Monday, April 13, 2009


Sorry about the lack of posts the last couple of days.  For the last two weeks I've been besieged by migraines.  It's been a long haul, and I'm not out of it yet.  Daily for a full fourteen days, by the time the sun passes due south and heads toward the horizon, my head is pounding, light begins to hurt and my stomach does a floor exercise worthy of the Olympics.  I'm a connoisseur of headaches, have been for almost 40 years. And I never quite get used to them. Each one hurts exactly as much as the last one.  Well, that might not be completely true.  Over the years I've had some doozies.

Once in college, I had such a bad headache, my roommates alerted my parents, who took me to the emergency room.  I lay writhing in pain, and the girl in the next cubicle didn't help. She'd been at a party, got a little (a lot?) plastered, and popped her jaw completely out of joint. I'm telling you that's toward that's definitely on the list with things I hope never happens to me (being bit by a rattlesnake, being in an airplane crash, and killing another human being are at the apex).  This girl was in so much pain, she was screaming incessantly, which made my headache seem like a paper cut.  However,the result of that (and other) headaches, I was run through the gauntlet of medical tests, including a spinal tap.  Unfortunately, after the tap, a nurse's aid came into my hospital room with dinner and pressed the button on my bed to help me sit up.  As a result, I got a spinal tap headache--excruciating pain when I was vertical and no pain at all when I was horizontal.  It lasted almost a week, and I've never forgotten!

Years and a thousand migraines later, I began having what are known as icepick headaches.  These are exactly what they sound like.  My doctor called it "equisite pain."  About every 30 seconds, I felt a jolt of pain through my skull.  If that sharp stab of pain had lasted longer than an instant, it would have killed me, I know it would have.  I had that headache 24-7 for seven straight weeks.  Finally I accidentally discovered that the medication I was taking to alleviate them actually prolonged the agony.

I realize this litany of head pains isn't nearly as fascinating to anyone reading this post.  It's not really all that interesting even for me.  But as always, I have a point.  And it is this:  In a very real way, migraines have helped defined me.  They created borders in my life during the long years of bearing and raising children.  Whereas other women might have experienced cramps, PMS, all sorts of personality changes, I had headaches.  And I thought--hoped and prayed--that those would dissipate with age and changes in my hormones.  This has not proved the case.

But it seems to me that we all have such borders, edges in our lives beyond which we cannot go.  Beve often says that the fundamental need and drive of humans is for control, control over their environment, their own lives, and the lives of those around them.  What headaches--well, all my physical pain, for that matter--have created is the realization that no matter what I do, I am not control of even my own body. When it comes to my health, I am weak.  And that weakness creates a dependency on God that is only good.  I cannot pretend I can do life on my own; shoot, a lot of the time, I can barely stand up and walk without His Holy assistance.

See, I know my own house would be built on sand, if I had it to do myself.  And I think all of us need to get to such a point.  In fact, I believe He uses many means to move us into a house built on the Rock.  We only fool ourselves when we think we are masters of our own domain, so to speak.  Or at least when we think that we are better at our own lives than He would be.  So--to be redundant--I thank Him that avenue isn't open to me.  It has made my life a whole lot easier to stand on the rock.

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