Surprises in Starbucks

Wednesday, December 05, 2012  ::  

I have a serious case of brain block. To be honest, I'm struggling in the land of ambiguity, therefore I feel as if the self-preservation practice of not thinking has overtaken me.

As you know, after many tests, scans, pokes, and prods it was determined I had a stroke in August. My doctor referred me to a neurologist that I've seen a few times. He ordered more tests and scans to determine the cause of my stroke. During my last visit with him, he crossed his arms, leaned against the cabinet and said there seemed to be no known cause, that because of my age and the location of the stroke in my brain, he was concerned and wanted to send me to a specialist in Phoenix so another set of eyes could look over all my charts and information. That was over a month ago.

I've called the Phoenix doctor's assistant once or twice a week since then, but he is "still looking at my charts" whatever that means. Apparently, he isn't thinking about my brain as much as I am.

So I wait.

The waiting game is like a roller coaster for me. Sometimes it creates an out of sight out of mind attitude. I act like I didn't have a stroke, don't take my baby aspirin, and pack my schedule full of meetings and activities. This foolishness results in increased symptoms such as tears, headaches, and difficulty in speaking. Clearly, ignoring reality isn't a great practice for me.

Sometimes in the waiting game, I over think everything that has happened. I research online to find answers about having a stroke as a 39 year old woman in the right temporal lobe of the brain. You will not be surprised to know there is some scary information on the internet! I believe that being an advocate and educating myself is wise. I believe researching without a foundation of knowledge and an actual diagnosis is unwise and can lead to fear.

Sometimes in the waiting game, I avoid good things like blogging, reading books, thinking deeply about theology and how God is active in our world. Honestly, I think (ha) if I would engage in these activities I love, I may find some relief from ambiguity.

But, I'm afraid.

I'm afraid if I move on that I may forget something bad happened to me this summer.

I'm afraid if I move on my community will expect me to be the way I used to be, able to keep up with all of life's demands.

I'm afraid if I move on I will actually discover that I've just been being a baby.

I'm afraid if I move on I will never know any answers as to why I had a stroke in the first place and that there might actually be an answer AND if there is an answer we don't know about I'm afraid it may happen again.

I'm afraid if I move on and try to start reading deep books or have deep conversations I will be confronted with one of my worst fears that my brain has changed too much and I'm not smart enough remember or to keep up.

I'm afraid if I keep typing out all these fears I didn't know I even had I will be bawling my eyes out right in the middle of this Starbucks. The other patrons may feel awkward. Good news: I'm not afraid to be awkward. I'm a natural at awkwardness, but I should be considerate of others.

Oh fear, you suck. I can rationalize that you are irrational, but isn't that the point of most fears? Well, up yours! I am moving on, but not like you tell me I should by ignoring reality, researching to the point of fear, or sitting on the floor with my hands over my head hoping nothing else falls on me.

I'm taking Chad's and Lauren's advice in remembering that intensity is not the point. Daily devotion and consistency is the point. I know these truths in my brain, but once again, life circumstances are requiring me to move what was once easily lived out into a deeper, more experiential place in my heart and mind.

To live this out, I will try to read a couple of paragraphs of A Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchividjian  (Thanks, Alysa) three or four times a week. My goal/hope is to blog five times this December. To many of you that may not seem like much, but these are a big goals for me as blogging and reading are much more difficult than they used to be.

I will take my baby aspirin every day. I will continue to go on my morning walks and go to yoga class once a week. I will not overdo it in meeting with people, but I will have a few meetings each week.

The most difficult goal is to talk with a few friends about what I'm really processing concerning this dumb stroke. Ugh. This one is a hard one because being the overly intuitive person that I am, I often wrongly intuit that I'm bothering people. I know, I know. It's silly, but I'm a sinner and have wrong thinking sometimes. Thank goodness for Jesus' grace and the gentleness of friends.

I appreciate some of you are gearing yourself up to "hold me accountable." While I appreciate the offer, I think this public confession will be all the accountability I need. If all of the people that love me start asking if I'm reading every day I may punch someone in the face with harsh words and then you will feel sad and rejected and then I will have to apologize and then you'll wonder if I really love Jesus, so maybe just encourage and pray?? Is that fair? It's not that I don't need accountablity. It's just that I don't need it from all of you.

Whew. This blog post was a shock. I set out to write about why traditions are important to me and ended up telling you about some ickiness in my heart. I guess the good news is I have still have another topic to write about!

16 important comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Julie said...

Your ride is a roller-coaster and grateful you're processing it. Speaks volumes to me and encourages me. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Just like Angel and Angel's family will get used to the new Angel, your community will too :) And even in the "getting used to the new Angel phase" we won't stop loving you <3

Tia Edwards said...

Love you!

Nicky said...

Thanks for sharing! Excited to pray for you. Love you!

grey rose (they/them) said...

i'm glad this poured out today.
i love you so much.

Angela DeSoto said...

I just love your honesty and openness. And, you said "up yours", that makes me laugh.
I love the new Angel just as much as the old one and I'm encouraged by how you are moving forward.
Still praying for you, and won't stop.

Unknown said...

I am so thankful that you can be real, Godly and hilarious all in the same post. And i agree with Angela- reading my kind, loving pastor's wife say "up yours" and "punching in the face" almost made me burst out laughing at work. Love you lots and will be praying :)

Emily said...

I love you Friend! I'm glad the Spirit is working in you and I appreciate your vulnerability. :) Praying for you!

Anonymous said...

I love Angel.... the deep thinker, the all encompasing lover of Jesus, the faithful friend, the loving and caring daughter, the fantastic wife and mom! There are so many 'nooks and cranny's' in you, this stroke has just fast-forwarded your self discovery! You are fearfully and wonderfully made!!! :)

Leslie @ top of the page said...

yep it's so good to get this all out. this post seems like a step in accepting your story right now. and that seems to be part of the issue you're wrestling with: understanding how you can OWN your story, drink from your own cup, with grace and courage, but also with progress. Sometimes progress, or "moving on" looks a lot like denial or marginalizing something we need to process. It takes that daily walk in the Spirit to guide you into truth, knowledge, and wisdom, and to give you the courage to face your story with deep understanding of just how much God fiercely LOVES you. Because perfect love casts out all fear. i'm always here to chat if you need. hugs

Anonymous said...

Praying for you. Thank you for being so open and raw with all of this. It was encouraging to hear your thoughts. Mo and I have walked a similar path and it isn't easy. Loving you from afar. ~Alisa Feliciano

Jenn said...

Thanks for pouring your heart out to all of us! Love you!!!

Laura K. Moore said...

i want to "like" and "ditto" a good grip of the above :D i love that this honesty 'just came out' today. look forward to doing more life alongside you and your family.

christy.anne said...

I really love the honesty of this post, Angel! And of course I love you a lot too!

Regan said...

How do I continue to stay on the path of entering in the dark places to bring the joy of my salvation to those who want absolutely nothing to do with the glory of Jesus? How do I continue to love and pursue those HE wants me to pursue, when my flesh would rather fight and retaliate? How do I remain obedient to be His hands and feet in demonstrating the love of the living God, and not grow weary....Because I "simply" know....

"Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass."
1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NAS)


Regan said...

oops....that previous post was to be for moxie memorizers....ugh!

I am blessed and encouraged to not only hear your heart through the words you share with me, but also read it....I love you dearly....~reg

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