After sobbing for 20 minutes, these were the only words that I could say
to express the way I was feeling. Broken. I knew it was a lie, yet it
was how I was feeling at the moment. My wife, so wonderful through my
long struggle with a head injury, continued to speak affirming words and
prayed with me before we ended our phone call.
The day started off innocent enough, just going through the normal
motions and doing my job. What precipitated this emotional upheaval was
looking back. It has been 2 years since my 6th and most significant
concussion. After 18 months I finally felt like I was getting back to
my “normal” self. I was finally implementing all the tools I had been
learning at the Brain Injury Association and had found a medicine that
relieved some of my lingering post-concussion symptoms. I had a good
month and then, bang, concussion # 7 arrived.
Discouraged, emotional, tired, frustrated and sad would be just a few of
the words I would use to describe the way I felt afterwards. I thought
I was finally hitting a stride, only to stumble and falter as I
continued the race of recovery. I made the mistake in the midst of this
emotional upheaval of looking back at things I had written and done
last year. Where I thought I was doing well, I realize now I was not
nearly as “recovered” as I had assumed. I more “maintained” than
anything else at work. I made mistakes, simple mistakes that I should
have caught, and began beating myself up.
As I returned to work, the Lord reminded me of a prayer I prayed a few
years back. I had been studying the passage of Scripture where Jacob
wrestles with the Lord. (Gen. 32:22-32) He came away with a blessing and
a limp. I prayed that the Lord would take me deeper, whatever the cost
and make me more dependent on Him. Shortly after that, I acquired
concussion 6 and then 7. I have spent the last 2 years learning to cope
and accept what has happened to me. I saw the blessings in my
situation. Sarah and I had many a conversation about how God has used
these concussions to change me for the better in my walk with Him and my
relationships with others. I have become more contemplative,
reflective and still, listening in ways I never have before. I have
found a heart of compassion for those suffering with head injuries and
mental health issues.
In all of that I have been blessed….but until recently, I ignored the
limp. I knew it was there but I never really “grieved” over what
happened. I have suffered a loss. I have a “limp” called an acquired
brain injury. It hit me recently that I will, barring a healing from
God, never be the same again. Yet in that grief, I also see how I can
do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13) Despite
the loss, I am still a new creation in Christ Jesus. (2 Cor. 5:17) Yes I
have lost much, but I have gained so much more. I can count all things
as loss (Phil. 3:8) and look to Jesus Christ and Him crucified! (1 Cor.
2:2) I am honestly not ready to “rejoice” in my situation but I am
ready to acknowledge God is still using, leading and guiding me.
Darkness may last for a night but there truly is joy in the morning.
Night is ending and I see the cracks of dawn.
For now, I can rejoice in that.
I am both a US Citizen and a Permanent Resident of Canada.
I love my country of birth and my country of current residence. My family celebrates both the US and Canadian holidays. Though I am proud to be an American, because my wife and kids were born in Canada, I will likely one day seek dual citizenship.
We have just celebrated Canada Day and the 4th of July and as these patriotic holidays pass, I am reminded that this is my temporary home. I am not talking about where my earthly citizenship resides but where my eternal citizenship is registered.
“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 3:18-20)
I am a citizen of 2 worlds. The one I live on in the here and now and the one to come. Jesus spoke of this second world leading up to His crucifixion.
John 18:36, “Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
I am proud to be an American but I am prouder still that my name is written in the Book of Life. I am filled with joy to live in Canada but will have joy never-ending the day I enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. One day this life will pass and my eternal life will begin. On that day, I will gladly exchange my citizenship on earth for the one that will not end. I look forward to spending eternity with Jesus Christ.
Everything else pales in comparison.