This morning I woke up before my alarm. This isn’t particularly unusual except that it was timed a bit nicer this time, rather than 2 or 3 hours before, it was only about 10 minutes so no great loss and kind of nice to not be jolted awake, even the radio can be a bit unnerving after a crap sleep some nights. I find waking up to a specific time (due to erratic sleep patterns perhaps) extremely difficult, and it doesn’t seem to matter what time that is, so I set my alarm a good half an hour before I actually need to be out of bed so I can let myself wake up a bit more gradually.
My routine is basically this: iPhone harp alarm goes off, I wearily hit snooze and attempt to doze off for a few then radio alarm comes on and I blearily try to listen to the "97 second" news update. By this point I might open my eyes, if I can, I reach for my iPhone and check out fb & twitter. Yes, I’m an addict, my name is Shannon and I’m addicted to social media. There, I said it, but I’ll tell you something else, just seeing others starting their day with cheery (and sometimes not so cheery) messages helps to put me in a better frame of mind to start my day.
Here’s the weird thing about today’s routine, I’m laying on my back, reading tweets and suddenly it occurs to me, I have my ankles crossed, and not only are they crossed, it doesn’t hurt! What? No pain? What is this? A small smile starts to tug at the corners of my mouth. One of the cats jumps up and walks up my belly, across my chest, to give me a nose kiss, still no pain. That smile is growing by leaps and bounds, so I call in the other cat just to be sure and then I start poking myself, maybe I’m dreaming. Nope, I seem to be wide awake. I get out of bed and I feel awesome!
Ok, so what, big deal you say. I tell you what, if you’ve ever had a bad case of influenza remember what the first day felt like after you were better. It’s a big deal, but soon you forget all the aches and pains and life goes on it’s merry way, you take it for granted that, other than an occasional headache or after you bump your knee on the corner of the coffee table for the umpteenth time, you will go about your day pain free. For someone with FMS (Fibroymyalgia Syndrome) amongst other things, pain is a constant companion, those flu like aches and pains are NEVER gone. Imagine this, your cat jumping on your legs while you're laying down is uncomfortable, a hug can leave you breathless and forget your child ever sitting on your lap and cuddling, the pain is so excruciating you feel like someone is pouring a layer of hot lead on your legs.
I just had an odd memory this morning, when I was a child I often woke with “growing pains”, yes, I know that’s not odd, shush for a moment. What I’d forgotten is what I felt like in the morning some days. As far back as I can recall, say the age of 9 or 10, some mornings I would wake up and feel like the Princess and the Pea. Remember that story? With all those mattresses, what was it, like twenty or so, that poor princess could still feel the pea and woke up feeling bruised and battered. I remember relating to this story so significantly that I thought maybe I am a princess and somehow I was switched at birth (not kidding). I know I am no princess (except in my daddy’s eyes, but he’s been gone some time) but that tells me just how far back I’ve lived with pain. In just a couple of months, I'll turn 42 years young, so that is at least 32 years of almost daily pain. I’ve had periods of remission, but I think that’s still pretty significant.
This time it’s been well over four years since I’ve had any reprieve. Last time it was for one blissful day. Pain free is so significant and such a blessing that I can recall the exact feeling even if I can’t recall the exact date. I’d been at a prayer meeting the night before and the pastor and attendees prayed over me. It may once again only last for a day (I was going to add maybe only an hour but it’s already been 3 hours :D ), but even if it lasts one week, or one month, I pray that I NEVER, not for a moment, take this blessing for granted!
So, when I say I woke up today and I am pain free, I can shout for joy and tell you that it is a HUGE deal! “Thank you Abba Father, thank you for this gift, for blessing me with this day. Thank you for giving me the pain too, so I can remember to never take any day for granted!”
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” Psalm 100:1
Casting Crowns, "Praise You With the Dance"