(Women echo) Humble thyself in the sight of the world
Isn’t that how that song goes? Oh wait. It’s Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord. I keep forgetting that.
Literally. No joke. I have literally sung the lyrics incorrectly in my head over and over this summer. Enough times that I forgot the true words. And that’s not the only song I’ve screwed up.
When I was a kid we’d sing this song in church that went, “Cooperation is a big word…” My new version has been “Humiliation is a big word…” One of these songs pops into my head, without fail in any public POTS situation. Here are a few examples:
- Whenever I use my handicap parking sticker.
- When I had to use a wheel chair at the zoo.
- When Greg had to call a couple of pastors on a golf cart to lift me off the ground and take me back to my cabin at camp meeting. And I couldn’t even speak to say thank you.
- When I got stuck in the gym at camp meeting “wall walking” because the visual disturbance of the crowd had triggered a vestibular migraine. And then I couldn’t leave because it was too hot outside. Every time I’d try to catch a ride on a golf cart other people would get on ahead of me and I'd have to retreat back into the a/c. (We call it my "pool of Bethesda moment".)
- Every time I wear my cooling vest and people run in all directions because they think I’m packing a bomb. (Ok, so that one might be a little embellished. But the insecurities come out like I’m 14 again and I feel like everyone is staring.)
The crazy thing is I’m very open about my condition. I’ll tell anyone about what’s going on. I have no problem telling you that even though I can walk just fine, the second I’m in the heat I vasodilate. I become dizzy, short of breath, my legs start to give out and, if it gets really bad I have stroke like symptoms and can’t speak. I can tell you that it’s happened multiple times just trying to get groceries with my kids and it scares me. I can also tell you that sometimes I’m fine and nothing happens. I never know which it will be. This is why I have a handicap parking sticker.
I can tell you all of that. Buuuuut. If I see you across the parking lot at Target, I’m gonna either park in another spot and risk becoming presyncopal or circle the lot till your out of view. Then when I leave the store I’ll make perfectly certain you aren’t making your exit at the same time.
And the whole time I shop two competing tunes are playing in my head, “Humiliation is a big word…” and “Humble thyself in the sight of the world.”
I can tell you that today, August 27, 2015 is by far my hardest POTS day yet. And it’s not because I feel bad physically. It’s because today is my baby’s eleventh birthday and for the third year in a row he is spending it at King’s Dominion. My husband and kids are at an amusement park today and I had to tell my precious, almost as tall as I am baby, that I couldn’t go with him to celebrate his birthday. I smiled brightly as I waved them off, and then collapsed on the floor in a puddle of tears. I’ve cried off and on all day. This precarious balancing act between acceptance of loss and fear of giving in to much to loss is agonizing. I can tell you all of this after the fact, when the tears no longer flow. But if you had shown up at my house today I’d have dried my tears in a hurry and put on my bravest face.
It’s always been interesting to me how patients are continuously embarrassed by needing help, or an assistive device, by soiling themselves, wearing a gown, … whatever it might be. And we health care providers always tell them that there is no reason to be embarrassed. Well, now I’ve walked a mile in their ugly hospital gripper socks… and yes. I agree with every one of them. It feels more like a marathon. And I’m embarrassed right along with them. I can explain to the nurse at family camp my “special needs" in the heat but cringe with embarrassment when I actually have to ask for her help. “Humiliation is a big word…”
And yes. I do realize what the problem is. And in this case it isn’t POTS. It’s pride. In my life, usually if I make a choice knowing that God is leading, it doesn’t really concern me what the rest of the world thinks. I answer to Him. But my personality is a caretaker. I cannot delegate. I’d rather do all the work myself than tell others what to do. (Um… by others I mean anyone other than my husband and kids J) So being put in the position of needing help, needing to be cared for and having to ask for help is excruciating to me. But POTS is slowly teaching me to accept help. I am learning the lesson that in all areas of my life, not just the ones I choose, what really matters is His opinion of how I handle myself. By humbling myself in the sight of the Lord and putting the focus on Him, my relationship with Him can be so much deeper. And I know from past experience that this is the solution to everything. Because after all, it's not about me.
Today as I spent the day alone and crying out to God I felt so low. I actually felt angry that it’s a beautiful day and not very hot! I was wondering if I could have survived the amusement park and if I had given in to loss. Sitting on my front porch, in the midst of my sobs I looked up at the beauty surrounding me. And suddenly, inexplicably I was at peace.
And for the first time this summer I remembered the rest of the words. “And He shall lift you up.”