Transformation

Yesterday at Circle of Mercy Mahan Siler preached a sermon titled When the Power Goes Out. I must say I could really relate to it.  He spoke about powerlessness and how this drives us to prayer.

In his sermon last night Mahan reminded us of I Corinthians 12:7 where Paul writes about the “thorn in his side.” I know that no one knows exactly what this thorn was but I feel my brain injury is the “thorn in my side.”  I have never asked God to take my brain injury away as Paul appears to have done with his thorn but it does feel a bit like a thorn.

I have a Presbytery meeting tomorrow and I thought it was at a different place.  Since I don’t need to take my nap anymore, I decided not to figure out how to do this during the meeting.   I figured I could find a room somewhere at the church, put in my ear plugs and “rest my brain” for a few minutes. 

 However, I realized over the weekend that the meeting is in an unfamiliar place.  Since I don’t do well with the unexpected, I needed to figure out how to deal with my over stimulation.  So I called and got directions to where I could go for a break.  I need to be prepared for when my spatial orientation stuff kicks in and I have that “flighty” feeling.  I can deal with it much better if I think about it happening before it really does happen.

So everything is all set.  The problem is, I worry about all the little things that might happen.  Will I be able to get to the meeting okay after taking Sparky to “Doggie Daycare?”  Will I get overstimulated and have to find a place to “rest my brain?” Will I have difficulty finding my car after the meeting is over?  I’ve decided to pack a lunch and will eat in a quiet room somewhere to get out of the stimulation.  I saw the button pictured below today and it struck a nerve.

I’m afraid I worry too much about what people think about me. My cognitive therapist reminded me that folks have so much on their minds already, they probably don’t even think about me at all!

At the risk of doing the “proof text” thing, I did rediscover Romans 12:2 today.  “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.” 

It doesn’t matter what the world thinks of me.  I pray that my mind will be transformed into being what God calls me to be and not what God calls others to be.  Sometimes when I see all the other ministers (teaching elders) and elders (ruling elders) I feel bad since I cannot do as much as they can.  Our society is so “do” oriented which leaves those of us who are unable to do as much, behind.  Yet,  I think God really isn’t interested in how much each of us does but rather in how we relate to God and the world around us. 

Gracious God, transform me!  I cannot do it myself even though I too often try.  Amen     

Future

After I swam at the Y this morning, I stopped at Earthfare to pick up seltzer water.  After shopping, I always have difficulty finding my car.  (spatial orientation)  It’s become natural for me to always find some sort of landmark on the row where I park and then look for that landmark when I return.  If it’s a complicated parking situation, I usually have to write down the landmark or I won’t remember it. 

However, this morning I noticed how simple it was for me to do this.  Many years ago, this wasn’t so simple and I often couldn’t find my car in a small parking lot.  I mentally patted myself on the back for how much I have grown.

I’m glad this happened today because I’ve been remembering what I could do before my accident and feeling a bit melancholy about this. Whenever someone experiences a deep loss, the sad feelings never go away.  They get more muted and appear less often but they’ll always hurt. I used to get a bit angry about this.  “My TBI happened in 1996!  Surely the pain of that will go away.”     

Today I read Romans 8:26-27.  I like the Inclusive Bible here: “The Spirit, too, comes to help us in our weakness.  For we don’t know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit expresses our plea with groanings too deep for words.  And God, who knows everything in our hearts, knows perfectly well what the Spirit is saying, because her intercessions for God’s holy people are made according to the mind of God.”

I don’t know how to pray about my feelings around my losses but Paul’s words remind me, that’s okay. I need to stop and make sure I let the Spirit flow through me.  She knows what I cannot express and will help me find a way to express it. I only need to accept the richness that is my life. I still cannot thank God for my brain injury but I will stay open to what is in the future. My shopping trip this morning reminded me how far I have come.  Who knows what the future holds?

