When I was diagnosed with Leukemia we were forced to adjust to a “new normal.” We have been working on that for almost 4 months. We are getting pretty good at living this new normal. However, in about a month, when i am done with Chemo and hopefully done with hospital stays, we will again have to adjust to “another new normal”. (NORMAL is actually a pretty naive word, because every minute of the day is a “new normal”, but we will save that topic for another day. Just roll with it for now). This is where the schizophrenic “Wonder Woman” comes on the scene…the one who can’t remember where she left her blasted wristbands, who is too bloated to fit in her lingerie, oh, I mean “outfit”, whose boots are giving her blisters and where the heck is that lasso anyway? Those kids!” Not the picture of a Super Hero any of us would aspire to be like. After she sits down with a bowl of salted-caramel ice cream and polishes off some wine and half a bag of Doritos ( this is all hypothetical, of course), she starts to “WONDER” about this “NEW NORMAL”.
…”I WONDER if I can pay my bills. I WONDER if I will be able to work. I WONDER if anyone will ever help me do anything again after all the generosity…does it run out? I WONDER if I can keep up with housework and meals on my own. I WONDER if my new friends only like me because I have cancer. I WONDER if my old friends will keep visiting me. I WONDER if my body will ever stop looking and feeling like I aged 20 yrs over night. These are just some of the things that this WONDER Woman WONDERS. But this is what I want you to hear me say: “WONDERING IF”is just a less VULNERABLE way to say, “I WORRY THAT” or “I’M AFRAID OF”. Trying to be clever by admitting I WONDER doesn’t bother me at all. Admitting that I WORRY or am AFRAID makes me squirm on the inside. It feels weak and faithless. Surely God doesn’t want that from me, right?
This is an area that is a constant battle for me. it’s about Ego and wanting to APPEAR confident and on top of things. Brave. Strong. It started with the lie I told myself years ago that I had to be the perfect role model for others if I was going to be any use to God. In the past few years, as a result of being humbled beyond belief, I have learned, or am learning, that being REAL and VULNERABLE are much more endearing to people than having them think you are a “good girl” or a “strong girl.” I have a long way to go. Even in the hospital, when they told me I DON’T NEED A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT, I remember having a slight hiccup in my chest as I began to speak to the doctor but immediately pushed it back down. Regained control. I mean, how silly would it look for me to burst into tears in front of my doctor and her residents in training? They all left the room as I politely thanked them for this splendid news and THEN I burst into tears. Letting out the breath I didn’t even know I’d been holding for months.
I am just sitting here shaking my head ( naturally, beating myself up for my lack of progress). I suspect this will be a life-long process for me. But one thing I am convinced of, even though it’s not easy to practice, is that ( per an insightful author named Brene Brown) living a WHOLEHEARTED life is as much about EMBRACING our VULNERABILITY as it is about CLAIMING POWER. Maybe that’s why Paul, the dude from the bible, boasts in his weakness. Even when he begs God to take his “thorn” (something God gave him to remind him to stay humble) away, God says to him-“My grace is sufficient for you, for my POWER is made perfect in WEAKNESS.” (1 Cor. 12:9) And how does Paul respond to this? He says, “therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that GOD’S POWER may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG.”
After all this, the biggest WONDER ( translate: worry, fear) I have, is that I will go back to the “OLD NORMAL”. I don’t want to waste the suffering. I desire transformation in ME and ANYONE who this “NEW NORMAL” has touched.