There’s a smallness.
Well, that’s because you’re 5’1″ Bek.
True. Fair. I digress.
A smallness not only in stature but in temptation to attach feeling small to worthiness small. There’s a difference. Like wow I feel humbled down to my core small or I am small and therefore, worthless.
When people ask how we’re doing, our response remains: We’re still looking. Bry is working 6 days a week; 2 jobs. I’m writing and coaching. We’re both applying like mad. Money is tight. Our family has never been closer. We love being in TN. We’re trusting one day at a time. — shift the subject — How.are.YOU?
We’ve joined a large demographic of self-employed souls who opt for health insurance alternatives, where prescriptions are discounted. This track is new to us, while old hat to many.
Almost two years ago I had symptoms- scary symptoms -that led from being passed to an urgent care doctor, to my primary, to a urologist where they discovered a ginormous tumor growing near my bladder, to which the specialist who had been practicing for 36 years said, “In all my years I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Well, thank you, Doc. I was going for the special card.
Thankfully, a biopsy showed the tumor was benign and after surgeries, the darn sucker, which I affectionately named Umi, is no longer with us. Instructions to get an MRI every 6 months were ordered.
And then we moved across country, trusting when the six month mark arrived, we’d have full time jobs and health insurance and consistent (ha!) schedules.
The MRI was put on the back burner.
Until the last few weeks when I could no longer ignore the dull pain and electric spasms, similar to when Umi was discovered.
Shame wants to keep us quiet, to drown us in her black tar, a silent abyss. She sneers, Now look, you’re scared, aren’t you? Your kidneys feel funky, huh? How you going to pay for that? Don’t you feel dumb? Then she flings out the list and goes through the tunnel of how our situation is just so unfortunate. Funny how shame resembles Yzma in Emperors New Groove; slinky and villainous.
So to the doctor I went.
To advocate, once again, for my health.
Does the top of the chart scream our current situation in neon marker? The nurse, does she smile syruply down her nose at my beanie-donned noggin and assume I just fell off the turnip truck? Does she think I came to Nashville to pursue stardom and am naively traipsing through my day? Does she have any idea how hard we are trying? How I laid on the ground with my 9 year old boy yesterday, our cheeks pressed into the worn carpet and together cried, his tears at how much he misses his CA friends and my tears for how much he misses his CA friends? Does she see an oversized teenager, or a mom who feels the hot humility of not having extra in this lean season and therefore needs creative health insurance and discounted prescriptions?
Does she know how long I’ve been putting off this routine MRI to see if that damn tumor, Umi, is growing back since surgery 1 1/2 years ago? Does she know the last thing I want to do is be here, in the doctor’s office, which hints of past surgeries and cancer scares and reminders that my dad died of metastasized kidney cancer, which brings ALLOFTHIS whooshing back like a tornado in my face?
Having little finances is humbling and more humbling.
It’s wisely choosing coffee dates and saying no to dinners out. It’s shame that threatens to tell us our worth is in what we have, own, and create. It’s humbling to think, Did we make a wrong choice somewhere? If we were more talented and hard working would this be our lot? Did I do something to onset a tumor and hinder medical avenues that need to be pursued before it’s too late and I’m back -peeing blood – imagining the fear at how my dad must have felt the first time he noticed the same only to hear months later, ‘You have kidney cancer.’
Here lies the irony:
Small things like pennies and tumors can bring big shame.
Shame of not having enough, of needing help, of admitting a body feels out of whack.
I don’t want to be here. In the small spaces.
I want money to be the farthest thing from our thoughts, insurance nice and comfy and counted on, my body healthy.
But I am where I am and I can be honest, or slap on a smile and say I’m fine.
I’m not. I’m scared and sad and frustrated and mad. I wanted to yell at the lady who called me sweetie that I’m probably older than you and Would you please look in my eyes?
Sometimes we feel small, and underneath feeling small lives a shame bubble.
Shhhh!Shame! Shhhhhhshame!! You’re not invited. You’re not welcome. In a hot second circumstances can change and comfort restored but the shame piece can only be overcome by knowing interior security.
We’re seen. We’re unsmall to God. As my friend Elizabeth says in her soon-to-release book, When God Says Go, “It’s not about me. It’s not about me. It’s not about me.”
He uses the humble, the small, the weak, the sick, the downtrodden, the marginalized, for us to say, ”Watch what my God does. He restores. He breathes life. He provides. He speaks intimately. He meets soul needs. He is always always always with us.”
For today, when shames threaten to burst, I’m believing all this hard, this messy, this emptying is meant to point back to the One who does all things through weakness. Who makes all things new.
And to vicious shame, just shhhhhhhh!
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise- in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – Psalm 56: 3-4