By Kami Lingren
Reprinted with the kind permission of Kami Lingren and Living Grace.
Cars and pedestrians steadily streamed past me as I sat on the corner of our street, exhausted after walking the short distance from our home. My husband had gone back for “the wheels”, aka the wheelchair, and I waited as the world around me whizzed by. Yet again, I found myself at a standstill.
In many ways my body and I have come to terms with how we deal with this Lyme invader. We’ve agreed to fight hard, and I’ve found that often looks like resting. Rest has always been difficult for me.
I sometimes feel this uncomfortable force behind me…have you felt it, too? This steady nudge telling us that constantly moving forward and up is the only way to success, healing, purpose, dreams, and self growth. There is truth within that, but I think sometimes the path is more complicated.
Going backward isn’t an option. Digressing into bad habits and downward spirals of regret and self-critique only harm. We have come beyond that, and continue to work through it, not only to better ourselves, but hopefully to better the world around us.
But there are times when we are seemingly at a s t a n d s t i l l in life. Where direction is lacking or completely void, sickness is demanding, or the job can’t change. We are in a season of waiting, of the answer repeatedly being “not yet.”
I have felt the buzz of the world around me whizzing by as others work hard, hustle and serve in ways that I simply cannot. I admire their drive, growth, courage, and ability and I catch myself far too often comparing my sick body to those of the well. My reality to someone else’s.
A lot of the “normal” has been stripped from my life these past few years. I’ve clumsily navigated conversations, my limitations, emergency room visits and my role as a wife in illness. And in the messiness of this new life, I’ve been challenged to fight harder than I’ve ever fought before. For wellness, for connection, my marriage, community and my quality of life.
In these years of standstill, where most of my time is spent at home on the couch or in bed, I can look back and see new purpose, perspective, character and dreams that God began to develop…things I didn’t recognize in the moment, but can see more clearly now.
Passion and compassion for the unwell and disabled.
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A heart for those who have experienced great loss.
A strong desire to educated on chronic illness and Lyme disease, as well as bridge the gap between the sick and the well.
A renewed dream of being a writer (lesson one was, “Start Writing”).
I’ve seen that growth can happen in the phases of life where we feel we are standing still. In that dead-end job you can’t seem to get out of. In the seasons of grief. When life’s circumstances require you put off that dream one more year. The lack of direction for what’s next. Battling illness.
We face day after day, regardless of how strong the struggle is. Our hearts may feel heavy, but we find a way to show up. We may dread the work day ahead, but we are there and giving it our best. Life may feel like a mucky mess, but we find a laugh, a smile, a friend to hold on to.
It may take looking back from next year’s view to take in the beauty that is flourishing within you and I. But it’s preparing us. Molding us. Enhancing our gifts and talents with greater heart and character. Making us more loving, more wise and more ready for what’s ahead.
Let’s be kind to ourselves. Let’s rest in that place of accepting that growth and beauty are being cultivated within, even as the world is seemingly passing us by.
We can shine brightly where we are, as we are. Even if it’s at a standstill.
Kami is a wife, writer, sister and friend, living in the beautiful southern Oregon. Tacos, yoga pants and watching FRIENDS on repeat are a few of her favorite things. She’s been battling chronic Lyme disease for many years and has faced her share of trials and loss. She shares her pursuit of grace and healing in the midst of the deserts of life on her blog, Living Grace. Through writing, her heart and purpose are to bring light and comfort to others facing their own trials.