Thursday, September 24, 2015

Perspective Shift

I've had a bad attitude lately.  Doug said something last week about me whining a lot, and "whining hasn't generally been a problem for you in the past".

I was diagnosed with epilepsy this summer.  Which, in and of itself, hasn't felt like a huge deal.  It seems to be pretty manageable, so other than being on house arrest all summer while time passed to prove that I could safely drive on my new medication, sans seizures, it hasn't felt like a big imposition.

But then school started.  The side effects from my medication suddenly felt like a much bigger deal.  I struggle with attention--it take nearly all of my energy to focus on a lecture, or reading a textbook (or even having a conversation).  My brain wants to hop somewhere else nearly every 2 1/2 minutes.  I am frequently tired.  Even going to bed at 10pm, I have to drag myself up at 6am, and still have trouble with nodding off during class.  My short term memory has decreased, so my brain is constantly insisting that I've forgotten something, but won't tell me what it is.  The list goes on, but most of it fits in these rough categories.  It makes doing my school work successfully much more challenging, right during the semester with the heaviest course load of my entire program.  I have let the frustration get to me far too often.  I began to resent my medication quite a lot.  It became the necessary evil preventing the trap door at my feet from being opened under me at some random, unpredictable moment.  But it didn't actually seal the trap door, and so these side effects hung around me, without actually removing all the anxiety stemming from that uncertainty.

And then a few mornings ago, I got a much needed attitude adjustment from my scriptures.  I was reading about the troubled father who comes to the Savior begging him to heal the man's son--or do anything to help him.  He relates wearily that his son falls into the fire, he falls into the water, and they are constantly worried about his safety.  The Lord tells him that all things are possible if he believes.  He responds quickly, "Lord, I believe".  Most modern scholars interpret this passage to mean that the boy of whom they speak had frequent seizures.  The Lord rewarded this family's faith by reaching out to the child, who was whole from that moment on.

And it dawned on me that sometimes healing comes in stages, and that is a miracle, too.  In a different time and place, I would likely be utterly unable to conduct a normal life.  But all I have to do is swallow a little pill twice a day, and my life goes on more or less uninterrupted, just as it has always been.  Instead of being grateful for that incredible, miraculous blessing, I was resentful of a few mild side effects.  The Lord didn't remove this hurdle entirely, but I am generally safe;  the father in that story got his healing miracle, but he was asking for help, for anything the Savior could do to bring their family a bit of rest, a portion of peace--how gloriously grateful would they have been for a simple medicine to remove the symptoms?

But the Savior offered complete healing.  And I trust that he will give me that as well--eventually.  In the mean time, I will strive to be more grateful for the portion of peace and healing that I can enjoy now.

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