A book that has helped me lately is Don Piper’s Heaven Is Real. Don Piper is the minister who was killed in a head-on collision with a Mac-truck. He spent 90 minutes in Heaven before he returned, painfully alive.
At first it [Heaven is Real book] was somewhat of a slow-read for me. Then beginning at about Chapter 16 of the 27 chapters, the book began speaking volumes to me. Don was 38 years old when he was hurt. He’d been pronounced dead at the scene and was already covered up. His body was mangled. Another minister who came by the accident after it happened convinced police and ambulance personnel to allow him to pray over Don’s dead body. The minister did not know Don personally, if I recall, but they had just left the same convention. After prayer and then the minister began singing, Don started showing signs of life. The minister had a very difficult time convincing the EMT’s that Don was alive. It’s been a while since I read the book [90 Minutes in Heaven], so I may not be describing this scene quite accurately, but you get the idea. So, though he is alive today, he lives in great pain. He lost so many of his physical abilities. He dealt with a long and painful rehabilitation. He misses the things he was not able to do with his sons and daughters, like play football with his sons. But he talks of how one must accept his or her new normal to move forward. Don directly addresses how to survive and perhaps thrive, or at least how he does. Make no mistake, it will always be a battle. But it is doable, with God’s help.
I believe I will reread this book. I found hope and encouragement in hearing another person express the pain they must deal with every single day. I found myself hearing my own thoughts when reading some of his thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
So, I need attitude to get along. Sometimes I have so much hope that I begin to think there will be a day on this earth that I will no longer feel this pain. I might not think that right out in the open, but it is there in my subconscious. While one should never lose hope, it can be dangerous to let unrealistic thoughts become expectations. Sneaky little thoughts like ‘one day I’ll be jogging again, and I will get my figure back, and I will be able to go to the bathroom normally, and my feet won’t burn anymore and….and…and…’
Sometimes I can be so full of cheer and spirit that others are so impressed with my positive attitude. Often I am faking that cheer, but gosh, don’t we all have to do that at times? Otherwise, we’d all be such gloomy and miserable people and who would want to be around us? I don’t like being around chronic whiners. I have always believed that if you think positive that you can make positive and vice versa. I still think that.
And do not misunderstand me. I do have times where I am content and reasonably happy with life as it is for me. But something is still missing in my heart of hearts, and I know this. And this is OK, because I’m working it out. I’m just “blogging” my process I guess. I think what is missing is perhaps a more consistency in my coping skills? Maybe that is it. Sometimes I think I’ve got it. I start to set goals even and look forward. I even think that at times, “ya, I can manage this. It’s not so bad.” Then sometimes I’m fixated on this feeling of burning and stretching in my insides down in my private area and the burning in my feet and the weakness and heaviness in my legs…and oohhhhh woe is little ole me!
I often wonder about those people who really are cheerful in the midst of great trauma and pain. They do exist and they are not fakes like I am at times. One good example I think of is this really cute young man. I think he’s from Australia. He’s got one of those sexy accents anyway. He was born without arms or legs. He’s got a little flap for a foot (it appears from a distance). His dad is a minister, so he was raised with an awareness of God. It was difficult on him, make no mistake. But somewhere along the way he was reading Scripture. It was in John 9, I think, when he read that God let the blind man come about so that ‘God’s works might be displayed in him.’ This spoke to this young man and he realized his purpose. He travels all over the world witnessing now. He said that he does not wish himself any other way now. He also says that he’s not always up-and-cheery everyday, either. Still, I find him far worse off than me, yet he has such a beautiful and happy spirit.
The difference with him might be that he was born that way, you say? Well, there are other great people who have experienced things later in life. There’s that lady with “Tada” in her name?? I can’t think of her right now. I believe she was a professional skier? She had some great future ahead of her anyway and then she got paralyzed from the shoulders down. AFTER that happened she met a wonderful and handsome man and married. She is famous and speaks of God and her faith all over the world. She’s written books!! There’s many people with stories such as hers!
So, what about me? I have not near the issues as some of these people. At least I didn’t experience this spinal cord damage until in my 50’s. I enjoyed having babies, horses, jogging, dancing, and many things for some time before this happened.
I handled having a terminal cancer far better than this spinal cord damage. I think because I have faith in Jesus that while I didn’t/don’t like the idea of leaving my boys and their families so early in life, that I know we’ll all meet in Heaven with perfect bodies some day. So with that faith, it was easier for me to accept.
But now that I’m in this wonderful remission, I can’t take advantage of it the way “I” want to do it. Maybe that is key. Maybe it’s not “my way” that is important. Maybe it’s how “God has plans for me” that is what is important.