So this is how it feels at the rock bottom of despair
When the house I built comes crashing down
And this is how it feels when I know the man that I say I am
Is not the man that I am when no one's around
This is how it feels to come alive again
And start fighting back to gain control
And this is how it feels to let freedom in
And break these chains that enslave my soul
Jill Philips- Steel Bars
I heard this song again the other day and did it ever hit me. I don't think there are any other words that can articulate my struggles over the past couple of months better. Even though on the most part I'm a very optimistic person, I did hit the rock bottom of despair and it wasn't a pleasant experience. In a lot of ways I wish I could forget the experience, but I've found myself being reminded of it a lot lately.
The rock bottom hit on a cold Friday night in November. I was in a hospital room by myself, my family had left for the night and I hadn't had any friends visit that week. Physically my energy was nonexistent and the infection still had a scary hold on my body. I don't think I'd ever felt so alone. I flicked the TV on and started channel surfing in an effort to distract myself from the reality that kept trying to creep into the dream world that I had created. But it wasn't long before reality forced its way in and stayed for a pity party.
My condition took a turn for the worst and I started losing blood rapidly. As nurses came in and out of my room, I used the few minutes of silence in between to completely break down. And break down I did.
But if there's one good thing about hitting rock bottom, it's that things can only go up from there. And for the past few months I have been fighting my way upwards. I've been learning what it means to be fully alive and I've been embracing the freedom that is found in Christ. I can't say how grateful I am for the opportunity to do so because the truth of the matter is: just because my heart hit rock bottom didn't mean that my health would start to improve along with my heart. In fact I'm very much aware that things could have turned out much differently. And maybe that's not such a bad thing to be made aware of because it's certainly increased my appreciation of the everyday.
So where Friday brought pain and sorrow, Sunday was a completely different story and in that I had my own little Easter experience. When I woke up for the first time in three weeks without a fever and shakes and looked out of my hospital room window and saw the sun streaming down, I couldn't help but think that maybe this is a small glimpse into what that resurrection moment was like for Jesus: transitioning from despair to hope, from death to life, and from sadness to joy.
And while everything was not perfect from that Sunday morning on and there still were many hard days ahead, I was changed and I was not facing this alone and that was all that really seemed to matter. Even now in my life, that's all that matters. Life is not perfect- I doubt if it ever will be on this earth. But I move forward, day by day, living life to the fullest with my Best Friend: the One who knows my journey from start to finish.
"In this crazy world, there's an enormous distinction between good times and bad, between sorrow and joy. But in the eyes of God, they're never separated. Where there is pain, there is healing. Where there is mourning, there is dancing. Where there is poverty, there is the kingdom." (Henri Nouwen)