Monday, October 24, 2011

The Road to Wisdom

I don't get it.  

I don't get how some mornings I wake up just a bit achy and can manage a normal routine, while other days the pain radiates all over making the simplest tasks a lot more challenging.  

I don't know why my neck won't move today.  It was fine yesterday. 

I don't know why my arm keeps tingling, going numb, feeling hot then cold.  

The most frustrating part is not being able to communicate - with myself.  I mean, you'd think after 36 years we'd understand each other.  

My one-year old has a few words under her belt.  Otherwise she communicates with grunts, groans, facial expressions and hand gestures.  I pride myself on being a fairly in-tuned translator and can almost always figure out what she's trying to "say".  When I take too long and can't figure out that she wants the purple and green puppy on the top shelf of sister's closet, she lets out a fierce pterodactyl-like scream (note:  I had no idea that's how you spell pterodactyl.  Crazy.) Anyway, I try to be patient because I understand her frustration.  Oh, to have something to say, but no words to say it.  

I feel like my body is screeching at me, in that all too familiar pterodactyl scream, and I'm just not figuring it out.  It's like a cruel game of charades.  It flails it's arm and legs, looking at me like, "hey, you should know this one!" and there I am guessing:

Did I overdo it?  Too much laundry?  Too much walking?  Too much pumpkin-patching?  
Did I not do enough?  Exercise?  Stretching? Yoga? 
Is it what I'm eating?  Sugar? Gluten? Dairy? All of the above?  
Stress?  Sleep?  Allergies? Vitamins?  

I don't know.  

I can't figure it out.

But here is what I do know.  

I have found purpose through pain, strength through weakness.   I say this sincerely as I type with one numb hand, as I sit on my exercise ball because a regular chair hurts my hips.  

Yesterday, our pastor said something that has been echoing in my mind the last 24 hours.  Here's the gist of it:

Sometimes the things that are the hardest, most challenging, 
end up being the very thing you're designed to do.  
Suffering is a road to wisdom.  
Suffering is part of the process to bring wisdom.  

Now let me pause for a second.  I don't want to get into a theological debate on sickness, suffering and healing.  I simply want to share that this last year, a year filled with pain, fear, and unanswered questions, has given me new purpose.  It has broken my heart, only to make it more tender.  It has renewed my mind, only to make me think clearer.  It has shattered my faith, only to refine it.  It has made me weak, only so I could  experience grace.  

So maybe I don't get it, but I know enough.  And in the meantime, I will continue to look for answers.  I will continue to choose health. I will continue to manage my pain with a goal of complete remission.  But more importantly, I will continue on this road, because I do believe that on this road there is wisdom.   And if that's the case, I don't want to take any shortcuts.  



  1. I can SO relate to your words. My husband has chronic pain, and I have some chronic health issues as well. Your words were an encouragement to me today.

  2. I love you too, V!

  3. Hi Stacie,

    Thanks for stopping by. Sorry you can relate but glad you were encouraged.


  4. This is beautifully written and only someone who has suffered and knows constant pain, could have seen the grace hidden in the midst of the journey. I can relate in a different way, but oh how I relate. And the irony is that my oncologist is perplexed when some weeks the cancer in my back is excruciating, while others, its not. My questions are the same. Diet? Vacuuming? Picking up the dog? Or worsening cancer? Or treatment not working? Etc... So if I must be on this road, and you have to be on this road, I am so encouraged to be doing this together :) Thanks for sharing this perspective so well and for the encouragement it offers!

  5. Vicky, you are amazing. Thank you for your thoughtful words. Peace and grace to you, my friend.