Plane Coffee Mom

Chatting about Mission Aviation over coffee

Tag: healthy living (Page 1 of 2)

Old while Young

I felt old as a teenager and ancient in my early twenties. My memories of pain-free days as a young mom are few and far between. Now in my forties, I feel younger than I did two decades ago. While it strikes me as strange sometimes, it shouldn’t surprise me. Until my early thirties I struggled with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Every day began with the same mantra, “I can do this. I can make it through another day.”

All that changed with a simple, faith-filled prayer late one night. There had been many simple, faith-filled prayers before that one, but that night God answered in a miraculous way. Things changed. I woke the next morning with energy and a new hope for the day. I’ve been sick, I’ve been discouraged, I’ve been weary since then, but neither the chronic fatigue nor the fibromyalgia has returned. It’s an undeserved blessing, one for which I am grateful every day.

I would hate to return to the fatigue of those years, and yet I would hate to live these years without those experiences. There are so many things I learned in that time that I need every day. God used sickness in a powerful way to dispel my independence and to teach me about prayer. I began to learn about empathy as I lay exhausted on the couch, trying to pay attention to my two-year-old. I had to say “no” more times than I can count, and yet it’s a skill that still comes hard to me. Sickness taught me to value the temple that our bodies are and to take care of myself and others in ways that have proved valuable.

Chronic illness was a school that taught me things I would have otherwise have had no interest in learning. It pushed me into places that I would not have chosen to go. It changed my perception of myself and of others. In some ways, I experienced age before my time and am now given the opportunity to live my real age.

What has caught my attention lately is how common this is. Maybe not the exact circumstances, but the reality that we experience things for a purpose. Today’s trials have every opportunity to be tomorrow’s joys. Today’s hardship is training for tomorrow’s joy, and for tomorrow’s challenges. What we do with today matters, not only for how well we’ll sleep tonight but also for how well equipped we will be for tomorrow and the days, weeks and months that follow.

Ideal Friday evening

It’s quiet right now, an ideal Friday evening. We’re reading and writing, chatting a little about life between the silences, and simply being.  It’s strange how seldom this happens. Life is busy. We’re running, we’re doing, we’re busy. We have people over and we go out. We are involved and engaged.

And then suddenly, quiet. We value this because we’ve learned the hard way that we need it. All four of us. Parents, grown son, and nearly grown son. We have lived many different ways and survived deep changes. The process has been amazing and beautiful, terrible and painful.

Some of my best family memories are  of  a Sunday morning spent listening to songs chosen by our sons, sometimes crazy songs with round-about lyrics and sometimes straightforward worship music. Terere, a Paraguayan ritual we’d carried with us to Philippines, made its way around our small circle as we sat together. We discussed the music. After a while we’d turn on a podcast we were interested in. When it finished we’d chat about what we’d heard and the week just passed. There was wood carving and drawing and painting in the circle. For a while friends joined our circle and we enjoyed the quiet together.  About the only thing we tried to keep outside the circle was hurry, though it sometimes crept in also.

Sometimes we planned a day of rest only to interrupted by an emergency. Sometimes we’d get a text, or turn on the radio at noon, and find our plans meaningless in the face of urgent need. Each of us had our job in those times– food, overnight bag, phone calls, and weather checks were the norm as we went methodically about the business of doing our best to get Garry out the door to do a medical flight or an evacuation. Our plans were soon forgotten in the rush and noise of interruption. The radio always crackled in the background during those times, its static somehow friendly because we knew it was what allowed us to stay in touch.

There were times we survived too long without quiet, getting by on too little sleep and driven by seemingly endless needs. Conversations and tempers both got shorter. We questioned one another’s motives and wished for more hours in a day and more energy in our bodies. Non-essentials were left undone and efficiency became king. If we didn’t choose to stop, it was chosen for us. Paperwork, sickness, or unavoidable obstacles would put us out of commission and we’d find it was a good place to regroup and get back to basics.

As I sit here writing I ponder the path that has brought us here and I am deeply grateful. I’m thankful we value this, and I’m thankful we do it. And I’m just a bit surprised still at how ideal this evening feels.

New

Last weekend I went downhill skiing for the first time ever. I’m a wife and mom, and I’m over 40. It was awesome! But, the road to getting there was a little less fun. In fact, it wasn’t much fun at all. And the experience came just as my son was also starting some new things, and I was reminded how easy it is to be logical and reasonable when you’re watching a situation, and how hard logic can be in the middle of the situation.

I went skiing just because i wanted to. It sounded fun. I didn’t have to, and nobody talked me into it. Still, a few friends told me I was going to fall. I heard a couple of horror stories of crying on the slopes. And before I knew it, downhill skiing no longer sounded fun. Although I am normally somewhat confident, I started feeling insecure. I wondered if I could do this. I worried that I would look stupid. I wondered how it would go, I asked people if I had the right equipment and stressed about how I’d get my lift ticket.

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And as I stomped through the door into the unknown, I suddenly realized how common this is for my kids, and probably for yours too. After all, when possible we take our kids to do things that we enjoy, commonly to places we’ve been before, and we often walk them through situations where we are already somewhat comfortable. But for them, it may be all new. Standing beside them, hearing their worries, it all seems rather silly. After all, we have a pretty good idea how it will turn out, what is expected, and what they should do. And from our perspective, most of their fears are unfounded.

Regardless of the logic of it, it’s good to be reminded that beyond logic, we are all human, and change is hard. If you haven’t done something totally new and foreign for a while, try it. If possible, go with someone who knows what they’re doing and thinks it’s all “easy”. And be reminded of the courage your kids show when you take them into similar situation.

I’m going skiing again tomorrow, simply because I can. And it turned out to be fun last time. Besides that, it’s good for me to do this. (BTW, it isn’t that I’ve never done a new thing, it’s just been a while since I chose to do one that was supposed to be “just for fun”!) Try it, you might like it!

Wondering & Revolution

My grandmother used to say she was tormented in her mind. These days I feel with her, the nagging doubts, the questions, the wondering. In her case, I don’t think she knew the way out. In mine, I know. I must simply take the journey that it requires.

The journey? Looking the doubts, the questions, the wonders in the face and telling the truth about them. And then, living the truth. This moment, this day. And if getting from here to truth is a journey all its own, I take the first step.
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What do I wonder? I wonder about world poverty and the distance between affluence and starving. I wonder about how many clothes are in my closet and how much food we consume every day. I wonder at the millions of things we have access to and the way we use them.
And I see that there are things that can be done. And at some level, I think we must first take care of our own: we must live responsibly in our small circle. We must invest in people in ways that matter and provide what those closest to us need. We must set priority for the generations: a way of thinking and living that can outlive us.
This process of living well is living one step above those surrounding us, maybe. Maybe it is feeding our family healthy food, a value that can be repeated by neighbours and friends. Maybe that is followed by whole, local foods that enable the local small businesses to survive. Maybe this step is accompanied by building community where God calls us…. living with abandon for the least of these. Enabling them to not only survivie but pass on what they learn and what is invested in them. Maybe it grows to volunteering locally.
And maybe worldwide change is powered by our personal revolutions: because our revolution will lead some in our community to actually go overseas and repeat the process. Maybe what God says about the family, the church, and the state is actually true: we grow world leaders in homes with real families and real neighbors and true friends. And for each of us, our circle can grow organically and the world can be changed. Maybe.

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