Friday, September 03, 2010

Joyful, joyful, and a bulldozer.

In the night forlorn,
ah, the morning's born,
and the morning shines
with the lights of love.
You will miss the sunrise
if you close your eyes,
and that would break
my heart in two.
-Townes Van Zandt, "If I Needed You."

This new season of joy puzzles me at times. For the past week I have been down and O-U-T with a migraine. Yeah, a week-long migraine. Well, it took Sunday off, so maybe it's holy. But pretty much a week of having zero capacity for anything. Sometimes I could read, or check email, or an all-important Facebook status update. I don't get it. I'm supposed to be taking the world by storm right now. I'm supposed to be raising support like a hurricane and busting my way to Dallas like nobody's business so that I, Emily Preston, can singlehandedly save thousands upon thousands of people from dying of waterborne illnesses, lift them out of poverty and put the Gospel in their hands.
The thing about these headaches is that they feel an awful lot like a bulldozer attack (no, I've never been attacked by a bulldozer) and the only weapon I have is a little slingshot full of these teeny, tiny pills the doctor gave me. Hey, have you ever tried to stop a bulldozer with a pill? Yeah, good luck with that. Maybe if you are a good thrower. But it appears that, for me, pills are just like any other object: I throw them like a girl. A scrawny girl who is not at the top of her fourth grade gym class, for that matter. *tink*tink* The pills hit the windshield (pretend with me that they get that high) and the bulldozer scoffs in diesel fumes and keeps on a comin'.

I'm not entirely sure why I get these headaches. But I have a couple of theories. First, they are a big, fat reminder that I need God and I need other people. Good grief, did you read that paragraph about how I'm supposed to be taking the world by storm? Productive? Sure. But who wants to be friends with Hurricane Emily? She's just a pride monster. It is a good thing to need help from other people. It is a good thing to be weak and allow God's strength to be shown through me, to me and around me. These verses came to mind this morning:
"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. that is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
And my second theory has to do with the song lyrics at the beginning of this post. In the night forlorn the morning's born. Let me explain. Last night as I was getting ready for bed I finally started feeling really good. And I started getting really excited about the next day. A few things in particular were getting my blood pumping and my smile muscles working. Call me simple, but I was genuinely excited about the sun coming up. I just wanted to run out of the house and yell "Good Morning!!" to it. But I still had a few hours of sleeping before I could do that. And there I was taking my new headache medication, which means one and a half pills. Tricky. And then I had this ridiculous thought (I kid you not), "Oooh! Maybe this means someone will get me a pill cutter for Christmas!" Are you kidding me?! Who thinks that?! Who gets excited about a pill cutter? Sincerely excited about a pill cutter.

In the brighter moments of the headache, I'd finished reading the book Born to Run, which inspired me to give barefoot running a try. I pattered up and down the driveway a few times that evening while playing fetch with the dog and LOVED it, so I was really looking forward to trying it out a bit more. (Please digress with me and laugh at the irony of becoming inspired to pick up barefoot running while incapacitated by a migraine. Multiply that by twenty because I'm going to have to explain this to Yong, the Korean-Texan-American nail technician when we go in for a mother-daughter pedicure appointment tomorrow. Let's just say either the pedicure or the barefoot running is going to stick around, but it won't be both).
I think it's this with the headaches: they are the night forlorn. That long, lonely, painful place that sharpens the vision to see the first shafts of morning light creeping across the sky and sends out the alarm that it's time to grab the cup of coffee and get ready to stand in the driveway and yell, "GOOD MORNING!" to the sun because it's finally coming! And wouldn't you hate to miss seeing it rise? If it weren't for the headaches, I'd be content with sleeping through the sunrise and might take for granted the fact that the sun had risen at all. (If you're rolling your eyes because you think I've gone cliche with the sunrise I'll give you Option B: I would take for granted the fact that somebody got me a pill cutter for Christmas and the simple/bizarre joy of being properly medicated.)
And while I am keeping my eyes open in that night forlorn, waiting, it gives God an opportunity to show up in a way that only He can. In my weakness He pulls through and His power rests on me. Shoot, if that's not cool, I don't know what is.


Alicia said...

Boo for headaches. It seems like you've gotten a number of them in the last year. No fun!

Sam said...

Oh sister...I've been getting about 3-4 migraines a week for 3 months! I TOTALLY feel you and your post is a lot of what I'm learning, too. Although I know it's ok to say they suck, God is using them and it really does make you grateful for life when you don't have them. When you have one, you think that's how life will feel forever. Anyway, wish you could come on up here and hang. Talk to you soon . . .

grant said...

I say this not to be the annoying, know-it-all friend, but because you would love him if you listened to him: Townes Van Zandt actually wrote "If I Needed You."

And I think running barefoot is like telemark skiing. "Free your heel, free your mind. Free your toes, free your soul." Or something. Because I tele.

Emily said...

Thanks for catching the misquote, one to keep me in line without you around. :)