What do I have to be thankful for? These past few months have been the worst period of my life. A time of despair and gloom. Thanksgiving? No thanks.
I went to the ENT in August having a hoarse voice, but otherwise feeling great. He put me on three medications that made me feel bad, and gave me reflux. He thought I had reflux already, even though my only symptom was my voice problem. Maybe he’s right. All I know was that before those medicines I felt great and after those meds, I’ve felt miserable
I tried going on and off meds. I tried switching meds. I changed my diet. Low fat. No ice cream. No cookies (Shannon’s an amazing baker). Stopped eating anything after 7:00. Propped up our bed. Got a wedge-shaped pillow. Loosened my belt and untucked my shirt. Nothing helped.
I had headaches. Reflux in my throat. Cramps in my stomach. I’ve lost 20 pounds. I’ve slept badly, waking up anxious.
I have seen 2 ENT’s, 2 GI’s, a speech therapist, a nutritionist. I visited a medical professional 2-3 times a week. I had a colonoscopy, and endoscopy and a mole removed twice (just to be safe).
Since I didn’t have enough crisis in my life, Superstorm Sandy came. We lost power for 4 days. During this time, I was supposed to have the stitches removed on my mole-removal wound. But the doctor’s office, like everyone else, had no power, so my stitch removal was delayed. During the delay, the wound got irritated, so I was put on an antibiotic. The antibiotic made my reflux worse.
And yet, despite my misery, there are still things to be thankful for.
Friends. Friends have listened. They have prayed for me and with me, spontaneously laying hands on me in classrooms and shopping mails. During our period of powerlessness, friends shared showers, meals, and even a generator. When I told author Frank Viola about my struggles, he sent me a chapter from his book, Revive Us Again, how God brings light out of dark times. Friends have sustained me.
Family. All the things I said about Friends, ditto with family. Prayer. Sympathy. Support. But my family has blessed me particularly with humor. My soul needs to laugh.
God’s word. The psalms have been my constant friend. Giving words to my thoughts, fears, hopes and prayers.
God. I’ve never been closer to God. Desperation has driven me to God.
Hope. God is healing me, slowly. My voice is better. The headaches have diminished. Sleep isn’t great, but it’s improving.
God recently gave me a light bulb. I was in my office reading and praying through Psalm 107 when my friend Tony stopped by to give me lightbulb that I needed for my lamp. I asked for the bulb a couple of weeks ago, but it was a unique bulb, so it took awhile to find. After Tony left, I looked down in my journal and read what I prayed right before Tony arrived:
Bring me out of darkness and gloom (see Psalm 107:10).
Perhaps it was just coincidence, but I don’t think so. I prayed for God to enlighten me and he sent a lightbulb through a friend. That lightbulb was a sign that God listens and wants to illuminate my life and heal me.
I’m thankful for lightbulbs.
What are you thankful for?
I was very moved by your Thanksgiving post. So honest. I will be saving it to my file as a reminder and demonstration of one of the wonderful ways God shows he hears us and is close to us — even in our misery — when we pour out our troubles to him as the psalmists did. I love the way God connected with you one day in a timely word from his word along with the lightbulb! Not, as you say, a “co-incidence” but, as someone has said, a “God-incident”! I have also experienced God communicating with me by timely words from Scripture — and, often, by repeating a message to me with the same Scripture or the same theme on the same day! — when I am listening intently to what God is saying. For years I have called these “convergences” and have then paused to meditate and journal. One author calls them “sacred echos.” I think God brings about these timely and converging personal messages from his word to confirm his closeness to us. They are also a way of experiencing the give-and-receive relationship with Jesus that he talks about in Revelation 3:20! After 11 years of these occurrences, I am still overwhelmed with joy and gratitude — every time! — whether in the midst of joy or pain of some sort. God is good even when life isn’t. I am glad you are experiencing some healing and hope you will soon be well again. Praying for you …
What a lovely honest post, David. Blessings. I too had a hoarse throat with acid reflux, which completely cured itself by cutting out cheese, mac cheese, spicy foods, fatty foods like duck and lamb, late meals, orange juice, milk, acidic stuff like tomatoes and strawberries etc. The cure seems worse than the disease–on the other hand, there was a cure.
Things could be worse; my husband just died.
What am I thankful for? Well, for one thing, your honesty. It does sound likes it’s been a rough time, so sorry! Here’s a great children’s book for you: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Just so that you know that you are not alone, in having our bad days. I am glad you can find some light amidst the darkness. Blessings to you. Cindy
Wow Dave. Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate your reflections on all of this. I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic – God bringing light in the darkness. Just preached a sermon about it Sunday. I thought about you, mostly b/c I spoke out of Habakkuk, and anytime I’m working with obscure OT prophets I think of you, but also b/c I know you’ve been through it lately. There are lots of people I know suffering deeply right now, as most of our culture puts on a facade of cheer for the holiday season (it is the most wonderful time of the year, right?). And I’ve really been thinking about what it looks like to be faithful and honest at the same time. Thanks for modeling that.