Sunday, December 09, 2012
Most people never hear the timers. The coffee spot I work in has timers that go off to remind us to change out the creamers and coffees so that they stay fresh and at right temperature. As I waited on this customer the timer began beeping. As the beeping grew in pitch and intensity I could see her face grow tight, her eye lids raise and her eyes get more focused. She covered her ears and said seriously with a touch of panic in her voice, “What is that beeping?” She went on to explain that she had a brain injury recently and she has become sensitive to noise.
When I worked as a disability claims manager I had some clients with Lyme disease. They could not function at their jobs because the lights and noises affected them so significantly. Sufferers of Lyme disease also experience tinnitus, inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain (meningitis), temporary paralysis of one side of the face (Bell's palsy), hallucinations and hearing loss.
It is surprising that we live reasonably healthy lives. I could have suffered some serious damage myself having been in a bicycle accident at 16 in which I skid on the pavement for ten feet without a helmet. Beyond that I had fallen off swing sets and out of trees. Despite having blacked out in those accidents I suffer no affects mentally or physically (though some close friends may argue this point).
We take credit for our health. We take vitamins and try and eat right. Scientists tell us this will stave off certain sicknesses and cancers, cancers which science now tells us are carried about in certain genes from birth. Certainly we can sway the statistics but the odds remain significantly against us. It seems obvious that what happens to us physically is out of our control.
There is no guarantee that we can prevent cancer or stop accidents from affecting us. Certainly we can not prevent death. Our only hope is to rest in a certainty that a wholly good God works things out for His glory and our best. Joni Eareckson Tada has stated that, “I relearned the timeless lesson of allowing my suffering to push me deeper into the arms of Jesus. I like to think of my pain as a sheepdog that keeps snapping at my heels to drive me down the road to Calvary, where, otherwise, I would not be naturally inclined to go.” Going into the arms of Jesus seems the only place to go in the throes of our pain and fragility. May we be willing to enter his embrace when life breaks us.