When I am in the hospital, my mom and I go for lots of walks. Our route almost always takes us past ICU. As we pass, we peek through the doors with mixed feelings of fear and fondness. It is overwhelming and fascinating to ponder what happened to my body in those 9 days. I gained about 10 pounds of water weight and then lost about 25 pounds total by the time I left. I was intubated and sedated for about a week. When I awoke, I couldn’t walk or even sit up without help. Actually, that comes so far from explaining how completely helpless I was. When I left the hospital about 6 days later, I still had to use a walker to get around my house, a step-ladder to get into my bed and have someone help me into the shower to sit on a shower chair. Remember, I am 44 years old. After about a week, I ventured outside and would walk one house down ( with said walker and a “companion’) and then come back to my house. If i was feeling strong, I would shuffle as far as the house on the other side of mine and come back again. I never wanted to go to far in any direction in case I wore out, or fell (which kinda strikes me as a funny image, for some sick reason). I tell you this pathetic story to point out the rapid muscle deterioration that can happen to a 44-year-old girl who has been working out regularly her entire adult life. She even “runs Marathons” (see blog: “Why I hate you, in a nutshell). It’s mind-boggling. NINE DAYS. That’s all it took for me to get that sick.
Sadly, that’s a record when I compare it to how long it takes me to get spiritually sick. It’s staggering really. I mean, I have been “working out” my spiritual self since I was about 9. I have read hundreds of books on the topic, been to thousands of church services, and spent hundreds of hours at camps, retreats and events designed to grow my faith. I have read my bible, prayed, journaled, led bible studies, written bible studies, mentored and been mentored by lovely, godly women. I have done all these things on a regular basis for 37 years, people. And guess what? It takes me a few days of living life without any of them to start acting like I didn’t learn squat-diddly-jack from any of it! I don’t believe God is keeping track of any of those “accomplishments.” But if I have learned anything, it’s that when I start to get busy and focused on meeting my own selfish desires, my default settings (such as impatience, intolerance, judgmentalism, ungratefulness, curtness, vanity, selfishness, and so on and so forth and what have you) begin to rear their ugly heads quite frequently. If i am not too terribly sick yet, I can catch myself and “reboot”. That’s when I realize that I have been distracted and frenzied and basically not putting “first things first”. I believe I have pointed out in a past blog that living the kind of life we want to live as the kind of person we want to be takes DAILY ( for me, hourly) redirection. We receive a “daily reprieve” if we are committed to connecting with God, well, daily. It’s not a law. It’s just a fact. It’s the principle of the SLIGHT EDGE: Everyone may not know TODAY that you eat a burger and fries for lunch everyday, but in a year, THEY WILL. In the same way, you (and others) may not notice TODAY that you have been neglecting your spiritual life, but in about, oh 9 days, they just might see some signs of sickness. It really doesn’t take very long for our self-will to supersede God’s will if we aren’t humbly listening to him regularly. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Just do whatever helps you hear His promptings, his whispers of how he loves you, and still small voice of wisdom and direction. If you can see it as a gift-to be able to have a vital spiritual connection with this all-powerful being, it won’t ever feel like a chore. It will be one of those “get to’s”. You will stay strong and won’t have to depend on a walker because your legs may fail you at any moment. And let me tell you-THAT’S A GOOD DAY.