I have always had terrible posture. Growing up, my friends joked (always lightheartedly) about the way I stood or sat or walked.
I never cared about the consequences of having bad posture. My spine was still developing; besides, I liked standing, sitting and walking the way I did. After all, it made me who I was, right?
Fast forward to a number of years later. After completing secondary school, I started experiencing pain in the left side of my chest. Initially I thought I had heart problems, and that at 19 I was on the brink of suffering from a heart attack.
I tried to will and wish the pain away. Somehow I thought if I didn’t think or worry about it, then the pain would disappear.
But it didn’t.
With pain travelling down my left arm, I gave up on ignoring it. My mother and I stumbled into a doctor’s office for help. A few tests later, and … nothing. Apparently I was the very definition of health.
The pain would disappear for months, then return for a short while, only to disappear again. We clearly had an on-again, off-again relationship. How tragic.
Until about four years ago, when it returned with a vengeance.
The whole left side of my body was drenched in excruciating pain. I could barely concentrate in class or at work. By late afternoon I would be in bed with the chills. I could hardly sleep.
The left side of my body did not feel like it belonged to me. It felt dead. I felt dead.
Sometimes I thought, “It sure would be nice to not have to feel this pain at all. Permanently.”
Depression came to define who I was for about two years. I loathed the fact that I could not sit for one minute pain-free. I spent a lot of money going to doctors, trying to figure out what was wrong with me, what was wrong with my body.
Finally, I found a chiropractor who informed me I had scoliosis. The consequences of my poor posture came back full circle.
At last I received the treatment I needed, but the pain still persists; sometimes I feel like I’m being scathed with a sharp object.
I admit I was bitter at God for allowing the pain to persist.
I spent a great deal of nights in tears and prayer, but all I could hear was this: My grace is enough, Linda. My grace is enough.
But I didn’t want grace. I wanted healing.
I wanted to be free from pain, to be able to go to bed and fall asleep as easily as I had done before. I wanted to be able to sit in class (or anywhere) and not be in discomfort because my knee or my hip or my shoulder or my neck was in excruciating agony.
But after the two years I struggled with depression, I realized that I had become closer to God than I had ever been before.
It has taken a long while and a lot of prayer to understand that even though I may never receive physical healing in this life, I will definitely receive it in the next life. I don’t remember what it feels like to be pain-free, but I do know what it feels like to hear God say, “I love you.”
I most certainly don’t understand why I have to struggle daily with this. Some days I ask God why He’s allowed this to happen to me. On others I tell Him, “I don’t know why, but I thank you.”
Even though I’m not always thankful, I have to remind myself to look at my circumstances the way God views them; in doing so, it reminds me to have a grateful heart. In everything.
Flickr photo (cc) by Unfurled