Vantage Point

The gray light filters in through the north-facing windows of our apartment like molasses passing through a sieve.
I guess if you’re looking for sunlight, northern exposure definitely isn’t ideal… then again if you’re looking for sunlight Seattle isn’t either.

The large newish apartment complex next door, along with the thick blanket of clouds that hovers over, as far as I’m concerned the whole of Washington state, don’t help my quest for Vitamin D and a lower energy bill.

It’s definitely winter.

Sitting on my couch, my computer on my lap, I feel indecisive. Should I face the windows and the thick oyster sky or my wall of sea and mountains? The one, a monotony of gray scale and glum; the other of stormy seas and mighty mountainscapes. No matter what vantage point I choose I’m confronted with my lot.

As in mo-not-o-ny  noun – tedious sameness.
As in mono-nu-cle-o-sis  noun – a disease that makes people very tired and weak for a long time.
As in the prefix meaning one; single.
At least that’s what Mono’s supposed to be… a one time virus; highly unlikely you’ll ever get it again.
Guess that makes me “highly unlikely.”
Somehow I’m not surprised.

When I think back on the past month and a half… wow. It all seems a bit incredulous. The mind, the power of human will is a force to be reckoned with. It might almost be in contention with the behest of the body. Almost.

Nutcracker is never an easy season to get through, never mind when you have 10-ish different parts and there are only 10 other women dancing in the corps de ballet. But it is what it is. We band together as a team and push through the marathon of nearly 40 shows. And well, you just get used to functioning in a perpetual state of exhaustion. It’s just how it is.
So I didn’t think much of it when I started feeling achy and run-down on Thanksgiving.

Okay… maybe the sheet-soaking night sweats, and the 102˚F fever should’ve tipped me off. I just thought it was the flu. For two weeks… No biggie
And then those tonsils. The size of golf balls, they looked like peetree dishes. Nauseating. I chalked it up to strep throat and started taking antibiotics immediately.
Through it all I danced the double show days, the Peacocks, the triple whammies – I didn’t miss a show. I couldn’t, I wouldn’t miss a show. Not this year. Not this last year. Of my Nutcracker. 

So when I sat there, barely able to swallow, feeling the white paper crumple underneath me on the exam room table of my dad’s doctor (who miraculously fit me in before the Christmas holiday), all I could think of was whether I had time to go back to my apartment before the evening show or if I’d have to go straight to the theater. Not dancing was not an option.

So when the slender man with the sympathetic face told me I had mono and my spleen was enlarged I was … agh … He could’ve been speaking Russian… my brain couldn’t comprehend the words exiting his mouth. The minutes were ticking away and I had to tell artistic if I’d be dancing in the show tonight. 
Okay. So what are we looking at here? How long till I can perform again? A day? Two days?
Try 4-6 weeks. 
Little did I know that was being optimistic.

I took the Christmas tree down yesterday. It stood in that now vacant space next to the windows bleeding bleakness.

I was supposed to do it the day before but I just laid on the chaise and stared at it. Not in the wide-eyed I-wish-Christmas-would-never-end kind of stare. More in the telekinetic if-I-stare-hard-enough-maybe-the-tree-will-deconstruct-itself. I should use less ornaments next year…

An abrupt end to my Nutcracker run. A CT scan of my abdomen revealing an enlarged and slightly dysfunctional liver. A distractingly lovely New Years trip to NYC. Tonsils receding. Hope returning. A new year.
And now the fatigue decides to set in?
Taking down a Christmas tree never felt like such an accomplishment.
The gray monotonous days drift along and I try… try to keep trying.
Feels like the rug just keeps getting pulled out from underneath me.
The red rectangular icon in the top right corner of my laptop screen resolves my indecision. I face the framed and painted wall as I plug my computer in to the only power source in my vintage living room. And staring at my decided vantage point I can’t help but feel that I’m looking at my life ornately framed.
Stormy seas.
And it feels like I’ve been weathering these rough waves for much longer than just the past few weeks…

I’m reminded of an account. Some men and a boat.
Those disciples, experiencing that mountain-top miracle of loaves and fishes, they must have felt so full – full of food, of confidence and promise, of life – as they were shoved-off, sent alone, sent by the Lord into the big blue beyond. I get it. I’ve felt it. All of it. The rapturous joy – feeling strong and trusted. Then the confusion as the sky turns. The determination and perseverance as wind grows and time goes. Doubt and fear birthed from spent strength and a weary hearts. Sent into a storm. Sent into the dark. Straining at the oars. Rowing and going nowhere.
Oh I’m so tired of rowing… So tired of trying.
I want to chuck those stupid oars out of the boat and scream,
“I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE! Not by myself. Not without you, Lord.”

Stop rowing. Stop trying. Stop striving.
He’s coming. He’s watching. He’s walking. On the water. In glory.

My word for the year. The hardest word I’ve ever had.
Because in truth I don’t know how to rest. I don’t know how to stop. To “give up.” Am I even supposed to do that?
Yes and no.
Give up on myself – my ability to prove myself, to do it myself, to row across the lake?
Yes. Absolutely. Essential.
To give up on God – Creator, Savior, Friend?
It’s in my giving up that He’s revealed in glory. It’s not my might but His miraculous, omnipotent power. I let go of it all so I can cling to the One who has done it all.

Carried by the Everlasting Arms. Where fears are stilled and strivings cease. Where I can just be. Be still and know that HE IS.

“In rest and repentance is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength.”

Mono. God’s tool to teach me. God’s unexpected gift to me.
Overcoming it feels a bit like scaling one of those snow-coverd peaks painted before me. But, well, I don’t have to worry about that, do I, if I’m resting in Him?

“Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low – the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

This is my new vantage point.


One thought on “Vantage Point

  1. Catherine L. Tully says:

    Rest is so hard for dancers. It's a lot of “mind time”. 🙂 The funny thing is that His plan for us is something we can usually only see when we are looking back at our lives, not when we are looking forward! Hoping you feel better soon!

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