The Sanctuary of a Moment
Gazing out over a watery field of lilypads, I realize even the darting dragonflies take a moment to find a perch and rest. I could sit here for hours, taking in this beautiful view, letting my mind empty, freeing it to wander amongst the floating green leaves and beautiful blooms. Each moment in this place is a sanctuary.
Too soon, we need to hike on. Overcome by Great Peace, I leave my fears in the sanctuary of the pond. God will take care of them while my heart rejoices with renewed confidence in my body. We're two miles in, only a mile left to go. I tell myself I can do this. It won't be like the last time. My legs won't fail me. They are stronger. I am stronger. I believe this, but after a few steps I'm unsure whether my body got the message.
The last time we took this hike, three years ago, about a mile from the end of the trail my body started to fail. Leaving my husband and children behind, I plodded along as fast as my weakening legs would carry me, knowing full well that if I stopped, my only out would be on a stretcher. Making it to our van, I collapsed into my seat, totally spent. It was difficult not to pass out in sheer exhaustion, but the pain in my back and my legs helped keep me awake. My husband had to lift my legs into the van when he at last arrived, as I could no longer move them. It was then I knew for certain something was very, very wrong.
Some time after that came a cascade of diagnoses. Psoriatic arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Celiac, Autoimmune Hepatitis. With those names, came new fears: prognoses, treatments with drugs with warnings pages long, lifestyle changes, limitations.
And then something changed. Overcome with worry, with fear, with sadness that threatened to swallow me whole, I hobbled outside for a moment of quiet. I took deep breaths. I noticed the way the sun danced off of the leaves of the trees. In the sanctuary of that moment, I knew I had only one option if I was going to not only survive life, but live it.
Removing the cloak of fear that weighed me down and shrouded me from life, I placed it at the feet of a Friend, knowing He would take care of things - take care of me.
Laying down my fears allowed me to move forward, to get to know myself as someone living in a complicated relationship with my body, and to know that my life was going to be whatever I made of it.
I reach the end of the bridge, the trail stretching before me. Taking a deep breath, I feel the strength of my body, the sureness of my spirit, the sanctuary in every second. I am free.