– This month is #EpilepsyAwarenessMonth. Todays blog is from Chris’ book, “Pause with Jesus”. You can purchase copies HERE.
I tell a story about the swelling of my brain caused by encephalitis in March 1996. I tell a story of always-healthy-Chris getting sick, of being in the ER and almost dying, of spending days in the hospital, of not remembering the names of our three sons, of a nurse coming to our house three times a day after I was finally released, of being a man who communicated for a living then needing months of speech therapy. I tell a story about resulting brain damage, severe scar tissue throughout that damaged brain especially in my left temporal lobe, change in personality, radical mood swings, and now living with long term effects like epilepsy and short term memory issues and the need to nap. I tell a story about me, the fit husband and dad and pastor and coach, becoming the very sick me who tried very hard to be the former me but couldn’t do most of what he’d done before. I tell of forgetting names, forgetting events, forgetting how to spell, and forgetting something else but I can’t remember what. I tell of making things worse as I tried to make myself better. That’s the story I tell.
That’s the storm where the wind seems to still blow at times, the waves don’t seem to ever fully calm at times, and the shore feels far, far away at times.
That’s the story I tell—having trouble saying what I want to say. That’s the story I live—as I reach for my meds, as I hold tightly to modern electronic devices that work to help my brain do her job a little better, as I stare while seeking a noun in my brain. That’s the storm I feel around me, within me, surrounding me—when my story isn’t sounding so fine to me. How do I pause with Jesus holding tightly to that packed luggage? By actually realizing the phrase, “I can’t do anything without Jesus,” isn’t a sermon title or a religious motto. It’s a reality. It’s my reality. I work hard to force this damaged brain to work. I follow the rules I’ve been given. I ask for help from others. But I can’t do anything without Jesus.
Sorry if that phrase sounds childish to you. It is just the truth. I feel like a little kid in a not-so-young-man’s body.
And that’s another reason a story about how Jesus viewed children helps me feel a little better about everything. Even my damaged brain. Even my life with epilepsy. Even those things about me that I and others wish would not be as they are. This story lets me pause, crawl toward the smiling face of Jesus as I hear Him laugh, and let His muscular arms grab my weak self and cradle me to Himself.