Reflections on vertigo

Do you ever feel like sometimes the world is moving just a bit too fast, that all around you people are coming and going and doing while you are just standing there trying not to get blown over by the backdraft?

I’ve been feeling that way the past few weeks, which is more than a little ironic, considering that just before I had been one of those people rushing at mach speed to live life.

Nothing major happened. Just a little inner ear imbalance, and not even a major case at that. But it’s amazing how being just a little bit off kilter can bring your life to a grinding halt.

Or at least slow it down to a crawl.

I know there are people suffering with real problems. While I’ve been dealing with this ear problem a friend has been having tests to diagnose a mass in her stomach. Another friend is worrying about her family in Kenya.

I’m not whining about what’s wrong with me – it could be much worse. Just observing how, while I’m in a holding pattern, the world is flying by.

I’m not going to lie. It’s so discouraging. To one minute be filled with energy and creativity and the next to be drained empty. I had started 2008 with high hopes of finishing two book proposals and getting a lot of writing done. I had more ideas than I had paper to write them on.

I have been going to the gym. I needed to get out of the house before I really started to sink into a dark hole. I can do some of my work out, but am completely exhausted when I get home, and usually much of the next day. (I go back and forth about whether it’s a good idea to go or not, but it’s too depressing to see that I’ve gained back 2 of the 4 pounds I’d lost.) I can drive short distances but I get really seasick if I’m out and about too much so I’m basically anchored to my house.

I’ve been doing this daily Bible reading, trying to read the Bible in a year. Every day I read a portion of the Old Testament, the New Testament, Proverbs and the Psalms. I keep a separate journal and makes notes about what I’m reading, and I’ve been keeping up with the reading even through this vertigo.

I went back today and read something that made me laugh. There’s a place in Matthew where Jesus goes to Peter’s house. Peter’s mother in law is sick; Jesus heals her and the woman gets up and serves them all a meal. I laughed at first, thinking that it was just like a bunch of men to make the woman serve them right after she almost died.

But on the next page of my journal, I’d noted where Jesus had just found out that John the Baptist had been killed. Jesus tried to find privacy where he could grieve, but the crowds kept following him. So he ministered to them, and then of course he needed to feed them all so he did the miracle with the fish and loaves.

And that’s when it hit me. Through trying times – whether we’re talking near death or just exhaustion – we’re still to serve. God didn’t heal Peter’s mother in law so she could go rest. He healed her so she could serve him – literally. Jesus managed through his grief and exhaustion to heal multitudes and perform miracles.

When I look back on the last month that I’ve spent dealing with vertigo I realize that I haven’t been completely lazy. I’ve been praying faithfully for several friends with specific prayer needs. I’ve slept and rested a lot, yes, but I’ve also read several books. I’ve managed to do three weeks as a trial blogger at Beliefnet, finish two columns and start getting my paperwork ready for taxes.

I’m not sure why God has me in a holding pattern, but I’m starting to realize that there’s something for me to learn. Yes, I am drained of creativity. Yes, I am having difficulty finding column topics. No, I haven’t worked on any of my projects, something I was really fired up to do just a month ago.

But I do know this. In my exhaustion I am not to stop serving God. And when I am healed I am to keep serving God.

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