Frozen Silence

As the pain melted from her face the room is pierced with silence.

Her hand begins to cool despite being wrapped in mine and I instinctively pull the covers up trying to keep her warm. But still her hand grows colder and the ice crawls up toward my heart.

I close my eyes and hold my breath as I will my heart to stop. I want to fall to the hard floor beneath me and never get up.

Blurred figures move in and out of my periphery until the room is empty and still.

It is only her and me now. But maybe it is really only me.

I am frozen to the spot next to her. She was still here just moments ago but now she is gone. I couldn’t keep her here. I wouldn’t want to extend her pain. But now I am alone even as I hold her hand.

I am paralyzed and I don’t know what to do. I cannot simply walk out of the room and leave her.

So, I stand frozen by the cold hand wrapped in mine.

~Diana Wells

Wait Child Wait

Her heart leapt in her chest as he took her hand in his.

Wait, child, wait.

Don’t give your heart away.

 

Joy flooded her body as he whispered secrets in her ear.

Wait, child, wait.

Don’t give your heart away.

 

He tells her he loves her and she thinks her dreams have come true.

Wait, child, wait.

Don’t give your heart away.

 

She is blinded by the diamond when he asks her to be his wife

Wait, child, wait.

Don’t give your heart away.

 

In a whirl of roses and lace, she dances through her wedding day.

Wait, child, wait.

Don’t give your heart away.

 

Now the roses have died and the dancing has stopped.

Wait, child, wait.

Don’t give your heart away.

 

Fear grips her soul as his footsteps draw him closer to her hiding place.

Hush child, hush.

Don’t give your heart away.

 

Pain rushes through her body as he releases his anger with his fist.

Hush child, hush.

Steal your heart away.

Shark Week – A Spiritual Lesson??

I was stuck to my television and could not stop watching shark week this year. I couldn’t get enough information about these terrifying yet amazing creatures of the ocean. My obsession with sharks during this annual event was particularly odd since my fear of sharks keeps me from swimming in the ocean. Granted this week-long binge only confirmed that sharks are everywhere, but it also had another unexpected effect on me, a deeper spiritual lesson. Yes, I got a spiritual lesson out of shark week.

The Spiritual Lesson I Learned from Shark Week

Fear

For me, and many people, my fears have a rational and logical basis. Let’s look at my fear of sharks as an example:

  • I am afraid of sharks
  • Shark can eat me or bite an arm or leg off me
  • There are sharks in the ocean
  • I am afraid to swim in the ocean because I don’t want to be bitten or eaten by a shark

This fear is logical because there are in fact sharks in the ocean and they can kill or bite you. There is nothing wrong with having a healthy fear of something that is deadly, but when does they healthy fear become unhealthy?

Worry

I’ve talked about worry in a previous blog post, so I will just summarize it here. Worry is a sin. Like it or not, it is. God tells us not to worry so many times in the Bible. He has also given multiple examples of why I shouldn’t worry in Bible stories and my own life. However, I continue to struggle with worry.

Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Worry is when you allow yourself to dwell on a rational fear (or maybe even an irrational one). Particularly one you can’t do anything about. If nothing else, you are wasting the good of today by fearing what might or might not happen tomorrow. It is a waste of time, it is unhealthy, and it is not fun.

Shark Week

So, you are probably wondering about that spiritual lesson and shark week about now, aren’t you? Well, here it is:

While watching and learning all the amazing facts about the different sharks, I noticed something. When they were filming these massive creatures underwater, there were always fish, stingrays, and seals swimming around in the water with them. In one program, they talked about how stingrays were a favorite delicacy of a certain shark, and there were stingrays going about their daily business with these sharks swimming around them. The same with seals and the other favorite food sources of sharks.

The seals even looked like they were having fun! Swimming, diving, and even frolicking with the top of the oceanic food chain right there in their midst. My natural reaction was to want them to hide and run away so they don’t get eaten, but that is not what they did. They enjoyed their life and didn’t worry about the sharks.

That is when it hit me. What good would it do for the seals or fish to worry about the sharks every day? They are always going to be there, and there is always the potential they will get eaten. But, they can’t survive if they stay hidden all the time so what is the point? They just enjoy life and go about their daily routine. Worrying about the sharks was not going to change anything except take away their joy for that day. If one day they get eaten then that is just how life is. The great circle of life thing.

