WELL, it has been a very long time since I wrote anything about this journey that I never saw coming so I thought this afternoon that I would provide a little update.
For those who have followed along with my sporadic posts you will know that as we approach Christmas day that I just passed the 5-month mark since the day of my brain injury. WOW, 5 months! I can hardly begin to explain to you what it feels like to write that. It has been 5 months since hitting my head in what seemed like a very simple but not horrific by any means accident. I remember even joking about my clumsiness involved in what anyone would say was a freak accident.
But nevertheless, 5 months it has been and as I write this the latest update has me at 80% physically recovered (that is all the neck and upper back injury… the head impact area healed within days). That means that much of the injury that causes the constant headaches is pretty much healed (although I am currently on day 10 of a constant headache) but there is still 20% to go!
And here is the kicker, that 20% is in everyone’s opinion (those on the medical side of my recovery) is the hardest part of the recovery journey. You see, this 20% involves more of the actual mental recovery, memory, recall, comprehension, and intellectual engagement. For those who have been with me on this journey, one of the most challenging aspects of this trek has been the confusion and frustration that has come from my inability to engage these things along the way. You see, as a pastor, much of my world involves engaging deep thinking and reflection. Over the last few months, since early November especially, I have been attempting to place myself in situations and opportunities where I have to engage more deeply. The challenge is I find myself often becoming frustrated and discouraged by how much some of the simplest tasks in this arena and area still take out of my life. The reality is, some simple conversations can set me back for hours physically and mentally still today. I can find myself with deeper headaches and feeling physically ill in ways that are difficult to explain (light-headedness and dizziness are my constant companions).
And come to think of it, that is probably “WHY” the gap in posting anything recently on this blog site. You see, in those moments when I have engaged more actively it wears me out to the point where even thinking about writing anything meaningful is the last thing I want to attempt to do. Well, maybe it would be better to say it is the last thing I am able to do (honestly, I would love to be able to).
But here’s the amazing thing! This past week, I’ve had to put some thought to a series of very challenging and difficult meetings. Honestly, these are sometimes more difficult to engage than any computer work or course work that I have attempted to continue to do over the past few months. However, prior to the third meeting (and quite possibly the most difficult meeting I have ever had personally) I had some time to sit and engage God’s Word at a local Starbucks. As I dug deeply into my study of the New Testament book of Acts something incredible happened! The Spirit of God began to inspire me to start to write my first sermon in months! Now, anyone who has had the opportunity to speak publicly in any format knows how important it is to engage deeply in the topic they are attempting to proclaim. As I sat in the corner of that coffee shop with people coming and going constantly the words seemed to flow with ease and an incredible amount of clarity. When I was done, I not only had the biggest smile on my face, I also had tears streaming from my eyes (I think to anyone around me I must have looked like a juxtaposition of realities).
You see, as I stared at the pages in front of me not only did I see a sermon (which I cannot wait to preach one day), I saw a turning point in this unbelievable journey that I have been on!
For the first time in a very long time, my brain was showing signs of returning to where it was prior to the accident. For the first time, I was able to see signs of engagement and deep thinking that simply put brought a glimmer of HOPE into my world! Which ironically, is interesting considering the time of year that we are all involved in as I write this. You see, the Christmas story is about HOPE. The story of the birth of the baby in the manger is about God’s answer to the HOPE that we whether we see it or not, whether we acknowledge it or not, we all long for! The reality is, the Christmas season is all about HOPE! The HOPE that can only be found as pastor Dr. Paul David Tripp reminds us:
So, it is with a renewed sense of HOPE that I want to wish you and yours the very merriest of Christmas’ and all the best in the year to come!