These last several weeks have borne a whirlwind of emotions - a non-stop roller coaster between my mind and my heart. They have tested my patience, brought me to my knees over and over again, left me asking, crying, "Why?". Given me reasons for abounding joy and situations of great sorrow. Allowed for the deepest gratitude only to be met with the same, uncertain fear. They have hurt my heart. Left me feeling alone in my confusion, sad in the outcomes, accepting in what seemed liked defeat.
They have humbled me. They have confused me. They have tested me. I have felt like I have been in the thick of a battle, like the weight of our whole world rests on my shoulders. Trying to force answers, decipher the uncertainty, accept everything onto myself. It has worn me down, taken my strength, weakened my heart.
And it isn't over.
In the last two weeks, what seems like a very important step in C's career will not happen but another important step has opened up because of it. It happened so very quickly that I didn't have time to process every emotion that accompanied this next step. There is so much joy that this opportunity has come. So much gratitude that this has been given but there is a sacrifice that accompanies it. There is a sadness in that lost opportunity and I have moved too quickly to allow myself to acknowledge it. I put that emotion on hold and moved straight into "go mode" to prepare for the task at hand.
Last week there was unspeakable happiness when Dr. T told us she was confident that she could go ahead and say that Eli did not have Cystic Fibrosis. There were so many tears shed during the weeks of waiting to hear those very words that I thought the tears shed in joy were the last I would have for some time. When the phone call came that the CF Center "did not share confidence in a negative diagnosis at this time" I didn't have tears left. I didn't understand. I had already moved forward.
I have said time and time again that I am a planner. I want to be in control. I want to know what the next step will be - and the twelve steps after that - before I take them. I want to be "doing", to be constantly moving, to be at the front of the race, to be one-step-ahead. These last several weeks have not allowed me to breathe. Strike that. I have not allowed myself to stop, to breathe, because there "is no time." There are medical tests, and parties to plan, and commanders' spouses to meet, and hair to wish back, and traditions to learn, and cakes to order, and curtains to finish, and a house to clean, and presents to mail, and new music to teach, and visitors to plan for, and doctors to see, and FRG classes to take, and patches to sew on, and stetsons to stomach, and people to smile at, and things to get "perfect". There is so much to do. I don't have time to process, to feel, to anything-else-but-DO.
I burned my hand today because I was moving too fast. I was whisking a roux while stirring a stock - crossing my arms over each other. Genius - I know. The bottom of my right palm up along the side to the tip of my pinkie is burnt. Where the skin folds in or stretches out when I move my thumb is blistered. My right hand is wrapped in a rather constricting way because of how I managed to burn it.
I am right handed.
It was the last straw. Every single task-at-hand requires the full, unobstructed use of that hand. I was moving too fast - trying to do too much at once. It's my fault.
The combination of the burn that I am feeling in my hand and my awesome sinuses reacting to the yo-yo weather we are having here have me very much awake at a time when I really should be asleep. Very much left alone with my swirling thoughts and through it all I have heard over and over again, "Be still."
When my thoughts jump from my very long to-do list for the next several days to how on Earth I am going to do them without using that hand ... Be still.
When I think about the test that will be submitted and sent off tomorrow and the weeks of waiting we have ahead of us for the answer that may lead to more testing and more questions and the "Why are we here again!?" there it is again ... Be still.
When I worry about the future, about the future of the military, of C's career, of the changes ahead, of the new guidelines, of the sacrifice of one important step for the promise of another, when I try to weigh if one can be more important than the other, once more ... Be still.
Sometimes the scream is as a whisper - both a guidance and an order. A comfort and a firmness. A challenge for someone like me.
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.