IMG_190131 Days Walking Through Chronic Illness

day twenty~one

“Eventually, you’ve got to let it go. We let go so we can live. It is a sweet surrender.”

Deidra Riggs~Every Little Thing

I am the child of an alcoholic. A drug addict. A man who did little to support his wife and children.

A man, who lived his life in such a way, he died completely alone in an efficiency apartment. Found by a home health care nurse. No one to offer comfort or a hand, even a prayer.

Alone. Swallowed up by the drink. No relationship with his children, grandchildren. His family.

His legacy, scarred the sacred and tender places of family. Leaving a lasting impression.

We each deal with our own demons, passed on by this man; my sister, my brother, my mother, myself.

My demon, the lasting scar, the need to control. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD.

Driven to control my environment, from the smallest mundane things of everyday living to the largest.

One, when given over to, nearly drove me into the ground.

From the light switches being turned up the same way, the pillows plumped, the floor vacuumed, swept and mopped; the Swiffer mop the best gift for the OCD person. The dusting, the windex~ing. The quiet time. The running. A shower and out the door.

Alarm sounding at 3:50am. An ungracious time to start the day. For me it was the only way to get it all done before I walked out the door everyday.

Sparkling on the outside, a jumbled up mess inside.

I secretly longed to be the one who could live with the crumbs on the countertop. The sand in the floor. I envied those folks.

I was jealous of that person, the one who could relax in the chaos. I suspect they may have been jealous of me, the one who appeared to have it all together.

My struggles on the inside, hidden away, same as the mess in my closet, should you open the door. I still have that one cabinet, the one I would be mortified for you to open.

The real story, I was a mess. Tightly drawn into a knot.

P.O.T.S. slipped in the back door as I ran out the front. Control slid through the fingers I clinched tight.

The floor beneath my feet, crumbled.

Life was no longer the same.

It was a slow surrender, one I fought. In the unfurling of clenched fingers.

Forced in a chair. Forced to slow down. Forced to let it go.

“There are days, or nights, or long stretches of weeks or months or even years, when breathing is the only prayer we’ve got. The breath of our lungs, given to us from the beginning and offered up as an act of worship. We inhale, and then we exhale. Each breath signs our names on the dotted line of dependence, whether we’re thinking about it or not. We inhale so we can keep on going. And then we exhale, marking the cessation of striving and seeking, the end of struggling and sweating to be noticed and to win and to arrive. How long can you hold your breath? Eventually, you’ve got to let it go. We let go so we can live. It is a sweet surrender.” Deidra Riggs~Every Little Thing

The surrendering, it came. Prayers breathed, with each inhale and exhale. It was all I had, all I could do. That, and the prayers offered up by others, so weak in the first hardest days.

As days and weeks and months went by, the surrendering became sweeter and sweeter.

Forced to live with the crumbs on the counter, a lot less perfection, lot less doing.

I’ve no doubt, were healing to come, I would go back to that life of ceaseless, senseless striving. Wearing out and wearing down. It’s in my DNA, who I am. The beast, I fought harder than the one I fight today.

OCD, a disease itself, one with help, that can be controlled, it is still a battle to fight daily.

I thank a merciful God who graced me with a different way of life. A different story. P.O.T.S.

No, I wouldn’t have chosen it, had I been given a choice. But here we are, here I am, living in a place of sweet surrender.

Crumbs on the countertop. Fingerprints on the fridge.

Inhale. Exhale.

Alive. Living freely of the chains that bound.

No longer depending on myself, but the One above.

He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. John 3:30 NLT

Gifts of Grace

Tammy Mashburn

Tell His Story

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