Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Prodigal Sundae

I don't think I need to tell anyone that God is funny, but God is FUNNY.

Since we last spoke I have been formally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which I've been battling for the past year and a half but am only now feeling the brunt of.As a result of that and the accompanying fatigue/stress/pain I nearly failed out of college --incompletes, not actual flunking-- and stopped going to church entirely. I knew I needed to get back to church because I always felt so good when I was there, but by the time Sunday would roll around I would be so exhausted from the fibro that I'd just sleep all weekend, so I just didn't go.

I don't think I realized how unhappy I was until I took my vacation. When I found myself driving from Nashville to Richmond and detachedly realizing that I really didn't care if a truck killed me right there on the highway because my dog was safe, I scared myself right back into sanity.

What I didn't know then was that I was terribly ill. Not just with the Fibro, but with some sort of mystery disease combined with good old-fashioned Exhaustion. Not lower-case exhaustion, although I was that as well, but Big E Exhaustion. The sort that lands you in hospitals.

I got sicker and sicker. Christmas came and went and I didn't see or speak to another living person. I lost my voice for several days. Actually, I lost everything for several days since I don't remember much between the 21st and the 29th. I went to the doctor who discovered I was so dehydrated that the RN escorted me next door to the Injection Center, afraid I would collapse if I had to walk alone. I've slowly recovered and have gone back to work, albeit in zombie mode.

Then last Thursday I got an email.

It was an announcement that the 18-week Extended Discovery Class I helped facilitate last year was to start the following Tuesday, and I would be expected to facilitate again. I nearly lost my mind. Then God found it for me.

On Sunday morning I went to church. Not to worship, but because I had a meeting for a refugee ministry I co-chair. I was getting ready to tell George that I couldn't be part of the class when guess who tromps down the stairs and melts my heart?

George. I have a soft spot the size of Texas for George AND he was wearing the silk tie I bought him at Canterbury Cathedral.

Then I had a sudden lightning bolt moment of clarity.

I looked around the lobby at all the folks I hadn't seen in months and realized THIS, THIS is what it's all about. THIS is my life's calling. To love and serve the Lord with all my heart with all my soul and with all my might. It doesn't MATTER if I don't start seminary until I'm 31 instead of 30. I almost died (yes, I said it) this month because I'd let myself get so run down and miserable, and for what? So I could graduate six months earlier? That's ridiculous.

So I've decided to take the semester off. I'm taking time to refocus, get healthy and just put myself back on the path from which --through impatience and vanity-- I strayed. It's the best decision I've made in years.

Oh, and the funny part? You've probably already guessed. Last Sunday when I had my great big realization...that was Epiphany Sunday.
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