Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Life is simple... just not easy

Deep breath




That's my routine every time I go to eat.

I'm half way through my second round with these new chemotherapy drugs. The side effects are getting a little peculiar.

Every time I eat the first 30 seconds of chewing brings on sharp pain in the corners of my jaws. The neuropathy has effected my throat so anything cold feels like a million needles down my throat, and my hands and feet react to cold sensitivity as well. There are hiccups and burps that feel like a branding iron down my throat. The fatigue seems to be fairly heavy. I don't want to count the hours I've spent on the couch lately.

The toughest side effect right now though is appetite. Kendra and I started a very strict new diet that I'm very hopeful and optimistic will significantly aid in our treatment. However it also limits my options. Combine a limited menu with a serious struggle to want to eat and it becomes very difficult to stay nourished.

Food becomes utilitarian. I no longer eat for pleasure as much as I do for purpose. It's still a daily battle to choke things down. Gagging, coughing, and constant nausea are my routine every time I eat. Things taste decent most of the time, it's not that it's poor food. It's just plain old hard work for me to eat. A small bowl of soup might take over thirty minutes to force down.

My mission is simple, to eat.

It's not complicated. Get calories, maintain weight, and stay nourished are my outcomes. It's just really really hard to do this right now. You could say I'm in a "food rut".

Have you ever had any ruts in your life? A prayer rut? A bible reading rut? How about a church rut?

There are so many things about being a christian that we can over complicate in an effort to excuse our lack of obedience and self discipline. Maybe you didn't get a prayer answer like you wanted, someone at church offended you, or you're stuck in Leviticus in your daily bible reading schedule. It doesn't matter the circumstances, we still have to do certain things to stay healthy.

What about when it doesn't taste the same? "I don't feel connected to God right now", is a statement I hear from our college kids all the time. The next question is what are you doing to connect? Often the answer is very little. We expect God to grant warm fuzzies and divine revelations every time we grace him with fifteen minutes of effort. The real mark of maturity is will we give him more when we feel like we're getting less?

When I feel worst is when I need to eat most. If I'm not careful I'll only eat when it feels good and that doesn't work with a diet or spirituality.

I can't tell my body not to lose weight because I don't feel like eating, or my new diet is limiting, or that my mouth hurts to chew. It doesn't matter the reasons why, I still have to eat.

It's the same for you and I in our spiritual disciplines. It doesn't matter what's going on around us. Being a Christian is simple, it's just not easy.

Love God, love others.

What excuses are you leaning on right now? What side effects or symptoms are really distractions from obedience?

While you figure it out, I'm going to go eat a snack!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Ryan,
Just read your blog. As I watch the Olympics it is easy for me to compare your battle to win to those competing in London. The background information on each medal winner speaks of they having to face adversity on their path to succcess.
Although it would seem easier to give up you and the Olympians continue to reach for the gold. God's continued blessing as you reach and teach others through your struggle.