Round and round again
One of the toughest parts of my recovery from traumatic brain injury has been repetitive failure again and again and again and again… whilst striving to get back to “normal.”
Example? I tried a phased return to work during year 1 of recovery and did not really want to admit that I was no longer up to it. I have then, quite rightly, been signed off work for the whole of year 2. I’m now starting a year 3 without work.
It’s hard but accurate to say that health issues have resulted in some permanent unwanted changes. I have to learn a new normal.
This example is just one in a journey endlessly going around in circles. At first you gain false hope that you are going to get there, but at each failure the realism and reality of my position gets re-embedded. Hope v Reality. Hope 0 Reality 1. Down I go, again.
My family have suffered greatly from my undulating condition. They have had to live with it, just as I have. But they do so by choice out of love. I am so blessed. They tell me in their own way that I am not just going around in circles but gradually improving over time. Great progress since the beginning.
I genuinely don’t always see this, being far too focussed on my present situation. However, it’s like travelling on a Helter Skelter slide, but instead of effortlessly going down and in one direction, I’m working hard, almost against nature itself, travelling round and round to get back to the top, instead of sliding down again.
Months come around repetitively but each year is different. My family remind me of where I have been in order to highlight the immense progress that has been made overall. I genuinely forget this during the pain of failure in my looping. But now it’s Hope 2 Reality 1.
The circle has been a religious symbol for many for years. It has no beginning or end. They look like one of the many stars in the vastness of space. Circles can also be used to represent God’s love, the infinity of our Alpha and Omega. It sounds small and trite to say, but that makes it no less real; God is everywhere during our difficulties.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth…” (Isaiah 40:21)
Have I remained focussed on His presence? My place in His family.
“Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:34-35)
I write this the day after a bad experience, though not a medical one, and before the expected new restrictions resulting from the reality of the Covid “second wave” due to be announced later today. Some locations have already felt the impact of second wave restrictions. Life is different and difficult for so many. We are all in a new normal. It’s hard, really hard. The old normal may have gone forever.
However, it is worth remembering our one big circuit of life. In the words of T S Elliot ‘Little Gidding’ Number 4 of Four Quartets:
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
My reality now. God has remained my constant and consistent source of hope for the future. Hope is still winning.