stuck in bed with laughter down the hall

For all its simple traditions and near standstill pace, the week of Christmas is one of my favorites. We basically just lay around the house together and try to stay warm. I’m a fan of simple traditions, which is a huge part of our Christmas week too. The most anticipated night of the year for my kids is Christmas Adam (Adam comes before Eve) when we all sleep under the Christmas tree. The boys drag all the mattresses down and get the living room filled up with soft places to land. The girls and I get cheese and chocolate fondue ready. Everyone looks forward to opening a few gifts, watching a movie and I soak in seeing all my people snuggled up around me.

choosejoy-01choosejoy-02choosejoy-03choosejoy-04choosejoy-05choosejoy-06choosejoy-07choosejoy-08choosejoy-09choosejoy-10Christmas Adam is my night to sit back with a big smile and relish it all, except when I can’t. I actually do not remember anything from this night. Chris took all those photos, so I could see what I missed.

While my crew was celebrating one of our favorite Christmas traditions, I was curled up off to the side. Knocked out from heavy pain meds and hoping to pass a kidney stone.
choosejoy-11The week before Christmas I came down with a bad sinus infection. Two days later I was in the ER for a kidney stone. It took 7 days and everything under the sun (water, apple cider vinegar, dandelion, oils, etc.) to get it to pass. Sidenote: kidney stone pain is no joke! All of our Christmas celebrating (family dinners, travel to see extended family, etc), I was trying to manage pain enough to be semi-present with my crew. Eventually, the kidney stone passed and the sinus infection returned.

I’m never sick. I can’t even remember the last time I went to a doctor for an illness. It had to be at least 8 years ago. In a matter of 2.5 weeks, I had a sinus infection, kidney stone and another sinus infection.

I can honestly say I don’t think I ever take my health for granted. Watching friends battle chronic and fatal illnesses, I am keenly aware of what a gift being healthy is. I’m committed to working out and eating a balanced diet, not so I can lose weight or look a certain way, but simply because I CAN. To be strong and able is something I don’t take for granted and something I don’t want to steward poorly. I have the ability to jump over things, lift weights, and move my body, so goodness I am going to do those things while I can. I don’t think I will ever look back and think, “Man, I sure wish I hadn’t been intentional about staying active.”

Laying in bed the last few weeks, my mind kept returning to the fact that my illnesses were temporary. I’ve been thinking a lot of my friend Lindsey, who is battling Lyme disease. Though she struggles everyday to get out of bed, she uses her gifts and talents to bring hope to others through Bottles of Tears. She wants others facing the similar battles to know they are not alone and that God sees them. Though I don’t take my health for granted, the last few weeks did open my eyes to what it feels like to be stuck in bed in pain and hear laughter down the hall. My heart broke for those whose reality involves long battles with chronic illnesses and pain. The last few weeks they have laid heavy on my heart and mind. If that is you – I am so sorry. I can’t begin to imagine your reality, but a couple weeks stuck in my bed makes my heart hurt for you. I don’t have eloquent words and am fumbling through even the ones I’m typing here. Simply said – I know you are out there and I pray you are surrounded by those that love you and allow you to feel seen and loved.

It is a new year. If you have legs that can move – go move them. If you have arms that can lift – go make them strong. If you have feet that can run – go play tag with a kid or two. Get moving because YOU CAN and that is one of the greatest gifts you have ever been given.

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