Monday, April 1, 2013

Making the Journey

About two weeks ago I was asked to speak and provide a musical number for a Relief Society celebration in a ward in our stake. As the day approached some thoughts came to mind and I was able to polish a little ditty I had written about four years ago. Feeling I was somewhat prepared, I didn't stress over this event. Then the day in question arrived, and everything seemed to hit the fan.

I have a form of rheumatoid arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis. (Yes, that is a mouthful to say.) This lovely disease tends to attack my lower spine and hips with a fury, making life entertaining. As with most people who endure arthritis, I've noticed that barometric pressure changes inspire flare-ups. This was one of the whammys I experienced that day.

When an arthritic moment from hades tries to disrupt my life, I usually do my best to push forward. For me it helps to keep moving. As such, I went on with my day, striving to accomplish the list of errands I needed to complete.

I managed to keep up fairly well until about an hour before the speaking engagement. Then my body decided to show me who was boss yet again. My blood sugar plummeted to 54, something that often happens when I'm in a bit of pain. As a Type 1 diabetic, this is not an unusual occurrence. However, unlike most insulin reactions that I endure on a regular basis, this one didn't want to go away. Thirty minutes later, despite my attempts to bring that level back to a normal range, it refused to budge. So I brought out the big guns, since I was supposed to head to town for the Relief Society dinner in a few minutes. This time I guzzled Gatorade, which usually helps to balance things out. As my blood sugar level ricocheted the other direction, I felt ever so lovely. Ignoring the nausea, I changed clothes, grabbed my guitar, and headed out to the car to drive to town.

By the time I arrived at the church house, my blood sugar was in the high 300's and I felt like the last chapter, so to speak. I punched in a dose of insulin on my insulin pump to bring my blood sugar down to a normal level for me (I try to keep it around 120-150) and I hoped for the best.

Since that level was so high, I just sipped water while the other women ate their dinner. I sat by a good friend who happens to be in that ward and she offered sympathy over my plight. We walk together quite often and she understood why I couldn't eat the delicious looking chicken salad with a tempting raspberry sauce. A few minutes before I was supposed to provide the program, I slipped out to do a final check on my blood sugar. It was now in the low 400 range--adding to my discomfort. I punched in more insulin, offered a quick but sincere prayer for help, and returned to the Relief Society party.

As I've seen in the past, when something is important, and I've done all I can to prepare, heavenly help is provided to get me through. It was the case that night. I stood before those women, feeling quite horrible, then the quiet peace of the Spirit slipped inside my heart, and I knew I wasn't facing this challenge alone. During the time I spoke and performed the musical number, I was sustained in a heavenly fashion. I was granted strength beyond my own and was able to convey the inspired message our Father desired his daughters to hear that night.

When it was over, I was amazed by the help I had received, and I knew who it was I needed to thank for that divine intervention. The nausea, headache, and arthritic pain returned, but an inner glow softened their impact as I gathered my things and drove home.

It was a nice reminder that no matter what we're facing, we are never as alone as we sometimes think we are. And despite overwhelming odds, we can rise above the obstacles in our way to become instruments in our Father's hands. The extra help we need is provided as long as we are willing to humbly ask for it, and possess the faith to make good things happen. It isn't always easy, and I will admit that there are times when I feel like curling up in a corner, refusing to take one more step because it hurts too much. Those are the moments when I need to push the pain aside and rely on the healing power of peace that is available for anyone who desires to keep moving forward on life's journey.


Lynn Gardner said...

You are so amazing! And even more incredible is the help we are offered by the Spirit - and the Grace of God. What would we do without it!!

Cheri J. Crane said...

Not so amazing, but I definitely appreciated the extra help I received that night. =) We are truly more blessed than we realize.

Kerry Blair said...

You. Are. My. Hero. I know I say that a lot -- but I always mean it!

Cheri J. Crane said...

Actually, you are the example that keeps me going. =)

Jennie said...

You expressed many of the feelings that have gotten me through this past week. My left knee has gotten so bad I can barely walk--I'm having it replaced a week from Monday. I came down with a strep throat over the Easter weekend along with laryngitis. Even after being on antibiotics for a couple of days I debated going to the temple Wednesday and Thursday, but since I'll soon be off for a couple of months again I felt I should go. I think I got through it through sheer faith--and stubbornness. I needed to be there and the Lord got me through it and helped me accomplish what needed to be done for some special people.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Jennie, you've truly been through your share of challenging trials recently. And it is amazing what the Lord can help us accomplish when the need is great. Know my prayers will be with you during this next surgery.

Gale Sears said...

Dear Cheri,
Thank you for your faith and courage. I'm sorry to be late in commenting, my computer crashed and I have been out of touch.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Gotta love computers. ;) I'm glad yours is up and running again, Gale. And thank you for your courageous example.