A week ago I packed a suitcase with jeans, yoga pants, an MSU T-shirt, and tennis shoes. I was headed to Cincinnati to visit our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. I pictured lots of snuggling and laughing, a glass of wine or two, a Spartan win, and a weekend of refreshment.
I was disappointed on all counts.
We were supposed to leave on Friday morning, but I became ill and had to watch, instead, as my husband left to take the trip on his own. No snuggling, no wine, and I don’t want to discuss what happened to the Spartans.
Granted, I was thankful to have the time to recover. I read an entire book. I crocheted two scarves. I laughed quite a bit with my son. I watched an entire season of Call the Midwife. Yes, it tugged at my heartstrings when my husband sent me photos of our granddaughter, but I knew I was where I needed to be.
This week I’m packing my suitcase again. It’s a much bigger suitcase for a much bigger trip. I’ve packed dresses and slacks, gifts and snacks, and all the necessities to carry me through a week in South Africa. I’ve got to admit that, looking back on how last week turned out, I’m a little anxious. Just one week ago, I was fully planning on going to Cincinnati, but I didn’t make it. Today I am fully planning on leaving for South Africa in forty-eight hours. What if I feel this Friday like I felt last Friday?
It could happen. After all, I didn’t have the flu or a head cold; I had an autoimmune flare. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck while recovering from the flu. I call it “getting knocked down” because I am literally doing fine one minute, and then I notice that I feel nauseous, my guts are in knots, I have all over body aches, and I can’t do anything but lie in bed. That’s phase one, which lasts a few hours. During phase one, I typically am so uncomfortable that I can’t even read or watch Netflix. I usually fill a tub with warm water, epsom salt, and baking soda, slither in and lie there groaning. After about an hour in the tub, I can usually move on to phase two. During phase two, I eat popsicles while reading or watching Netflix. I put an ice pack on my right SI and heated flaxseed pillows across my abdomen to continue the soothing that started in the tub. This past weekend I moved in and out of phase two for about forty-eight hours. I got spurts of ambition during which I organized my desk, graded papers, and did laundry, but then I headed back to the couch.
Traveling to South Africa is ambitious. It would be ambitious if I wasn’t teaching and tutoring. It would be ambitious if I didn’t have an autoimmune disease. It’s super ambitious because I am teaching and tutoring and I do have an autoimmune disease. Last weekend, while lying on the couch watching the fourth or fifth episode of Call the Midwife, the thought might have crossed my mind — what, are you crazy? Who do you think you are? Why are you even going on this trip?
Why, indeed? I probably won’t be able to fully answer that question until I get back. That’s usually the way with these things. We were invited. We’re going. While my husband has some ‘official business’ while we are there, my role, as far as I can see, is more to be a witness to what is happening and, possibly, to write about it. That’s my hope, anyway.
But I can’t help but wonder what else I will find in South Africa. How will this adventure shape my heart? How will it alter my views? How will it direct my path? I don’t know, but I want to find out. So, I’m trusting that God, who provided the opportunity for this trip, will provide the health that I need to get on that plane this Friday.
God is faithful; won’t He do it?
Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?
You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.