It’s 1 in the morning and I’m lying in bed unable to sleep.
My head is killing me. I’ve taken super strength Tylenol and a couple doses of Advil but i can still hear the blood pulsing in my ears and my brain feels pinched.
Falling asleep is usually a slow process for me and so I replay things in my mind to unwind. Then I move on to imagining the things I’m looking forward to. I fall asleep most nights visualizing my hopes.
But lately every future plan is tinged with fear. Hope is replaced with apprehension. I flip through my usual bedtime thoughts to try to find one that’s calming but come up empty handed.
How can life go on like this? How can we survive being trapped by this pandemic indefinitely? There has to be a breaking point, and surely it must be soon. This is untenable.
I flip onto my back and cry out to God – I can’t sleep. All I have in my head is pain and fear. What am I supposed to do? I’m stressed and restless and can’t sleep.
As soon as I voice it, I remember a conversation I had with my husband a couple weeks ago.
I told him “help me remember that when I’m feeling stressed and restless those are symptoms that I need more oxygen. I can’t recognize it myself when I’m in it.”
Immediately I realize that’s the problem so I flip on the light, grab my breathing bag (technically called a Lung Volume Recruitment kit) and pump up my lungs. And oh goodness does it hurt. It feels like lightning in my brain. I swoon a little, but then breathe normally. Obviously my lungs had been restricted for some time.
A couple more pumps and the tension is gone from my body, the headache has subsided considerably, and my mind is clear.
As I sit, enjoying the air, I see the embroidered wall hanging beside my bed. Bis hierher hat uns der Herr geholfen!
When I was young, it seemed all the women in my family had some sort of embroidered German saying hanging on their walls. Often they were scripture. Our move into this house last year coincided with my parents downsizing and my mom offered me this embroidery, made by my Oma years ago. When I received it I felt like I had finally graduated to full and proper adulthood.
But in this moment that’s not what struck me about the embroidery.
Bis hierher hat uns der Herr geholfen!
Thus far the Lord has helped us!
It’s from 1 Samuel 7:12 and it’s true. He has brought me this far.
In my pain addled, oxygen deprived brain I called out to God and told him my problem. “I’m stressed and restless!” And in my prayer, was the answer I needed. I needed someone to help me recognize my symptoms. I needed someone with me.
He is with me and he has brought me this far. Together we’ll move through whatever else is coming.