Sometimes, when you’re in the midst of things, it is impossible to view the catastrophic disaster, your successes, growth or accomplishes. The past three weeks have been a liminal time, and one that has been filled with a great deal of joy, laugher, and a few tears. I’ve been able to celebrate the success of moving away from my home territory to a strange new world (despite it being rather familiar, filled with a few friends and close relationships) alone and unattached, in the wake of two traumatic years, filled with a great deal of uncertainty, both for myself, and as it turns out, for my family as well.
Sometimes, when you’re in the midst of it all, it is impossible to view how difficult circumstances truly are – that much is true. But when it is all said and done, it is impossible to view how truly far you have come. When the stormy skies have parted, revealing the beauty of a rainbow and a cloudless blue sky. The past weeks, I have tried to exercise, with much frustration and failure. The lungs that once were filled with deep breaths are now choked and feel like someone is holding a bag over my head – only during exercise, mind you, but for a former collegiate athlete, the chest pain, breathlessness and feelings of suffocation after only running a few steps feels like a complete and utter failure after months of tremendous strides and successes.
A phone call to my mom this week shed light on this situation, followed by an email from my dad; after nearly two years of struggles and hopelessness, I am finally able to do something that seemed completely impossible. And to me, the collegiate athlete, this task used to be easy, effortless, and something I took for granted. Now, it is something I want to do more than anything and can’t, and the emotional frustration feels like a 1000 pound weight on my chest. But look back, my dad encouraged me. Look back to February, when everything seemed impossible. When finishing seminary, and taking a call, and moving to San Francisco seemed impossible, let alone running. Look at all you’ve accomplished. You too will accomplish this goal, in some way, maybe not the way you ever imagined, but some way.
Sometimes, when you are in the midst of it all, perspective is impossible. Emotion is the most difficult thing to temper, and yet, it is all we as created, beloved of God have to keep us together. It is what gives us hope, and persistence, when all seems fraught and hopeless. Yes, it also makes things frustrating, especially when we don’t get our way, as I feel right now in my efforts to exercise, but yet, I know that some way, some how, I will be able to exercise. It just won’t be my way.
A dear friend and mentor of mine once said that you need to remove yourself from the 10 foot view to get the 10,000 foot view, and from this view, everything seems clear. I think I got a glimpse of this 10,000 foot view this week in the form of my parents, but also in the form of a great pastoral conversation with my pacemaker nurse in NYC. Instead of giving up and encouraging me to resign to the fact that I will always struggle to exercise, she sought other advice, and so early next month, I’ll be having the device settings changed and seeing another specialist with the hopes that this will increase my exercise tolerance. Its a long shot, but also, a 10,000 foot perspective on a situation that seemed hopeless more than once, so really, why not take the leap of faith?
While I live in the liminal period, waiting for another perspective, I’ll continue to persist – persist in prayer, persist in my hope that I can do this exercise thing, and that every step (baby or big), is a step forward, not a step backward toward something greater, trying to remember how far I’ve come in just six short months. After all, I would not give it all back to be where I was six months ago – the location, the health, the heart.
As I typed on my Facebook status, God has brought me to be right where I am, in the here and now for a purpose, and now, I need to live into it, with grace and perseverance, looking and discerning for perspective.
Oh perspective, where art thou? Only God knows!