Emily Dickinson had it right.
Success IS counted sweetest by those who neer succeed.
Yesterday, I was death. I woke up with an ache in my lower back and was feeling a bit warm. The norm, considering it is summer in Hawaii, I am 38 years old and old age is slowly creeping up on me.
But my stomach. I didn’t know whether to vomit or sit on the toilet.
So I did a little of both. For the next two hours. And I still had my little two-year-old to take care of. I called my mother-in-law to see if she could watch him while I got a few hours of sleep. She was going out to lunch and wouldn’t be at home. My parents were in Las Vegas. My husband was working.
I almost started to cry. Almost. But then I stopped, took a deep breath, and prayed:
LORD, PLEASE HEAL ME. NOW. PLEASE. LET ME BE FILLED WITH YOUR HOLY SPIRIT AND BE HEALED.
And you know what? My little toddler boy fell asleep for a nap! For 3 hours!! And you know what else? My husband finished work and took the kids to Ala Moana and BJJ class!!! And I slept 12 more hours!!!!
Needless to say, I woke up this morning sans body aches, stomach in tact, and feeling, well, pretty good.
Now what does my 24 hour bout with the flu/cold/illness have to do with Dickinson? It is this fact: one really is unable to grasp the grandness of what she has until it’s gone. And then in those moments of desperation and emptiness, she can say that in fact, yes, things were pretty grand.
Health is one of those things we take for granted until it starts going downhill. Flus and colds that diminish us to beings wrapped in blankets, laying on the bed, unable to eat anything make us appreciate the time we could go about our daily business without a second thought.
School is another. I sometimes wish I could go back to college, where the only job one really has is to learn. Imagine that!!! A person is purposefully devoting all of his time to reading, discussing, engaging, learning! When I started my freshman year of college, I was livng in the inner cities of Los Angeles as a USC Trojan. I loved the campus. I loved my student fellowship group. I loved the hustle and bustle of the city. But health issues hit, I moved back to Hawaii, and ended up graduating from UH-Manoa. Now don’t get me wrong, UH is a wonderful institution as well, but knowing all the cultural experiences, relationships, and growth as a student at that California campus I could have had there makes me a bit wistful of the time I did spend in LA.
And the kids. Ah, the kiddos. I really do love my two kids, no favorites here. But when I look at my youngest, I remember how a year or so prior to his delivery, I was bawling on the sofa, having just miscarried what I believed would have been our second child. You can’t believe the emptiness and desperation deep within my core after having the joy of “Yay, I’m having a baby!” be replaced with “God, why take this child from me?” It took awhile to come to terms with the fact that we would be a family of three, and then low and behold, a blessing occurred. An ultrasound showing a little bean with a beating heart. A little boy. A family of four.
Success is counted sweetest.
Success IS counted sweetest.
So what to do now that I am fully recovered from my flu/cold/illness? What do I do now that I graduated with an English degree from UH? What do I do now that we have a wonderful husband, daughter, and son? Do I remain trapped in the doldrums, looking at what was lost and not focusing on what is?
Sadly, I do tend to do that at times. Just for a minute. I think it’s natural. We wouldn’t be human if there weren’t times of discomfort, sadness, and pain. God created us with feelings and emotions, and to try to hide them or say they don’t exist is basically saying He didn’t know what He was doing when He formed us. The danger lies if we remain in that depressive state, only thinking of what once was. Because you know what? Something great, something grand, something absolutely wonderful could be just around the corner.
24 hours later, I am feeling like the Lauren of old. Heck, I’m even able to type out this blog post. So what am I going to do? Go out and play with the kiddos. Enjoy a dinner with the family. And praise God for the sweet success He has given to me.