Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Echo Within

I was devastated after visiting the doctor yesterday. When he told me that he had exhausted his resources in helping me and didn't know what to do next, all I could see for my future was day after day of unrelieved pain with no hope for relief. Taking away someone's hope is a horrible thing to do. I'm reading I'm Not Good Enough by Sharon Jaynes. It's about countering the lies that women believe, and my reading for last night was called I'll Be Happy If ____. My "I'll be happy if" is if I was well, if I was pain-free. I tend to blame everything bad in my life on my illness. My house is messy because I'm not well enough to clean it. Money is tight because I'm not well enough to work full time. I blame not being a good enough mother/wife/daughter/Christian/friend on my pain. I've always held out hope that someday the doctor would find the right treatment and I could go back to living a normal life. A life filled with taking care of my family, working, maybe even finishing my book. But all of those things were built on the hope that I would have a day without pain. I held it together on the way home from the doctor's, but when Jesse got home from work, I couldn't stop the tears.

Honestly, it's very hard for me to imagine a life, the next thirty or forty years, like I've been living the last four years. Constant pain, limiting activities, letting people down, broken promises, lowered expectations, frustration. Just the thought makes me cry even now. But Jayne's book reminded me that God never promised me happiness. And more important than that, I'm building my life around the wrong things. I'm basing my happiness on things other than God, and if I entrust my sense of well being on anything other than God, I'm going to be let down. That's not a guarantee that my pain will go away if I focus on God, but it is a guarantee that He will help me through it if I do. I've been telling myself for years that my life revolves around the Lord, but last night exposed that lie. It's not going to be easy for me to completely restructure the way I live and think, but it can't be any harder than the idea of living every day for the rest of my life in constant, unmitigated pain.

I woke up this morning in the exact same circumstances that I fell asleep in, but there was a lightness in my heart, and even, dare I say, a glimmer of hope. There will be no major changes overnight, but even a small step, like waking up with a smile on my face, is a blessing.

The Echo Within
by Robert Benson is a lyrical and thoughtful look at the quest to find your calling in life. Benson is a colorful character who lived a full life before finally discovering and acknowledging the calling God had placed within him to be a writer. Through short, yet powerful essays, Benson takes the reader through his own journey to peace while planting seeds for thought for the reader's own quest. The echo within is the voice that resonates inside each of us about what God has put us on earth to do. It's the thing we get excited about, that moves us, and that when we find brings a deep sense of peace and purpose. Because Benson is a writer, he tends to focus on writing, and because writing is my own dream, I found much to relate to within the pages. The reader is left with the impression of a man who is deeply in love with God, and who revels in the fact that God is just as deeply in love with him. His message is one of encouragement for everyone to find that kind of peace and love by listening to the echo within each of us. It's beautifully written with a touch of whimsy.

Sound good to you? Well drop me an email before 10 pm tonight, because I'm giving away two copies. I'll announce the winners tomorrow. Good luck!


Robert Benson said...

Thank you much for even reading THE ECHO WITHIN in the first place, for your kind words about it, and for sharing it with your friends.

Namaste —

R. Benson