Matthew 6:27 says, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

If the seals and stingrays and other fish worried all the time about getting eaten by a shark that would not help anything and would not keep it from happening. It would only diminish the days that they had to live. I’m not saying to throw all caution to the wind because there are things that you can and should do to reduce the risk of some viable fears. Just like the seals stick close to shore so they can escape if a hungry shark comes along looking for a meal. Being smart is different from worrying.

My fear and worry can keep me from doing things I want to do or, at the very least, they keep me from enjoying the days that I am worrying about something I have no control over. Besides 9.75 times out of 10 the thing I worried about never happened or was not that big of a deal. I just wasted a lot of time, energy, and probably sleep worrying about it. I need to be more like the seals.

Now, am I going to go surfing or swimming out in the middle of the ocean? Probably not, but I have gone snorkeling and swimming with some ocean life despite my fears and am glad I did. Maybe one day I will make it onto a surfboard – you never know! But in the meantime, I am not going to worry about it.

Do you have a fear of sharks? Do you go in the ocean anyway?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Physical Therapy – My Journey

I was recently diagnosed with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and, at this point, I have chosen to not take the medications because, honestly, the side effects scare me. I may change my mind later but for now, I am choosing to try other options. One of my first management methods to try is physical therapy.

[NOTE: I am not a medical professional of any sort. This is just my experience and my RA journey. Educate yourself and talk to your doctor before deciding your path of treatment.]

Physical Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

I did not realize you could get physical therapy for RA, but you can. My primary goal with PT was to learn how to exercise and workout without causing more damage to my joints. It is important that you find a physical therapist that is familiar with RA because this can make all the difference.

Previously I have had physical therapy as rehabilitation for my knee after surgery. This was a treatment that eventually led to healing and a completion point. With RA, my therapist set other types of goals for my treatment which included progress markers to report to my insurance company. Instead of a completion point, there were several goals I needed to reach to have a full workout routine that I could continue doing on my own at home.

Physical Therapy Goals for My RA

My goals for physical therapy included range of motion and flexibility as well as strengthening the muscles around all my joints and core. These goals required strength training, cardio training, and stretches. My therapist made sure I got a full body workout each visit. However, each of my exercises was designed and performed in a way that did not put stress on my joints. My physical therapist also worked around my RA flares and days when some of my joints were too painful to exercise, but let’s talk about what I could do first.

My Physical Therapy Plan

When I started, I was always stiff with constant pain in my wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. Mornings were difficult for me when I first got up and started walking, and my RA fatigue required me to take a nap just to make it to dinner. The thought of an actual workout was overwhelming to me. But, I did it anyway because I was tired of feeling unhealthy and not very mobile. At first, it was exhausting, and I had to lay down and sleep as soon as I got home.

Cardio was tricky for me because I have a chronically bad back from a car accident years ago and my knee keeps me from running or doing other cardio type exercise both low and high impact. Add my RA to these issues and cardio was definitely a challenge for me. Thankfully the physical therapy place has a recumbent step machine, and it was perfect! I achieved a cardio workout with zero impact on any joints and no pain to my back.

The strength training and flexibility exercises were the hardest for me. In the years (yes, years) leading up to my eventual diagnosis, my workout routine was almost non-existent except for walking. That left me with weak muscles and my flexibility was (and still is) just a joke. But I did it and, I eventually, I started noticing a change. I am not as stiff in the mornings, and my pain has been noticeably reduced. Some of my joints don’t hurt at all some days. However, the best part for me is the energy. After a few weeks of going to PT, I realized that I wasn’t needing a nap every day and had energy left over!

RA Flare Days and Physical Therapy

After 7 weeks of physical therapy, I do still have “flare” days and days when my joints just hurt, but not as often. When bad days happen on a PT day, my therapist will adjust the plan. We skip exercises that use the hurting joints and focus more on other exercises. Some days my PT time was spent with my therapist stretching my joints and using some therapeutic massage techniques to help with the pain and stiffness. Then, the next time it was usually back to my usual workout.

This week I will complete my eight weeks that were allowed by my insurance. It was nice to have the accountability of going to physical therapy and having someone push me to do all my exercises. However, I am now equipped with exercises and stretches that I can do at home so that I can keep progressing. I have my own accountability group around me of family and friends that will, hopefully, keep me doing my workouts regularly. For now, these exercises along with other options I have chosen are helping my RA symptoms. If and when they no longer help, I will consider other options, and eventually, I will probably need to start on the medication, but I am just not ready for that yet.

What helps your RA symptoms the most? Share with me in the comments below.

Writer, Event Management