I suppose I can be sort of a “word-nerd” sometimes. I enjoy it when teachers or speakers explain the root meaning of words. This past Sunday at Cedar Hill was one of those times. The pastor was teaching from Acts chapter fourteen. In this passage Paul tells a man, who had been unable to stand throughout his whole life, to “stand” – and stand he did! Within this passage, the Greek word used was anístēmi; which is from two Greek words: “ana” (up) and “histemi” (to cause or make to stand). The question was posed to the crowd, “Does the word “anístēmi” sound familiar?” I think most folks agreed that it sounded a lot like the word anesthesia. The funny thing about what the word anesthesia brings to mind is that most people associate it with being put to sleep, when in actuality it is probably the “waking up” part of anesthesia that might be more important!
Now I should know a little bit about anesthesia, seeing as how I have been put to sleep a number of times, (twice within the past few months). The good news is that I have been, thankfully, awakened the same number of times! So, I can attest to the importance of that waking up part! My last “awakening” through anesthesia was like a sea-sick, lazy, hazy fog that would not lift. I just wanted to sleep and sleep and not move; because every motion caused that sickening dense fog to thicken and close in around me. The staff of nurses kept checking on me, trying to get me to talk to them, and asking if I wanted my family. I kept telling them “No.” All I wanted to do was lay very still and not open my eyes until the sick feeling passed. Once I was somewhat awake and my eyes were unwillingly open, they started the routine to get me up upright. It was a bit of a slow process. My eyes and my stomach would not cooperate. Every time the eyes would open, the stomach would make it known that it was not happy with movement! I finally made it to a standing position; although it was more of a leaning on the bed position at first; because I feared that crazy floor was trying to jump up and smack me in the face. Eventually, I was able to stand on my own, get back most of my equilibrium, and convince the hospital staff that I was ready to head back out into the world – that self-same world that had not missed a beat the whole time I had been under the influence of anesthesia.
Here is the thing: No matter how long I would have lain there, passing in and out of a conscious state, the world would have kept on spinning around the sun. This continues no matter what the situations or circumstances are in our lives, or in the world. The spin – the motion – continues even when there are areas in our own lives where we seem to be under the influence of “something” that keeps us in an altered state; be it fear, hurt, anger, unforgiveness, selfishness, or hibernation …the list could go on and on. For instance, someone that has a great fear will likely deny the existence of that fear. If they never face up to it, they can never deal with it. Hurt and anger and unforgiveness all seem to be stirred from the same stinkin’ pot. They wrap their arms around each other and link their fingers together so tightly to form such a bond that it takes a massive, deliberate effort to pry them apart and get through them. Then, our own very human-natures cause us to easily become selfish. Some of these issues require that we deal with other people first; but the majority require that we deal with ourselves first and then move outward toward others. I can see your brain spinning now. You are wondering, “OK, I was sort of following you there for a moment. But, what in the world does hibernation have to do with any of this?” Yep. That’s something that seems to have a grip on me at the moment.
It is what you think it is. Merriam Webster defines hibernation as: “to pass the winter in a torpid or resting state,” or “to be or become inactive or dormant.” One that I can particularly relate to is Dictionary.com’s definition: “to withdraw or be in seclusion; retire.” What I am calling it currently, in my life, is just, “slacking up and being comfortable.”
If I am being honest, I feel like some areas of my life have been under anesthesia for the past couple of years. I have recently been feeling the tug of something pulling at my heart, something reaching through the fog and haze surrounding me to tell me that it is time to get moving, to wake up. It’s not like I have just been sitting here twiddling my thumbs. I have been busy, I have been productive, and I have been moving forward. Well, I have been thinking about taking steps to move forward. I may actually be sitting around on a really tall chair with my feet swinging back and forth. I have grown tired of that position. I am possibly at a “trying to stand” after the anesthesia point in my life; the place where the fog is starting to dissipate, but won’t quite let go. Now that I am ready to look outside of myself, I can see the areas where I have been slacking and allowing myself to become safe and comfortable where I am.
