I was 24 when it happened. One morning I went to work feeling a little dizzy and by late afternoon I couldn’t sign my name for the FedEx guy. Stroke was the absolute last thing on my mind. Isn’t it a rule that you have to be over 70 to suffer a stroke? The answer, especially when you suffer from migraine headaches and take birth control pills, is “no”.
This sounds crazy to even write, but having the stroke turned out to be the best period of rest I’ve ever had in my life. I can only say this because:
- I didn’t die
- My remaining disabilities do not greatly affect my day to day life
- It’s in the past
For me, though, it was a little like a holiday. For 3 months, my sole job was to rest. I caught up on movies, I watched tons of t.v., and I read every book I could get my hands on. I didn’t have to worry about cooking, cleaning, or laundry. There were no expectations of me and I didn’t worry about the future. God’s peace filled me during this time.
Last week, northwest Oregon hosted a snowstorm. Because our area rarely gets debilitating weather, when it does happen, the city shuts down. As the wind carried in flurries last Thursday afternoon, all the tension in my body dissipated. Our super-busy weekend ahead turned into 5 days of ultimate relaxation at home. I didn’t even have to get out of my pajamas! I wrote, I read, I slept, and watched a ton of Disney movies with my kids. My girls are now at the beautiful age of finding food for themselves and able to be outside without an adult. For a little less than a week, no one required anything too taxing of me.
In the same rules listing keeping His name holy, not killing people and stealing things from them, God tells us to take a Sabbath. And while I do try to have down time, something is always hanging over my head. Whether its bill paying, grocery shopping, a kid activity coming up, or folding mountains of laundry, there are obligations I’m expected to meet.
No one wishes for a health tragedy. I only loved the snowstorm because we don’t have paychecks depending on daily labor or need warming shelters for housing. Not everyone can look at these life disruptions as a blessing. I realize how fortunate I am to take these detours as precious gifts, and made the most out of recharging during my down time.
Although next time God thinks I need a long period of rest, I’m going to pray an airplane ticket to Tahiti shows up in my mailbox.
When in your life have you experienced ultimate rest?
**Post Script: Hours after posting this I learned a friend from our Washington days just had a stroke this week. She is in critical care. Please say prayers for her – she is my age, her children went to school with my girls.