A couple years ago I noticed I was losing my balance whenever I turned. Not long after that I found myself unable to walk. Six months of tests and waiting passed before I received a final diagnosis. I had a rare syndrome which needed immediate surgery—speed was the key. I was told that whatever walking ability was lost, may never be regained. And still another month went by before I found a surgeon, for a surgery that should have been done “a few yesterday’s ago.”
I was put on a ventilator during the seven-hour operation—just in case. Thirteen screws in my neck later, the post-surgery side effects were a painful reality. The doctor explained I wouldn’t be able to buckle my belt, a male point of view meaning I wouldn’t be able to look down. What he didn’t tell me about was The Monster: chronic pain.
(I never realized how heavy my head was until I couldn’t lift it anymore. Now, my inability to walk is because I can’t hold my head up!)
Nothing was as I’d imagined. My hopes had been pinned on a final recovery. I thought the surgery would “make me all better,” which was illuded to, but never guaranteed. I believed what I needed to.
Why am I going on about this? Because my road was jam-packed with hair-pin turns.
It was hazardous and scary. Sometimes I’d crash. There were times when my fragile sense of joy was hurtled through space like a spinning asteroid out of control. God appeared negligent. I thought He was supposed to be watching over me. I had to remind Him that I needed His help.
Recently, my husband, Yip, was given the grim diagnosis of Parkinson’s, the most recent of our hair-pin turns. We are in a new stage of life, one where being useful or helpful to anyone seems impossible. For us, the words hope and purpose have to be redefined.
As we braced ourselves coming around the latest bend, we found a treasure.
One day, as my husband and I were talking with God, Yip suddenly lifted his head from prayer and looked at me.
“He just wants us to love Him.”
Simple words without condemnation or threat of punishment. All those damming hairpin turns were not signs of God’s judgement or wrath, even though my wheelchair has the unfortunate name of Karma. The dictionary meaning of Karma being the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence as deciding their fate in future existences.
God says “Love Me.” Whatever physical, mental, or emotional state Yip and I were in, God was with us. He never left. He’s loved and accompanied us every perilous step of the way. Our difficulties, measured against the weight of God’s love are treasures in disguise.
One day, when I was in so much pain and feeling worthless, I said to God, “I know that You had the suffering, and we get the joy of heaven. Lord, I know suffering is really meant for martyrs, but would it be okay to count my pain as suffering for you?”
“Yes,” He said.
He said, “Love Me.”
Love me. Love me.
And to you, it’s all the same in a storm, or sunny day.
The night stars light the way, it’s all the same to you.
You say, Love Me. You say Love Me.
My vision may be dim, but with eyes pinned on You.
The treasure stored on high… is that you Love Me,
It’s healing oil for me, flowing fast as a stream.
Its love covers me like a flood,
And I know that I’m cleansed through your blood.
You say, Love Me. Love me.
I Love you. You say love is everything I need,
You say, Love Me.
God is watching over us.
*Pen illustration by Sheva Leon, drawn on a paper napkin