“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” –G.K. Chesterton
At 4:00 on Monday afternoon, my arm fell asleep. Feeling like a mature adult, I tried to explain it to my friends as I balanced the grocery bags on my useless arm. “I might have pinched a nerve during my hour long conference call?” They told me to put the call on speaker phone next time.
By 9:00, my arm had not awoken. The tingles had
spread. My kind friends asked if I needed to go to the hospital. They would ask me again at least ten times before Friday. I shrugged their suggestions off with a simple, “Its ok. I’m right handed.” They went to their meeting.
By this point, my right arm just hung limp, like a teddy bear left out in the rain. I brushed my teeth, my mind swirling like the greens of spearmint and by 10:00, I was safely in my cloud of comforters. If I passed out, it wouldn’t hurt—or so was my rational. I sent a text to a friend or two, telling them that something more than just my arm was wrong, but that they shouldn’t be concerned. Then I remembered.
My family was flying back from Ireland, a week spent with my favorite people in my favorite land. There are few things in this world that I love more than airplane food. It absolutely astounds me that they can make food that hot at 30,000 feet. I suppose I should be more amazed by the fact that we can travel that fast or fly through the sky, but no, it is the food that has always left me mystified. We were an hour or two over the Atlantic when I told my mom I didn’t feel well. My words came out slurred. The left side of my face drooped. The spicy pasta was no longer delightful, I tried to explain, but my words came out wrong. The Irish flight attendants asked if I usually suffered from a speech impediment. Was I having a stroke? Would I ever be able to think well again? What would this mean for my future? I soon forgot about all of the blurred fears because they moved me to first class. “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.” I asked for a “spone” and they brought me a warm scone. My sisters, back in our original seats, got a cold scone in a plastic bag.
So, at 10:30 on Monday night, when my roommate returned and laughed at my current slurred speech and sideways face, I was determined to make it an adventure instead of an inconvenience. The next morning, I went to classes. I treated life like normal, until life brought me to my knees.
My adventure wasn’t going away. I made it through church Wednesday night only to pass out in the car on the way back. My friend caught my head. I called my parents instead of letting my friends call 911.
On Thursday, I broke everyone’s rules and still went to a meeting. But then I rested. By resting, I turned in another application to graduate school and interviewed some of my heroes for another article I’m writing. I also painted fifteen greeting cards.
By Friday, I was exhausted. But Thursday was my day of rest, so I was supposed to be healed. I’m still not entirely sure what happened on Friday morning. I went to class, answered questions, and came back to my room to research potentially going to a doctor. I accidently called a radiologist. The neurologists were not very nice. They told me to go to the ER as well. I called my mom, then my dad, and then my mom again, forgetting completely that I’m a so called independent adult. They took over the phone calls. I sent an overly dramatic message to my friends. I might have passed out again. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t stop shaking. I was alone. Tears traced an unfamiliar pattern on my face as my head hung upside down on the pillow. I didn’t bother lifting the troublesome thing.
“In a world where the pursuit of success, wealth, and even happiness is relentless, where exhaustion and stress are the norm, do those around you see a person who is at rest in the presence of their God?” –Heidi Johnston
My friends got out of class and helped lift my head. They gave me ice and orange juice and they took me home where my mom helped me see that maybe I’d been living by the wrong quote. Instead of bringing home clothes or any personal things, I brought my laptop so I could continue writing articles and working on homework. Stress had brought me to my knees, literally, and I refused to stay there.
In the beginning of the semester, some friends and I drove to a nearby mountaintop to see a meteor shower. We spread a quilt and put our heads in the middle, forming an August snowflake. The glory and the power in a trail of light left behind a flying rock made the night a treasure. Wind whistled, echoing our awe of the dance of stars the wind watches nightly. A bat flew above us. We laughed and sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to the stars themselves. We knew we had school in a few hours, so we made a deal. The last great shooting star that all of us noticed would be the last note of the night. It was a bold hope. I don’t think we’d all noticed but two stars together all night long. But the hope did not disappoint. The last star we saw was the most glorious.
There are shooting stars in sunlight. I remembered that as I looked at the clouds on this dreary November day. I was still dizzy, but I wanted to take a walk. Meteors still shot across the sky somewhere in the world, but from my perspective, I couldn’t see them. So often, stress and even beautiful distractions keep me from appreciating the beauty of the falling leaves and the hope that there are falling stars.
Next time I get dizzy, I’ll try to remember that this world is turning quickly, that stars are falling, and that people are suffering drastically greater pain than the inconvenience I encountered this week. Rather than something to be ashamed of, I will strive to see rest as a way to worship. I will return to my tasks with joy. I’ll let dear friends and family lift me up, even as I encourage them. Free from the bondage of stress, I will strive to schedule with the intention of including rest. And maybe then, the stars will not be in my vision but reserved for the sky. It is a bold hope, but hope does not disappoint.
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5