Because of injuries sustained in an automobile accident 27 years ago, I spend most of my time hooked up to an IV. I usually carry it on my back or push it around in a stroller, and sometimes my dog carries it to give my body a rest. It’s not something that was easy to accept, but I have come to a reluctant acceptance of it and try to be a good sport about it.
However, several years ago as I was painting an accent wall in my living room, I was pushed to my limit. The IV tubing kept interfering with my ability to do the job. I managed to drag it through the tray of paint several times and then the tubing caught on the tray and flipped it over. It tangled in the drop cloths. It banged up against the painted wall. It knocked over a can of paint.
I want to live my life as if I have no burden to carry and stubbornly try to live my life that way, and I become furious when reality interferes with my plans. I felt defeated and incapacitated and overwhelmed.
Worse than the feelings of anger and frustration though, was the guilt I felt for feeling them. I believed that if I were truly a spiritual person I would accept whatever I was given patiently and gratefully. That I would grow from my burdens and tragedies. I felt that God was judging me as a failure for my resentment. I felt completely defeated.
But as I began to lecture myself on my bad attitude, it came to me that I was mistaken. I felt a certainty that God was not judging me. I suddenly believed that whatever or whoever or wherever God is, that God feels just as bad about my afflictions and hardships as I do. I felt that the divinity I worship is a compassionate being that aches for our pains and sorrows and hindrances and obstructions.
In my desire to put a good face on things, to be a good sport, to be agreeable and acquiescent, I have often felt isolated, alone with my pain, hardships, and frustration. This new understanding validated not just that my life can be burdensome, but that there is something greater than I am that knows and cares deeply about the difficult realities of my life.
Believing that God feels my pain and struggles has given me permission to feel them and admit to them and accept them. Instead of fighting against my limitations I am able to dance with them gracefully. Or paint with them. I have been able to come to peace with the reality of life.