospital. Eventually it slows down and then stops, and we go home.
But … enough of that kind of talk. I lead a very happy life. I’ve become used to my normal and it’s okay. I will strive to lengthen my stride, but if I can’t then so be it. It is okay.
One thing about it all has bothered me a lot, however, and that is being unable to attend church as often as I’d like. Some days I am just to exhausted to get ready. Other days I can make it, but only for the first meeting. This year our services begin at 9:00 in the morning. Last time that happened I went to another ward’s meetings for the year. I don’t want to do that again. Attending church gives me vitality and hope, and being with the people in my own ward is like being with family. I love rubbing shoulders with them and the feeling of connection we have together, the sharing of testimonies and experiences of faith. It just feels good.
I’ve been thinking about all of that for several weeks, and as I was reading about the life of President Gordon B. Hinckley a few days ago I came across this scripture that really struck me to my core:
Mark 8:35 “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”
President Hinckley was having a difficult time on his mission and had written home to his father, asking if he should come home and save their money since he wasn’t accomplishing anything by being there. He was homesick and depressed because of the circumstances of the big depression of that time. His father wrote back and said, “Forget yourself and go to work.” After that letter from his father he came across the scripture above. He said he got on his knees and pledged his life to the Lord and immediately the fog and depression lifted and he continued on with his mission.
A similar thing happened to our son, Brett, on his mission. So I know that with the help of my Heavenly Father, anything is possible … even with poor health. One of the reasons I have stayed away from church in the winter months is because it is flu season and I am fearful of catching a cold or the flu. It always takes me longer to get through it, and to bounce back to my normal plateau. So, I am seeing that fear is one of the things that has kept me from worshiping with ward members on Sundays.
I am going to take President Hinckley’s experience and testimony and this scripture to heart. It is my heart’s desire to attend church at 9:00 with my ward members, and to attend all three meetings. I sincerely believe that with God’s help I can. Years ago (around 1955) my age group in primary had the theme, “I can, and I will.” I think for this year, 2017, that is once again going to be my mantra.
I Love this quote by Maya Angelou, an American poet and civil rights activist: “Having courage does not mean we are unafraid. Having courage means we face our fears. We are able to say, I have fallen, but I will get up.”
I am getting back up. With God’s help I can and I will.