Bad Medicine and Theology 101
Lily is currently taking three medications. Three. It feels like three too many. Actually, I need to change that. She's taking five, if you include her allergy meds. We were seeing some success with one of the medicines, but one of the side effects is increased appetite and subsequent weight gain. I didn't notice anything at first, but for the last few weeks she is complaining of constant hunger. I help her choose healthy snacks and I also make sure she doesn't eat more than she should. Her doctor is amazing and weighs her every time we see him, but she's gained four pounds and he's "monitoring it closely." He won't let it get out of control, but it just sucks that on top of everything else, Lily is now having to count calories and restrict her diet and possibly worry about being overweight. I have been vigilant about my kids eating healthy. Always. I just want to throw a brick through a window somewhere to get all my frustration and disappointment out. And to make matters worse, her medicine may be losing its initial benefits.
I am not at a crisis in my faith. I don't talk about my faith (if at all) on my blog because, well... it's just that. My faith. Just like I don't talk about all the details of my marriage, because it's my marriage and I don't feel like you need to know every little thing that goes on between myself and David. My faith is precious to me and personal, but I would be remiss if I did not share once in a while that without my faith--my belief in a God who does care about me--and my time in prayer, I would be a complete wreck. I think prayer is one of the greatest mysteries in the universe. People either believe in God or they don't. People read the Bible because they believe in it and put it to work in their lives or they think it's a nice collection of verses that can't have much application for today. But prayer. Prayer is different.
Quite a few of my friends who do not believe in God do ask for "good thoughts" or "good vibes" when they're going through a difficult time. Is this because they're selfish and just want me to think about them? Hardly. Can it be that collective thought on a positive outcome gives them a sense of comfort they wouldn't have otherwise? Maybe. Is the idea out there for us all that we can somehow help the universe along by hoping for a more positive outcome? I think deep, deep down we do hope for that.
Where does prayer fit into that? For me, prayer is one of the greatest mysteries of life. I don't embrace the idea that God is up there like a vending machine, that if I just pester Him enough or plead in just the right way He'll give me what I want. That's plain wrong. I think prayer works in the opposite way. As C. S. Lewis so eloquently put it, "I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time--waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God--it changes me."
That is what I know to be true. When Lily's illness or financial frustration or sibling bickering drives me bonkers, I remember the verses I read in my Bible that morning, like "don't be anxious but be thankful" or "have a joyful heart" or "love unconditionally." And I pray. In praying, my mind becomes less all-about-me and more what-can-I-do-to-make-today-better. I become less focused on my own problems and more focused on loving others.
I'm no theologian. And I've never been eloquent with words or opinions. But I know this to be true: prayer is a lifeline for me.