Tucked into a corner nook of my office, there’s a big, cozy chair. It’s just structured enough to feel safe and firm, while also lending the right amount of comfortable give. I really like this chair. It helps me feel secure, and grounded, especially when the world doesn’t feel so safe. Huddled in its arms like a little child working through a nightmare, I sit here, processing through my grief and the weight of hard.
Things that are hard.
Things that are out of my control.
A week ago, I had a very serious allergic reaction to a food I’ve eaten my whole life. Within seconds of taking a bite, I started coughing. My throat got scratchy, and a rash developed on the back of my throat, roaring up and around my tonsils and the roof of my mouth. Within a minute, it became harder to swallow, at which point I raced through my house and grabbed our emergency children’s liquid Benadryl. I proceeded to squeeze spoonfuls into my mouth. Praying, crying, grabbing my husband (who thankfully was home sick) and asking him to be my backup if I needed to shoot epinephrine into my thigh. In case I lost consciousness.
Thankfully, the tablespoon of children’s liquid Benadryl starting working so quickly. My coughing subsided, and as I practiced deep breathing exercises waiting for the Benadryl to take greater effect, I could feel my throat opening up. I praise God for the gift of modern medicine, especially in times like these. The next two hours I had intense nausea and stomach issues, as my body fought to process this new allergy. I cried more. I had a couple near panic attacks. I texted friends asking for prayer. I called my doctor.
It took three days for my stomach to calm down completely, and longer for me to feel somewhat comfortable around any food. Food allergies are awful. I can’t joke about them, because it breaks my heart thinking about the what-if’s and what-could-have-been’s…At which point, I start to think of my little boy and all he’s had to deal with, what he may have to deal with in the future, and I break down crying. It hurts me so deeply. I grieve over this pain. I grieve over this uncertainty.
I allow myself to feel the weight of hard. And then attempt to release it. To lay it at the feet of Jesus, all while bawling my eyes out. While reading every food label with contempt, while questioning every party invite, while wondering if some new or current food can kill me or my family with one, single bite.
Food allergies have changed me. They’ve broken me down in ways I can’t explain, they’ve added a roughness to my life I would never have chosen for myself. They’ve humbled me, and given me a clearer perspective on how I spend my time – knowing full well that time is not anything I can control.
Lately, I’ve been weepier than normal. I could cry at the drop of a hat. It takes me a while to work through my fears, and yet I keep showing up. I’m so thankful for this life. Truly, I feel so blessed that God has saved me. He saved me from dying when I went into anaphylaxis in college, and he saved me again last week. I’m sure there are so many other times, when God gave me another chance, and I want to keep reminding myself of His faithfulness. He walks with us, He promises.
He knows the weight of hard, and He can carry it.