“Coach, I’ve got nothin’ left.” I gasped during one of my last J.V. basketball games as a teen, in which I was fighting a fever and a cough, but also my desire to help my team (and some desire for dramatics, if I’m being honest). One of those sweet, silly, probably-not-the-smartest-way-of-handling-the-situation-but-it-it-worked kind of moments that dangles in the mobile of my memories. I like impressing a coach, but not necessarily with my (somewhat lacking) athleticism. When I had a life coach for a brief few weeks I valued it so highly, and so anticipated doing things to fulfill the expectations laid out for me. In one of the last sessions with this coach, I was tasked with answering this question: “What do you want to take with you into wellness that you’ve learned or gained in your illness?”
I think I tried to answer it that day with some pithy thing I hoped was profound. But the question still haunts me almost daily. Blogging now about it, I (perhaps naively) hope it helps others ponder their condition and what they are learning from it. Because, as my dad taught me, “you’d better be learning, or earning…or better yet, both!” and, when chronic conditions make it practically impossible to earn financially, I have to hope there is learning going on. Before I was debilitated with Lyme, I might have been contemplating getting my master’s degree. Today I was gathered with many thinkers who have a significantly more credentials to their names than I do. I have to admit wanting to have some, in my human prideful desires. But the Spirit of God in me erupts with desire to instead lay down everything I think I am or own and live with complete abandon to Him. I thought I’d learned how to do that while in my illness, that maybe that’s what I could take with me into wellness. As it turns out, I was in a four year program, not a post-grad degree or certificate, but the School of Chronic Lyme Disease and Its Peripheral Effects. I learned to hear myself say, “Lord, I’ve got nothin’ left” and hear His responses. I learned plenty about illness, Lyme & co-infections in particular, which you can read about in the rest of this blog.
Today, I think I realized the answer to that life-coach. But what I am now realizing is that I didn’t just learn some little lesson so that I could move on to other things. It’s life, coach. What I learned/gained was life — real, true, nourishing, healing, communion with God. That’s life. I need it, daily, every hour, every minute. If I think for one minute that I have (or should have) it all-together, can play this game on my own strength, can or must figure things out on my own, can earn the money to provide all my family needs, or can earn my significance in this world, then I’ve not taken it with me into my “wellness”. Not very impressive, eh, coach? Exactly. In my four year program, I earned vulnerability instead of credentials. I’m not proud of that, but maybe that’s the point.
Now stop reading my over-spilled thoughts and get…life!