(pics courtesy of our week at home)
I went back to the YMCA today. It was a step toward returning to my normal routine after spending the last 2 months in the hospital with Maggie. This last week home has felt like we finally had a light at the end of the dark tunnel we have be traveling down. That was until yesterday when Maggie's doctor informed us that her effusion was back and I saw that light turn dim. Tomorrow we will return for another follow-up to determine if she will have to be re-admitted to the hospital.
It was in between Tae-bo punches, round house kicks, and glances at the clock to see how much longer I had to go that I began pondering how you are supposed to respond when the light at the end of your tunnel goes dark again. I thought about friends fighting for their marriages and another fighting for her son's future as he moved in and out of treatment facilities. I remembered a friend who has traveled in and out of remission for cancer and several others whose light to dark circumstances feel far more serious than my own.
So if that is you, and you too feel like the light at the end of your tunnel is growing dim, I hope you find encouragement in these thoughts. Oh, and don't get angry with me if you disagree. Instead, blame it on the oxygen deprivation I was experiencing while starting to formulate my post. :)
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL GOES DARK AGAIN?
1. Keep your focus on the source of the light
I know that sounds like a Sunday School answer and it is hard to check off when you are in the thick of it. I believe it is important though and needs to be #1 because "the Source of the light", God, is the only One who knows the future. He is the best source of wisdom and comfort as you navigate the dark road ahead. He is like your Google Map lady when you are lost in the 5th Ward, at night, and can't find your way home. #Houstonianswillunderstandthat
2. Stop and don't travel another mile until you seek Him first and get direction
A lot of us would like to respond first and pray second but that is not what God calls us to do. You need to move only when He tells you to move.
3. In the words of Carrie Underwood, let "Jesus take the wheel" and you take care of yourself for a moment
Self-care is so important when you are going through a stressful situation. I don't know about you, but if I am not getting enough sleep, exercising, and taking a little time for myself, I don't think straight. You have to take care of yourself if you are going to be able to move on down the road. Cars don't drive on empty.
4. Help other motorists along the way.
This achieves 3 purposes: #1 it gives you perspective, #2 it takes your eyes off the darkness, #3 it advances the Gospel where you are.
5. Think about the destination and not the darkness.
When I focus on the darkness, I can come up with some crazy potential scenarios that may not be my reality but the emotional responses they generate are very real. It doesn't make any sense to picture your child gone, your marriage over, or your some other whacked-out worst-case scenario that is not yours. Instead, focus on the desired outcome (destination) until your reality tells you otherwise.
My sister forwarded a great quote to me today that goes with this:
“My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.” – French Renaissance Philosopher Michel Montaigne
6. Make memories on the journey.
The easiest thing is to wish for the tunnel to be over and the journey to come to an end. The reality is that time is passing in the tunnel and you don't get that time back when your circumstances improve. There are still good memories to be made where you are. Don't miss that opportunity.
And as a bonus - What NOT to do in the tunnel- Don't pull off the road and give up unless God has given you permission to walk away from your circumstance. I can say that He rarely calls us to walk away and, more times than not, that is the Enemy talking.
So there you go for my Tae Bo work out, tunnel driving, no light, yes this can suck, but it doesn't have to be all awful, thoughts on the when the light at the end of the tunnel goes dark.