I read a blog post by Rev. Joan Grey yesterday that spoke to me. Read it here: https://joansgray.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/whats-it-all-for/ It’s title is “What’s it all For?” and she writes about being a leader of a church. While my concerns aren’t with being pastor of a church, I can’t help but ask this question of myself. Joan writes:
“After I lived with this question for a while what emerged for me was the phrase ‘conformed to the image of Christ.’ (Rom. 8:29) The fruit of a faithful church is people being conformed, even better transformed, into being like Jesus. And transformed people can transform communities. And transformed communities can transform the world…… When it begins to happen, the Holy Spirit will be managing and transforming us instead. What we can do is to ask different questions, such as ‘What does God want us to be doing now?’”
This is the question I am asking myself. I need to live in the present and not worry about the future. I ask questions such as, “What is God calling me to do with my life? “ I look at what other people are doing and get mad about what I’m not able to do which tends to hurl me off the cliff into depression. When I fall off that cliff into the darkness, I’m in big trouble! But even in the darkness, the moon shines brightly. Seeing the moon reminds me that God is there. God is always there, whether I believe it or not.
My current frustration is my inability to drive at night. I had to miss a choir rehearsal last week because I didn’t have a ride and this week isn’t looking much better. The American way of life often means being in control and having complete independence. This isn’t really true and those of us who have disabilities know this. I thought I’d already learned this lesson but it appears I need a reminder.
So my question I’m asking God this week is: “With my limitations, are you calling me to do right now?”
If you are a brain injury survivor or have another disability, are their things you would like to be doing but you cannot? How do you handle this?
Sometimes I get ideas in my head and I can’t seem to get them out. I’m aware this often happens in brain injury and I have found the best way to handle it is to stop thinking about whatever it is I’m obsessing over and do something else. This is a problem for me and I’ve learned techniques to avoid this. One of those techniques is to make myself do something else, anything else, and come back to the issue later.
However, I don’t think that’s what this is. I’m trying to listen for the voice of God which is really easy to mix up with your own. Does God want me to do something, or do I really want to do it and somehow make it out to be God’s will so I can do what I wanted to do in the first place?
This picture is a pile of books I have about brain injuries and other disabilities. I had others that were destroyed in the flood here in Asheville and I didn’t replace them. I really try not to buy books now unless I really need them since I feel bad spending money on books when my income isn’t very high and I don’t have much of an office in which to store them. For the past few months, I can’t seem to get out of my mind the idea of writing a book about TBI so I may replace some I Iost and purchase others.
I’ve read several books specifically about brain injury that were more of a biography but didn’t have very much theology in them. I feel called (is it me, or is it God?) to write a book about brain injury and include some theological thoughts. The problem is, I can’t seem to put my thoughts together in a way that makes sense. I then become frustrated.
I think what I need to do is continue thinking about it and trying to come up with some sort of structure but not to focus only on it until I’m sure this is what God is calling me to do. It’s often true I learn a lot about myself when I write. In fact, this is one of the main ways I learn about myself so perhaps writing is for me and not for a book. (Plus the publishing world is crazy right now so I may not even be able to get anything published.)
One stumbling block is access to a library or an ability to buy whatever book I wish to buy. I have some theological thoughts about the difference between healing and curing as well as “caregiver” and “care partner” but I need to do some research on it which is difficult to do when I’m not close to a theological library. I’m aware many folks get a Doctor of Ministry degree and then use their thesis as a book but I have no interest in working on this degree. There are too many obstacles and frankly, there isn’t a reason for me to get one except to write a book! So this year, I plan to pray for God’s direction on this as I try and come up with an outline.
Today is the first day I’ve felt well since Dec. 24 and its Epiphany. In addition to Pentecost, Epiphany is my favorite day of the church year so 2015 is starting out right. I really don’t have any words of wisdom to impart on this day but I feel so much better, I decided to write even if I have nothing to say!
I did have a disturbing dream last night although now I’m pretty sure it’s mainly because I have felt so bad for the past three weeks. I was attending some sort of conference on Ponce de Leon Street in Atlanta and folks from different parts of my life were there. I didn’t know them but it was clear they were participants in my life.
I remember there were three or four seminaries all in different cities but they were all located in Atlanta. At one point, we got on a bus to go to dinner in a park outside. We were crammed in but I was sitting by myself. When we arrived at the park, the meal wasn’t organized well and the line was long. I looked for vegetarian items by squeezing between people in the line so I could look at each dish. I had no luck and ended up getting a plate of tortillas and cheese.
I then couldn’t find a chair and after searching and searching, I ended up kneeling on the floor. I woke up so I don’t know what happened next. I think I dreamt this because I’ve been feeling separated from the world lately since I haven’t been able to do anything. I also remember feeling terribly alone while those around me were busy doing things which is often how I feel.
It also showed my frustration with my life for I have to work so much harder than everyone else to do much less. I’m also aware that most folks don’t understand my challenges and how hard it can be sometimes to simply do anything. Knowing it is a brain injury issue doesn’t make it any easier. I’m glad I had the dream though, because it’s one way I can express my feelings that is nonthreatening and not annoying to folks who don’t really understand traumatic brain injury.
While swimming at the Y this morning, I saw this bumper sticker which expressed exactly how I felt at the time. I thought about Sparky and how he is always wagging his tail and is happy most of the time. I know it’s a fine line to pretend you’re happy when you’re really not but I have a tendency to only see the dark side of things. I need to remember to always look for the light even when I feel bad inside.
I have felt bad these past three weeks but now I’m ready to begin this New Year. I wonder where the star will lead me?