I’m not great at knowing my limits. I also don’t like taking sick days. I’ve worked with broken limbs, on no sleep, with mucus filling up my lungs and face. There were times where i just didn’t know when to quit and rest.
One day in particular i slept no hours in the night. I could hardly breathe. I tossed and turned in my bed, expecting my body just to clear itself out. I hadn’t struggled with asthma for years and it didn’t occur to me that this could be an emergency and i could go past the chemist in the morning to get a puffer.
I got out of bed, not feeling great. Drove to work, and went to the chemist. Through shallow breaths and most probably eyes that verged on heroin junkie tiredness i asked for a puffer. The lady behind the counter explained that usually you have to have a card to be sold a puffer, but because of my obvious distress she would sell me one. Obvious distress, from a chemist lady. (still no red lights) I went down to work, and started getting involved in the saturday panic of buying cameras. I worked with some very lovely people who i miss a lot. But it got to a few minutes before lunch, and my lung capacity had gotten worse.
The puffer i had, could only be used once every 3 hours. So by the second hour I was done. My body finally sent up flags and smoke signals. I had to get to a doctor. So i politely asked my manager, ‘hey, I can’t breathe properly, i need to go to the doctor’ Being understaffed and busy he asked if i could stay till lunch breaks were finished. A legitimate request, not knowing what was happening inside my body. And i nearly said yes. But my body finally rallied. ‘No, i need to go home now’
On my way out I pitifully rang my parents house cause i didn’t know what else to do, I had no money for a doctors visit or medicine other then the ten dollar puffer. I needed sleep, i needed comfort.
Later on, sitting on my old bed surrounded by my parents, i get slipped a $50 note, my medicare card and the knowledge that as soon as the doctor was finished with me i needed to come back here for soup and a good nights sleep.
As an asthmatic, in my youth a doctor would make me blow into a thing called a turbohaler, which measured the health and capacity of your lungs. I was never good at it. Doctors were always surprised that i was living and breathing and yet my lungs sucked. So i sit in this new doctors office and he asks me to prove my lung capacity for the first time in many years. I try three times. I’m not sure what stopped him from laughing, but he was on the verge of it. He looked me dead in the eye ‘You should be in hospital, and i don’t understand how your on your feet, let alone at work’ He wrote out a script and then asked me if i had a puffer. I did. But it hadn’t been all that helpful because i could only take it once every three hours. and then he said something huge ‘Oh what?, no, if your in that bad a state you can go to town on that puffer” I then went home and slept like never before.
I have a couple of stories like this, of keeping on moving in the midst of huge pain or discomfort. Its a weird stubbornness that sometimes raises up in me when i feel like i need to get things done.
I feel like after this weekend i got revelation of this for the kingdom of God. We get to choose if we live in the kingdom of life, or the kingdom of death. The kingdom of life says that Jesus died for us, defeated death and hands us eternal life. This doesn’t mean he rid the world of pain or discomfort, but if means we can keep going, knowing that we will live forever. Not forgetting that God rested on the last day of creation.
We can also choose to live in the kingdom of death. This weekend I had the privilege and honour to be involved in a two day event that changed the lives of many people in the city i live in. The first day was long and hard. I was on my feet the whole time, in the sun unwisely without sunscreen. And to end it I stood in the wind of the beach with a champion securing a car park. So by the time i got home late that night, my bottom half was cramping and in pain. My skin was on fire, and i was exhausted. When i woke the next morning i was finished. I had very little voice, my skin was tight and still warm and i was over it.
I had planned church and lunch and got very excited about them, but by the time lunch came around the pain and tiredness in my body had taken over and i stood, not in the kingdom of life that i usually reside in, but in the kingdom of death. Where pain controls decisions. So i decided to sit around doing nothing to rest and recoup.
I believe, because i’ve proved it in myself a myriad of times, that if i had danced more and involved myself in the day completely, trusting God to hold me together, the day would’ve produced a lot more life then it ended up producing.
So it dawned on me. If we are to bring heaven to earth, then we need to choose life. We need to live out of the tree of eternal life and not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Life says – victory. Death says defeat.