I’m glad I got a concussion

Sometimes when weird things happen – the only thing to do is laugh.

A couple weeks ago, asleep in my bed at home, I was dreaming that I was chasing a loose dog. In the dream, I ran within tackling distance – so I ambitiously leapt headfirst.

I will never know if I would have caught the dog – because I woke up on the floor staring at the ceiling, disoriented and in pain. Rachel awoke hearing a very loud thud and, seeing that I wasn’t in bed beside her anymore, rushed over to see if I was okay.

I guess the excitement of the dream caused my body to roll off our bed headfirst – but I don’t even remember falling. Just being on the ground.

We both had a good laugh when I told her what happened, and then we went back to sleep – we made sure I was very far away from the bed’s edge this time.

After 2 days of trying to work, I saw a doctor – who diagnosed me with a concussion.

I had to cancel everything.

Being in a profession where I do a lot of public speaking, I felt like I let a lot of people down. Yet my employers were both very generous in taking more on so I could have time to heal. I’m more replaceable than I’d like to think.

I wasn’t really allowed to do much except sleep, and sit alone in a dark and quiet room.

No screens, no reading, no brain stimulation at all.

My own version of hell.

———-

I am so entitled.

I just roll through life assuming nothing bad will happen to me – despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Yet I still think that I can have ultimate control over my life.

I can’t.

My whole life can be derailed by something as stupid as chasing a dog in a dream.

My livelihood is my brain – if I can’t use my brain I don’t make a living.

As far as I can recall, I have never fallen off a bed in my sleep in my life.

There was nothing I could have done differently – this was an accident beyond my control.

My whole life can be derailed by something as stupid as chasing a dog in a dream.

After a few days of inactivity, when my brain didn’t feel like it was healing, questions started to emerge:

Is this my new life?

What if I don’t get better?

I know many people on disability who are unable to work – is that what will happen to me?

I’m currently our household’s prominent financial earner as Rachel does school – what will this do to our goals and dreams?

Will I be an anchor that drags us down and eventually drowns us?

I had to give up my delusional entitlement to good health, a livelihood, or dreams of a privileged lifestyle.

I’m not entitled to any of those things – no one is.

But I’m lucky – I’m getting better.

———-

I’m also lucky to have a supportive community around me.

I felt the prayers and supportive thoughts from people – I was humbled by people’s generosity and willingness to be helpful.

We had meals cooked for us, my church took time to pray for me in my absence, and Rachel received lots of helpful advice from people. Rachel herself was very compassionate and selfless in caring for me.

A community shows its value in times of crisis.

 

———-

I also had a profound experience of God’s closeness as I was lying in bed feeling quite useless.

I had 2 things on repeat in my mind over and over and over and over again.

The first was a verse from 1 Thessalonians: “Rejoice always, pray ceaselessly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I had lots of time to spend in prayer, but limited brain capacity to think creatively.

Which brings me to the second thing: the Jesus Prayer. As a core practice for Eastern Christians with a tradition that reaches back over 1,500 years, it is a simple and repetitive practice that allows the mind to sink deep into the depth of being (or heart) to achieve unceasing prayer.

Essentially, it entails repeating the prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”. It is simple, and I’ve never really found it all that helpful in the past, but for some reason I found it effective this time – probably since I had little opportunity to do anything else! I found that sometimes I would be repeating this prayer for hours on end.

And a funny thing happened.

I’ve gone through multiple times of depression in my life – and I fully expected laying in bed for days on end would have a similar result.

But the opposite happened!

From the depth of my being – I was consistently as joyful and thankful in my two weeks of struggle and disappointment as I can remember being, well, ever!

I felt people’s thoughts and prayers in the community around me – and I felt God’s peace with me in the darkness.

Rachel & I kept waiting for the bad mental health day to come – but it never did. For that I am extremely grateful.

———-

So as disappointing and disempowering and scary these past couple weeks have been – I’m so grateful that they happened.

I’m thankful for caring and loving people around me.

I’m grateful for a close experience of God’s grace and mercy.

I’m very thankful that I can return to work, and that my brain is healing.

I’m glad I fell off my bed.

 

 

 

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