The Endless Summer

I read a blog post in the New York Times this morning called The Endless Summer by Mark Bittman http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/the-endless-summer/?hp He makes the point that the climate has changed and now he wonders how bad it is going to get and when we’re going to realize it.

This reminded me of a recent panel discussion I saw where the panelists were talking about how hot it is getting now.  George Will said  it is easy to figure out. “It’s summer.”  I’m not understanding how people can be so ignorant.  Well, I guess I do understand why the big corporations don’t want to invest in the millions of dollars needed to make the change but I’m losing patience. 

I don’t know all the technical explanations for what is going on but it is clear something is happening and we must do something about it soon. Bittman makes the following comment in his blog in response to folks who have said the ramifications of  climate change are manageable.

“Which I suppose they are, as long as you’re wealthy and able to move around at will.  But it’s not manageable to the corn farmers losing their crops (many are just chopping them down). the ranchers selling off their cattle, the thousands of people in Colorado Burned out of their homes in fires caused by the worst drought since 1956 or those who will lose their homes or jobs to fire, flood, drought or whatever in coming years.  How will they ‘manage’?”

It does seem that those who are most hurt by the environmental  changes really have no power to change them.  The only thing this has to do with brain injury is it seems many folks with disabilities often don’t have power to change things.  I think this is one reason we need the church.  Perhaps folks joined together can work to make the changes in our society we so desperately need.  However, sometimes the church doesn’t even see things clearly which is why we need organizations that will push hard for those changes.

Doggie Daycare

My dog Sparky is too smart for his own good and he has such energy, I’ve learned it helps to take him to doggie daycare.  At first I thought it was sort of a stupid idea but it really wears him out to be around other dogs all day. 

I decided to take him today since I had to work in the Grace Covenant Church’s community garden this morning.  Plus I had a luncheon engagement so I figured it would stimulate him instead of laying around all day. 

This dog certainly needs stimulation! We adopted him after he had been thrown out by two other owners because they couldn’t handle his energy.  He reminds me of the child who acts up because he or she is too smart and gets bored.  

However, when it was time to pick him up, it was pouring rain outside.  Do to the way my eyes handle glare, I don’t drive at night and the rain made it sort of dark.  Plus it started coming down pretty hard so I joined two other cars who had pulled over off the road on an exit ramp. 

Finally it slowed down enough so I felt safe driving again.  However, on the road where the daycare is, there was an obstruction so the road was closed.  I still have to use my GPS when I’m going to this daycare and I had no idea how to get to it another way.  I figured I could find some street parallel to it and skip the area where it was closed.

Well that didn’t work at all.  It’s by a university and I got all turned around going into the campus.  I ended up where I started and it was raining even harder.  The only thing I could think of to do was to ask the person directing traffic for directions.  So I got out in the pouring rain and he spouted off the directions.

Unfortunately my brain doesn’t work that way.  I have to write it down or I can’t remember it. So I ran back to my car in the pouring rain, grabbed a pencil and paper which I should have brought with me in the first place.  I think I always secretly hope I’ll remember directions without writing them down but I never can.  He was sort of impatient with me since he was trying to direct traffic but I thought I understood well enough.

I ended up winding back and forth down the various streets with the GPS voice constantly saying, “recalculating.”  Sometimes it even wanted me to turn onto a dead end street!  After a good 30 minutes of driving on twisting, narrow roads in the pouring rain, I managed to find the daycare.

That was step one.  Step two was trying to find my way home.  I must say, I do hate when someone gives me verbal directions.  I just cannot understand them.  Many folks have no idea how much of a challenge directions are for me and they grow weary of always having to repeat everything they say slower so I can write them down.  

One thing I noticed about my 1 1/2 hour trip, was how I didn’t get anxious or upset.  If I had to be somewhere at a specific time, I probably would get very anxious but it felt good to remain calm. My challenge now is for me to avoid panicking when I get lost going to planned meeting.