I’m coming down from some serious meds here, so I hope these sentences are actual sentences.
Remember how yesterday I wrote about how wonderful it is to be needed?
The universe, in its infinite creative wisdom, offered me a balance lesson yesterday.
Yes, it is ridiculous blessing to be needed. And it is an equal blessing to need.
I woke up yesterday with my body under attack. I won’t get into the details, because they aren’t important – I’ll just say that my Chronic Lyme Disease just sort of exploded.
I was incapacitated. Couldn’t move, couldn’t think, couldn’t even see for a few minutes there – which made me completely dependent on Craig. I lied on the floor and cried while he somehow dressed me and carried me down to the end of the driveway to meet the ambulance. “What are you doing out here?” The EMT said. “You could have waited in the house!” Craig said, “Our kids are still asleep and I don’t want them to wake up to all of this.” And even in excruciating pain I had to smile at that. Because that’s a father. That’s a freaking father. I am carrying my wife out here to you so that I can protect her and my children at the same time. That was the moment I understood that this situation was painful and scary …but this was NOT a disaster.
My minister taught me recently that the word disaster means dis (absence of) and astron (stars). And so things are only disastrous when no light can be found anywhere. I caught the light all day yesterday.
The EMT was light. He was trying to keep me talking on the ride to the hospital and so he asked me what I “did” and I tried to tell him about you and about Carry On, Warrior. And so when he wheeled me into the ER he announced to anyone who would listen – “We’ve got an AUTHOR here. She wrote ‘It’s okay, Little Worrier.’ And she raises Monkeys.” And so while they were medicating me and inserting my IVs I could NOT STOP GIGGLING which made everything hurt a million times more but it was worth it because: STARS!
But then my EMT left and I started to worry again because Craig and still don’t have a real tribe down here in Florida. We just don’t have folks we can call in the middle of the night when there’s an emergency. So I figured I’d be at the ER by myself all day because Craig would have to stay with the kids. But then he showed up thirty minutes later, bearing tidings of hot tea and granola bars. Because he called Nancy, whom I teach Sunday school with. And Nancy prayed with Craig and then she sent her daughter over to babysit my kids so Craig could come stay with me. Then she called both of our ministers who then called me to say they were praying for us. And Chase’s buddy’s mom took him out to play for the day and Tishy’s friend took her. And the ER doctor was kind and wise and the nurse called me honey exactly a million times and the brain people told me my brain looked totally normal. This was amazing to me because I always feel like the brain picture people are going to read my tests and come to me and say: “We are baffled and stunned and we regret to inform you that your brain is composed entirely of marshmallows, shards of glass, and gallons of decades-old Bud Light.” But that didn’t happen. “Your brain is normal,” they said.
STARS, STARS, STARS!
And so yesterday I learned that I DO have a tribe. I do have a village, and I need them. I need them. Like folks who are traveling at night need stars. We need people like we need light. Nothing is a disaster when your people are there.
We Americans are folks who value independence. We really do feel like independence = strong and dependence = weak. Yesterday reminded me that this is some serious bullshit.
Strength is participating fully in life’s rhythms – like being needed and needing. It is being available to help and then being available to be helped. It is taking your turn being the steady shoulder and leaning on another steady shoulder. It is sometimes saying: We Need Help. Because our people need and want to help. That is how we make connections. It’s how we make friendships. We ask people to share their gifts. We allow ourselves to be weak sometimes so that others can be strong.
We should have Interdependence Day. We should throw some parties and parades for THAT MIRACLE.
Anyway. Today I’m grateful for EMTs and doctors and nurses and husbands and friends and church and neighbors and even this damn disease that never, ever lets me forget how loved I am. Life is so brutiful. Like glimmering, guiding stars on a pitch black night. Be Still, ya’ll. Be Loved. Be needed and NEED.
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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