One of the topics I knew I’d need to write about since I built my website, as it so often plagues me, is the anguish of The Wasted Days. Especially in the beginning of an MSIDS journey, when your spoons are severely limited by acute illness, and spent on just understanding your condition, you pass much time laying in bed, dazed by pain and confusion.
Lyme-MSIDS feels like such a waste: a waste of your life, a waste of your body, a waste of money, a waste of every moment you’re stuck on the couch. Being incapacitated is one of the many extremely difficult hurdles we face, both physically and mentally. Those who have never been in this situation will try to encourage us with stories of disabled people who “made a difference.” They tell us we can always write, read, make phone calls, or “most importantly, become a prayer warrior!” It only hurts deeper trying to explain why we can’t.
No one seems to understand that brain fog – cognitive impairment – is very debilitating, and even prayer requires a coherent train of thought to focus on a person and their needs. Certainly, I hope God hears my heart when it fleetingly intercedes for a friend, because my mind can’t actually remember people, let alone string together the words, “God, please help this person with their situation.” So often our body, mind, and soul are so consumed with pain, fear, and infection, we truly are useless.
Once I started writing, often in the midst of pain and night terrors, I felt like I had found my way to redeem The Wasted Days. Those moments of prayer and devouring truths from my Bible lit a fire in me, and though virtually no one reads my words, I still feel it is important for me to share, personally and spiritually. Unfortunately, I’ll go months at a time in this unfocused zombie state where I can’t type a paragraph that makes any sense, my thoughts are scattered, and I lose all motivation. The Wasted Days rack up again. That’s why Frank Laubach’s words mean so much to me:
“One of the mental characteristics against which I have rebelled most is the frequency of my “blank spells” when I cannot think of anything worth writing, and sometimes cannot remember names. Henceforth I resolve to regard these as God’s signal that I am to stop and listen. Sometimes you want to talk to your son, and sometimes you want to hold him tight in silence. God is that way with us, He wants to hold us still with Him in silence.” Frank Laubach, 1932
It is not up to me to redeem the Wasted Days. Instead of feeling guilty about them and my uselessness, I can feel thankful. Thankful that God decided to hold me close that day, to silence me and teach me something, though to everyone else I look pitiful and ruined. Even when I don’t feel very spiritual or am slumped in depression, those days are incredibly important – they teach me perspective. Everyone needs to be more understanding and gracious with one another. That becomes easier when you’ve been in their shoes – especially the hopeless, helpless, hurting shoes.