Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunshine in the darkness

I'm back on the heavy stuff again...the meds the doc prescribed for my worst days, and lots of menthol pain patches wherever I can find a place to stick them. I wish I could make people understand this pain. Heck, I wish *I* could understand it. My entire body is screaming. There is just no other way to describe it. I feel like I'm carrying an elephant...I'm just so heavy. Through the night I switched back and forth between praying and crying, until I didn't have the strength to do either one anymore. I dozed off but couldn't be still and I woke myself up moaning...something that I do often these days. I cannot escape it. Even with sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and pain pills, there is no relief in sight. I had to go to the store this morning to buy some OTC meds and a part for my walking cane, and I almost had to ask for help because I couldn't lift my arm to the shelf to pick up a box of cereal. I walked in slow motion towards the front of the store, and the greeter saw me and brought me a shopping cart to lean on. Needless to say, my quality of life is rather poor at the moment. Regular every day living that is so easily taken for granted is but a dream to me. And let's not mention the agony involved in simply wearing a bra. Yeah, let's not talk about that.

I do what I can to distract myself from it. I spend a great deal of time online, reading stuff and connecting with people. And of course, I blog all over the place. I have made a habit of finding a reason to laugh every day, which usually leads me to the funny website that I mention often, posting funny animal photos on a weekly basis. Humor has become a life jacket for me. It is absolutely necessary to my survival.

As is music, which since the day I was born has been a source of security for me. At birth I was given a little musical sunshine that played "You Are My Sunshine". I carried it with me around the house, and one of my earliest memories in life was giving my sunshine to my mama when she was crying on her bed. At the age of 2 or 3, however old I was, I recognized that she needed comfort, and gave her the object that I loved most, that seemed to carry me to a better place when I needed it to - my little sunshine. She, of course, gave it back to me, and when Hurricane Katrina ruined ninety percent of my city in 2005, my little sunshine fell victim as well. I remember finding it among the debris, and refusing the throw it out, I hosed it down, scrubbed it, washed it...whatever I could do to save it, but to no avail as the music box inside of it had rusted. I still have my little sunshine, though, and every so often I'll find the song running through my head:

"You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are gray
You'll never know, dear
How much I love you
Please don't take
My sunshine away."

Growing up, although not musically inclined in the least (I'm not even capable of bad karaoke...ha), music was so much a part of my life and seemed to carry me through many tough times. I would spend hours in my mom's room sometimes, listening to her record albums (yes, RECORD ALBUMS, kids!) and letting the songs take me to another time and place. As a teenager, struggling with my health, I discovered contemporary Christian music, and it was as if I was breathing new air. I still had the same problems, but somehow this new-found love gave me the strength to cope.

Now as an adult, I still find myself using music as an escape from the real world. In an attempt to get away from it all, I get in my car and drive with no particular destination in mind. I turn up the radio or a CD, and I sing to the top of my lungs as if I'm live on stage. I cannot stress enough how terribly I sing, but I don't care. And it could be a really sad song...it doesn't matter. I sing it loudly and proudly, and even when life is going horribly wrong, I find the strength to cope.

And I did so today, driving to the store in utter agony. I turned on my CD and sang to the top of my lungs. It was hard. I didn't feel like singing. But I made myself do it, and eventually it became a little easier as time went on. It was my stubborn, life-long way of telling myself that I am not giving up, even though I want to.

Music has been a gift to me. It is my sunshine in the darkness. I believe it is God's way of saying "Hang in there, girl, I'm not through with you yet. Just keep on singing. I'm listening."

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