I don't know how to put into words all that has gone on over the past two weeks. All my thoughts are jumbled together. I feel like I am on the verge of some brand-new era of life. I am still struggling with some bitterness and doubt, but I feel that it is being healed and that I am given more strength to stand up and fight my daily battles. I've managed to continue to go to church despite fear and anxiety about not being included in the fellowship. Somehow, I've managed to believe those whisperings in my soul that tell me that at any time God could choose to bless me and that if I stayed home and entertained my sorrow I might miss those blessings.
I've been reading Duane Miller's book, Out of the Silence. I want to meet that man! At first it was difficult for me to read any of it. I had been so excited about reading it, but when I actually sat down to do it, I was overwhelmed with hurt and bitterness. He had been healed. Healing wasn't for me. God had made a fake promise to me in 1991. He had dangled the hope of healing in front of me and just allowed me to get a taste, and then He had taken it away again. Now He was dangling it before me again. Should I taste it now? Or maybe I had made the whole thing up because I wanted to see so badly.
That was on Saturday, August 29. But later that night, an amazing thing happened. It was as if I was allowed to look at myself from an outside perspective. I saw a young teenage girl standing there, crying. I heard her pleas for someone to love her, and I realized that this was the image of myself that I had hated for so long. That angry, bitter child wanted nothing more than to be loved and accepted. I had always known that these were my desires, but I also knew that in the moments of my deepest pain I exploded into angry accusations. Eventually, I decided that this must be the way that all people think of me--selfish, angry, bitter.
But looking from this outside perspective, I was overwhelmed. In that moment, it was as if I had two selves: one strong, mature, and compassionate; and one as described above. Somewhere in my soul I understood. Someone had to accept that girl, even if that someone was only herself. I saw my strong self holding her in my arms and felt the fear, the anger, the bitterness, the hopelessness, and the urge to harm myself drain from deep within me. I wanted to sleep a long, refreshing sleep.
On Sunday, I began reading again. I was struck with two thoughts. I realized how often I was urged to look at other people's situations and think of how much better off I was. I also realized how much of my own emotion Duane Miller was expressing. He knew what it was to feel cut off from the activities of his family and friends. He knew what it was to be discriminated against in employment and to feel it his duty to understand the logical reasons behind the act. He knew what it was to be at the mercy of a degenerative illness, to be made fun of by people who did not understand his disability, to wonder what he could possibly do with his life, and, ultimately, to despair of living and to wish himself dead.
As I thought about these things, another realization came to me. I realized why it bothers me when people tell me to think how much worse things could be. It hurts because I am expected to hide the truth about my pain, to minimize my own feelings. Of course, the people who say these things are all well-meaning. But as I read this book, I realized that God never minimizes my pain. He doesn't lead me to people with more severe disabilities to make me "feel better" because my problems aren't really so bad. He leads me there to tell me that I am not alone. And somehow, there is a comfort in knowing that I am not alone. There is a comfort in knowing that someone else has experienced the same emotions that I have experienced.
I began to realize something else as I read and prayed. It isn't selfish for me to get something to eat or to go to the doctor. I would never think of denying myself food or care because others are more in need of it. On the spiritual level, I would never refrain from asking for forgiveness because someone else was more in need of it. Yet all this time I have been feeling guilty and selfish for asking for my healing because I can squeak by in this life as a blind person and because there are people who are dying in this world.
Furthermore, it is tempting to scrap the request for healing because this life is just temporary. What's REALLY important is eternity. But God made this world just as He made the heavens. He said that we will have trials and tribulations, but this world and everything in it is still His. If it all belongs to Him, why should I expect anything less than for His glory to be revealed or for Him to care about what goes on in His created world? If I want something, my job is to ask. His is to provide No, He doesn't always provide in the way that I had hoped, but He always does provide.
So what are my needs? I have to dig deep enough to lay them all out. I need cleansing from the pain and bitterness. I need for my needs for food and shelter to be met. And what do I want? I want to be able to get around independently. I want to have fellowship with someone in this town. I want to be able to look at God's creation and appreciate it in all its beauty.