So Why a Living Room?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day #32: Herbal Tea, Stars, and Acceptance.

I just enjoyed a hot cup of herbal tea out on the back patio, in the dark, looking up at the stars. I remember when my sister Lindsay and I used to sleep outside, and talk about who we were, and who we wanted to become, as we pondered the vastness of the sky. Ahhhhh.  It is so peaceful to be outside at nighttime. So relaxing.  I'm grateful for artificial lighting in some ways, but as long as I keep my lights on at night, I don't ever really calm down and feel ready to sleep. But if I watch a sunset or sit outside in the dark, I just start breathing more slowly and feel myself melt into contentment.  So that was nice.  I think I will do that again soon.

Also, I have been thinking a lot today about my diabetes.  I really do not like low blood sugar. It is such a nuisance, constantly creeping into my life.  There is never a good time to be low.  If it happens when I'm trying to exercise, I get dizzy and lightheaded and have to stop, check my blood sugar, treat the low, and then wait 15-20 minutes to exercise again.
If it happens when I need to drive somewhere, same drill.
If it happens while I'm getting my kids ready for bed I suddenly feel anxious, overwhelmed, and like I want to yell at everyone and I have to just calm down and tell myself to go check my blood sugar before I do anything crazy.
If it happens right before bed, I get so cranky inside that I JUST brushed my teeth (ARGH!) and now I have to go eat sugar that I don't want to eat anyway, and then I'll have to brush my teeth again before I go to bed.  I said no to that cupcake earlier so I wouldn't get HIGH blood sugar, and now, after I've brushed my teeth, I'm going to go eat a few glucose tablets.  Blaaaaaah!!!!
Or the best, if it happens in the middle of the night, I wake up in a cold sweat, breathing hard, shaking, and feeling paranoid but too confused to know right away what in the world is going on.  Then I get up, treat the low, eat a longer lasting carb, go brush my teeth, and spend 30 minutes trying to get my heart rate back down so I can fall asleep.
I know.  diabetes is so fun, huh?  And there are dozens more elements of this disease that are just like that.  Totally in the way, at all the wrong times, messing my life up and driving me crazy.  :)

And yet...

As I was expressing frustration to my mom tonight about how difficult it was for me to be patient with the boys while getting them to bed tonight in the middle of 2 lows, she said, "I didn't even notice that you weren't patient tonight."

And that was a divine checkpoint for me.

I realized, in that moment, more than ever before, that I really have BECOME someone I wouldn't be otherwise, because of diabetes.  I have learned how to not act on the impulses that I feel and to just wait out the emotional storm and be nice even when I feel mad inside.  I've learned how to graciously say no to food that isn't god for me, without feeling deprived or resentful.  I've helped my family establish healthier eating habits than I probably would have without all of the things I've read about nutrition and carbohydrates and all of my efforts to control my blood sugars.  I have become more dependent on the Lord than I otherwise would have had to, and more aware that, just like my insulin pump, I need HIM not just every hour, but every minute, and every second.  I need his power and his light infused into me every minute.

So tonight I weighed these scenarios in my mind:

What if I could wake up tomorrow and have diabetes completely gone, totally absent from my life? 

"Okay, definitely.  No more finger pricks, no more infusion sets, no more carb-counting, no more highs, no more lows, no more nightmare pregnancies... Awesome!"

But then I asked myself,
What if I could wake up tomorrow and have diabetes completely gone, but with it, would go all of the things that I have learned and who I have become over the last 7 years of plugging my way through this?

And you know what I answered myself?
"No way.  I wouldn't do it.  I wouldn't trade who I have become and all the Lord has taught me THROUGH the daily relentlessness of this whole thing, to have it all go away."

It felt really good to realize that, and to sort of have a slide show in my mind of all of the things I've wrestled with and overcome, the tender mercies that have helped along the way, and to see myself change and grow and become stronger and more faithful and more patient and more humble and more empathetic. 

I'm still learning, and I still fight this sometimes, and I still complain sometimes, but if diabetes were a person, I'd have to say in the end, that he is my friend.  And my teacher.  And what a loyal guy:  Even when I tell him to bug off, he never leaves my side.  :)

So the treasure that I bring back from my joy hunt today is that no matter what we may be facing, whether it be mundane, annoying, difficult,  tragic, frustrating, or downright impossible, I know that God can, overtime,  turn those things  to be for our good.  Those things become a vehicle to show us our inadequacies so we can see a need for a Savior and come to Him for help.  And then it can be said to us, as it was to Lehi's son, Jacob:

"Nevertheless...thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain."  (2 Nephi 2:2)

I know that's true.

Okay, enough artificial light already!  Go to bed, Em!!!


Brooke said...

I love how heartfelt and inspiring your posts are. Thanks for helping me dig a little deeper in myself to find the joy in my trials, as you have in yours.

Karen Sue Lakin McQueary said...

I love your empathy and your kindness even when I have been so undeserving. I've found joy in my trials and, like you, would not redo any of them, because they got me to where I was before "age" started beating at my door. Life is different, life is easier only because of my experiences and, yes, Em, because you lifted me through some really, really tough times. I love you and the way you love so dearly. Karen