My Virtual Christmas Card:
Wow. 2022 has been so weird that it’s almost comical–if it wasn’t happening to me, that is. I’ve had more change, unknowns, ER visits, urgent care appointments, specialist consults, procedures with anesthesia, trips to Mayo, therapists, diagnoses, and so much more pain than I’ve ever had in a single year. I won’t go into all of it, but if anyone wants to make a medical soap opera about it, let me know!
My fur babies are the best thing about this year. They make my laugh, feel joy, and have purpose when things are blue… Or more like completely pitch black with no hint of light.
I also love my job, although I’m on a medical leave of absence. I work for Minneapolis Public Schools in special education in early childhood with deaf and hard-of-hearing students. They are amazing. Every step forward is a huge milestone to be celebrated, and I know I’m making a difference. I’m also teaching a couple of piano students who are fantastic to work with.
I have several friends and family, including my church, who have been incredibly supportive and practical–giving me rides, doing my dishes, buying me toilet paper, sending me money, listening to me be upset (and that’s not pretty!), explaining social situations, and giving me chocolate. Obviously that last one is the most essential. And my parents have let me sleepover after surgeries (including my very excitable 67 pound dog), bought their grand-kitties cat litter, and drive me to Mayo again and again. I wouldn’t have an apartment or my pets or my flamingo decorations or my piano or even partially-stable emotions without these people helping me out this year. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart.
Some people wonder how disabilities/trials affect my relationship with God. Sometimes it seems like they want me to say, “I learned X from this trial and Y and Z from this trial!” It’s definitely not that simple anymore. When I was in highschool and even part of college I saw things that way. But my story is not one of the nicely wrapped boxes that are testified about on stage at churches and inspirational conferences.
I have learned a new level of suffering, one that I didn’t even know existed. It’s beyond surgeries, unbearable physical pain, depression, anxiety. The deeper level is that I can’t see the reason why, I’m terrified this will never end, I’m not getting joy or peace from God’s presence, and I hate being so unbelievably needy as a 28-year-old single. Sometimes the anguish in my heart is unbearable, too. To get away from it I’ve done things that bring me guilt later. I understand the brokenness of the human experience.
In the Bible, it says that trials cause perseverance. I guess that’s true, because it’s not from any reward I’m experiencing to keep trusting God. My favorite quote by C.S. Lewis is in The Screwtape Letters:
“…when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do [God’s] will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
So it’s not a hugely cheery Christmas letter, but it’s real. I’m not going on my disability soap box to say why disabilities are augmented by social inaccessibility. I’m just going to say that they are hard. And I’m going to say that if you have something going on, don’t walk away from God because of it. He might not make you better, and He might not give you answers, but you will never be alone again. You will always have someone to talk to. Jesus will intercede for you and the Holy Spirit prays for us when our groaning are too deep for words–when you’re laying on the bathroom floor in a fetal position, bawling your eyes out, unable to utter anything except “help!” God knows what we mean.
Merry Christmas. He came as a baby so we don’t need to ever be alone in our tears, and in Heaven He will personally wipe all those tears away.
Marshall (dog), Missy, Scrawny, Buttercup, Honeypie, Luvve (cats), Frappe, Latte (rabbits), and many fish, 1 snail, 2 frogs, and several tadpoles.