Friday I had my four month follow-up appointment with my Kidney Doctor (Richard Mattlingly – a very cool Doc). He did his thing; checking all the numbers, asking the questions, and explaining things I needed to know about. We laughed, joked and talked about serious stuff. On the way out of the examination room, he said he wanted to send me to the lab to check out my Parathyroid.
I have become quite inquisitive in my older life… especially when it comes to my health situations, what the doctors do to me and for me. I do that because I have found that it is better for me to participate in my own health decisions. Being curious about the Parathyroid, you know I have to look up just what this Parathyroid is, what it does, and what low or high numbers might mean to me. I found on either Mayo Clinic or Web MD a description of this malady that was very revealing… they called this condition “The Stealer of the Joy of Life.” Wow! It describes the symptoms as feeling tired all the time, not interested in things which use to bring you joy, no energy, difficulty sleeping – even napping during the day is no help, lack of concentration, depression, aching or hurting joints… you just don’t enjoy life any longer. Bummer!!!
Have you ever thought what it would be like to lose all hope…lose the joy of life? It must really be a very sad set of circumstances leading to just existing and not really living. Once a person loses all hope… all joy… you have just about lost it all. I’ve been down… really down – I thought. I have wondered if I was going to live and for how long… was that time rapidly closing in on me? I’ve been down but I don’t believe I have ever approached losing all hope and joy. I have tried to imagine what that loss may feel like…. It is more than dying… we have hope even there… loss of joy and hope must be worse than death. That is deep… very deep. This loss must be kin to the dark night of the soul…. where you become void of all feelings, all dreams, all hopes, all matter – an empty void where there is nothing at all. In outer space they call it a “Black Hole” where NOTHING EXISTS – no matter – no life – nothing.
I am one of those persons who believe we simply cannot know what a person who commits suicide felt or experienced which led them to that critical moment, because if we did… we would be where they are… dead. Loss of hope and joy is passing beyond that point where hope resides. In Vietnam we called it the “Thousand Yard Stare” where you just looked out there somewhere in the distance and didn’t really see anything.
The closest I ever came… and I am not sure it was all that close… was after coming home from by-pass surgery. I was afraid to go to sleep because I believed I would not wake up. So, I would fight sleep until I couldn’t fight any longer. It started really wearing on my well being. One day I realized that I had to do something, I just couldn’t go on like this. Finally, I realized something I had preached all those years… Jesus will be with you no matter what happens. So, whether I woke in my bed or in heaven, Jesus would have me securely in His loving arms. From that point on I was able to sleep in comfort.
I don’t know what you are going through. It may be something like this loss of joy and hope thyroid deal or you may be facing some other hope and joy stealer. I know that it must be very troubling to you and your family… it changes you from the loving person you have been to someone barely able to cope with everyday life. Sometimes you take out your worries and fears on your family. I have no right to say to you; “Get a grip on yourself.” But I do have the experience to be able to say, with all the grace and compassion I can muster, God loves you in your every situation and circumstance… good, bad, horrible or indifferent. God has enfolded you in His loving arms. If you can somehow find peace in that thought, you might be able to find hope and joy. If not… I pray you will feel the embrace of the Peace that passes all understanding… Jesus, the Christ.
Grace and Peace