Fear probably has a little to do with it. My aim is to let loose of current fears that are blocking my path. My world is so different and I can’t do some of the things that made me an independent person prior to the vision loss. I try, and I do push the limits some times. I “tried” trimming the front shrubs last summer with the electric trimmers. Let’s just leave it at, “that was not a good idea!” The few untouched shrubs breathed a sigh of relief when I cut the brand new, heavy duty extension cord in two. Once I get an idea in my head, I’m not afraid to attempt it. I just seem more hesitant to dream and conceive those ideas. Dreaming, in general, seems to be something that was damaged along with the vision loss. I’ll think of something impossible and outlandish and then remember that I have no means to attempt it. I am constantly telling myself, “You can’t do that.” I’m working on that though! What I want to hear myself say is, “You can try!”
Then we get to hurt, anger, and unforgiveness. Simply put, a lot of times the weight of ridding our lives of these attitudes lies mostly on our own shoulders. For me, I have been blessed with a forgiving spirit. Heck, it weighs way too much to carry it around anyhow. I don’t get angry often either. I hate being angry. Being angry means being out of control. I definitely hate being out of control. But hurt, yep, that’s one I know more than anger. I tend to hurt first. I am tender-hearted and some hurts run deep and leave lasting scars. The hurt requires forgiveness, and I think hurt is a little easier to get over and to forgive than anger. I have been hurt throughout the past two years, by folks that did not even have a clue what they were doing and would not have deliberately hurt anyone. Humans sometimes seem to find it hard to deal with others that have had great loss. I found that some folks would walk around the other side of the room to not have to find the words to say to me; or they would not look me in the eye when they did speak to me. Others would look closely at me, stare deeply into my eyes and say, “I don’t see anything different-looking about you.” I tried to not take it personally. Again, some people just can’t handle those types of situations. They don’t know what to say. Most of the time there is nothing you can say. The thing I would suggest is to be there for that person. The only thing you have to say and sometimes the only thing you can say is, “I’m sorry.” and “I’m here.” From that point, words are not really necessary. Also, don’t tell someone to “call me” if you are not willing to pick up the phone at the other end of the line! <just sayin’>
I never really considered that I had an issue with selfishness. When I was working 60-plus hours a week, and running from here to there and everywhere, I used to say, “I’d love to be home all the time.” Oh my goodness! Be careful what you say! I probably should have added conditions to that “staying home all the time” thing. The first would have been to be independently wealthy; then have the ability to drive and go where you want; and finally to be able to fully enjoy and experience every vivid moment of life. Take it from one who knows, staying home all the time is not what it is cracked up to be! That being said, my form of selfishness has become the rationing of my time. You’d think, with all the time in the world ahead of me, and not a lot of responsibility, that I would freely grant access to my time. It just isn’t so. I circle up my days around my time like the wagon trains of the old west. I ration out that time and the things I want to spend that time on. I want to indulge myself in spending my days in ways that make me feel like I am still a viable, whole person. I want to surround myself with people and things that give me security and cause me no challenges! Thus, it leads us to the real issue at hand.
Wow! My hibernation looks pretty much the way the various dictionaries describe it. I have been passing my extended “winter of distress” in a resting state. Even through the flurry of “activity” that I try to keep buzzing around me, I have become inactive and dormant to the dreams that I used to have. But mostly, I have withdrawn and enjoyed the state of seclusion that has kept me from putting myself out there. I have kept to the same routines and familiar places. I have not stepped out to do anything new. Although my vision is limited, there is no reason for me to keep my eyes closed and stay seated. Recently I have felt the Spirit luring me out of that anesthetized state.
What do I see? Yes, the world has kept on going throughout the past two years without a lot of assistance from me. I see that there is more for me to do; although a little more limited than before, there is still “stuff.” So what am I going to do about it? I can’t really answer that question right now. It is still new to me. What I do know is that my first step is to get those eyes open and stand up! You can’t go anywhere sitting down.
“Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert. I will make rivers in the dry land.” Isaiah 43:19 (ICB)