Last week I went into an eye surgeon for a consultation. I have a cyst in the corner of each of my eyes. It doesn’t hurt, and isn’t even very obvious, but it bugs me. They needed to check to see if removing the cysts will interfere with my tear ducts. Apparently the way they learn this is by taking a syringe full of water and a rounded needle-type object on it, sticking it into your tear duct, moving it around in a giant circle, and then squirting water into the duct until you feel it running down the back of your throat. Repeat for other eye.
I don’t know about you, but when someone approaches my eye with a syringe, I start feeling pretty anxious. 🙂 But having MS for twenty years has allowed/forced me to have quite a few “procedures,” some of them so awful that I wouldn’t care to put them in print. Through hours of sitting in doctors’ offices, waiting for phone calls about test results, and having awkward, frustrating, embarrassing, and sometimes excruciating tests performed, I now know the truth about myself. I am a machine.
There is nothing I cannot, and will not, handle. As the syringe came closer to my left eye, I realized this even before the “needle” was in the duct. As uncomfortable as it was, I remembered that I have been through much, much worse and, remembering this, relaxed and thought to myself “Bring it on.” Pain hurts, but pain isn’t the end of the world. Pain won’t keep me from loving my family or being loved by them. Even the most intense suffering will not stop me from knowing God, from loving my friends, and especially not from having shocking and funny stories to tell about it when it’s over. And if I can take the pain, I can certainly handle the awkwardness, discomfort, frustration, and anxiety that often comes with it. Bring it on.
I have friends twice my age who have been “blessed” with good health, but every time they have to get even the smallest test or procedure done, they are riddled with fear. Their world stops until they know they are okay. I’m not saying I like waiting for doctors to call. I don’t. But bring it on. I’ll get my diagnosis, and my life will continue. It may be lower quality than before, it may be shorter than before, it may be in one location rather than another, but it will keep going all the way — well, all the way until it ends. Bring it on.
I am a machine. So are you. And whether you find out that you have MS, pink eye, cancer, or heart disease; whether you have to have an MRI, a spinal tap, water squirted into your tear ducts, or a week of antibiotics, your life will keep on going. The only question is in what way. You will either be cowed by fear, intimidated forever by the men and women in white coats, or you will live with the confidence that your life will NEVER end until it ends. Like my brother says, “If it isn’t your time, nothing can kill you.” There’s a lot of truth in that. So bring it on. You, my friend, are a machine. You are unstoppable. Until something stops you.
Now I hate to break this news to you, and I know you probably spend a lot of time trying not to think about it, but your next scary medical test probably isn’t that far away. And whenever it comes, remember these words. You are a machine. God created you to struggle and fight until the glorious end, and that is exactly what you will do. Ask anyone who has had cancer and they will tell you that you are not who you think you are. You are not weak and fearful. You are a machine, fighting for life against EVERY obstacle that will ever be placed in your way, until the day comes when you just can’t fight any more. And then, probably with loved ones at your side, you will still go out fighting. Because that’s how you were made. That’s how much God values life — all of life.
So relax. Accept suffering. Don’t get weird and start to enjoy it, but accept it. 🙂 Once you realize that you are already indestructible in this life, you will have no problem accepting that you will be indestructible in the next one as well. It is not your weakness that you most fear. It is your power. Bring it on.