Today, my plan is to help Hannah study for her Spanish final, order this weeks groceries via Instacart to make chicken tinga in the crockpot. I also need to figure out what to get Hannah for Christmas…. and… rest. I was at the emergency room yesterday for 10 hours. I woke up in so much pain yesterday that I couldn’t even cry. I almost passed out when I stood up because the pain was so bad.
Normally a bad pain day is an 8. We hit 9/9.5 yesterday morning. Blinding.
I didn’t take anything for pain because I decided that I had to go to the ER. I didn’t want to chemically interfere with anything they might do there.
I got there and they told me that there was a 4 hour wait. It was 8 before I saw a doctor. The ER was SO busy. Covid IS surging. The hospital staff is exhausted. You can feel it.
They pumped me full of drugs. I’m not a big fan of pain meds… if you’ve read some of my previous stuff, I am extremely cautious with pain drugs. My father had chronic pain because of sickle cell and he became an addict. Specifically using some of the drugs that I was given last night.
I can see why. I went from agony to not. Matter of fact, from about 8:30pm last night, until I woke up this morning, I was largely out of pain. The pain specifically in my knee didn’t go away… which was interesting to me… the epicenter never quite faded…The cause of it all was still there. I could feel that pain through the barrage of opioids, sedatives, muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories.
But… I slept. For the first time in weeks. Maybe months. I fell asleep on my back (which I normally can’t do) and I slept. From 11pm til about 7:30am this morning where I woke up on my back. I could tell that the pain drugs had worn off by then… but I got to SLEEP. Such a simple, magical, thing…
My anxiety was in check… my body got real rest.
It’s pretty fascinating to think through the different head-spaces here. I won’t become an addict to these drugs because “others” are so important to me. My father was only concerned with himself. He put himself and his needs in front of everyone’s. You know what is pretty interesting…. It seems like addiction is driven by selfishness but… I think it’s actually NOT loving yourself enough. Truly.
If I didn’t have love for myself, I couldn’t truly love my daughter, my family, my friends. I couldn’t truly love others enough to want to be healthy enough to coach them, teach them, guide them through their storms.
My father and his addiction presented as selfishness and I think that a lot of selfish acts came from it. But honestly, it’s very sad to lose so much of yourself to a substance. It’s sad to be in so much physical pain that you find comfort and relief in drugs… until it’s not a comfort or relief anymore. It’s a need. It’s sad. My father was also a sociopath and a narcissist, so… I had a lot to forgive him for… lol.
But for Me. Joel David. I’m giving myself a little more slack today. I’m giving you guys an update about my fight for the last few days… letting you know that I’m exhausted, but I’m resting… and I’m going to share with y’all a post that a wrote a couple years ago. Forgive me for not voice recording this week.
I’ve been a writer for years. I just didn’t really realize it until THIS project. I have to thank you… yeah. YOU. For helping me to realize that. And supporting me… us. Through this project. Even though I’m exhausted… I wanted to make sure I hit this deadline. For you. Thanks for reading… you are contributing to my health and care for myself. It fortifies me. Gives me confidence. Thank you!
Originally written November 2, 2018
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
John 13:13-17 NIV
One of the biggest honors of my life came in a fleeting moment on day 1 of work on our service trip to El Salvador. A moment that could have easily been ignored… an opportunity that could have been passed up… a directive that easily could have been overthought or overlooked.
The first part of the eco-stove build involved mixing “mescala” which is a type of mud that, after spread over the bricks that form the structure of the stove, hardens and dries and forms the heat containing shell of the stove.
Myself and Noel mixed the mud first…. oh yeah… we had to do it with our bare feet. The mescala is made of clay, sand, molasses and water. First there’s a drastic separation of textures… the cold stickiness of the molasses and water… the dry and Dustin was of the clay and sand… rocks… lots of little (or big) rocks. We became experts at mixing it eventually… but the first day, we figured out that each time, our muddy, micro-rock covered feet had to be cleaned before we could put our shoes back on.
It didn’t take me long to realize that we had jumped in the mud without thinking about how to get clean after. I wondered around the back of the residence and figured out how to wash my feet. I stumbled and tripped and didn’t know what water stash to use.. or not use… water is such a precious resource here… you are afraid to use it… or waste it… or mistakenly contaminate by washing your hands in the drinking water. I thought… “It would be so much easier if I just washed her feet for her.” Then I thought, “this could get weird… but I’m going for it.”
Noel found her way to the back of the house and I washed her feet. Toes and all. Back, bottoms and sides. When we were walking away Noel and I realized that we had just had a “Jesus moment”.
On day 2… I washed my teams feet. I knew that I’d have that job each build.
On day 3… I washed my teams feet. It was automatic by then… they knew that when they were out of the mud, I would direct them to a place where I would clean their feet.
On day 4… I washed my teams feet. We finally caught the “Jesus moment” shot on camera! Everything had finally been able to line up perfectly. One person had clean hands… happened to have her camera out… lighting was perfect. Kelsey, from my team, caught the shot.
What a joy. What an honor. To be able to serve people like Jesus. No… literally LIKE Jesus. Jesus did it. Why WOULDN’T I do it? Well… there are a lot of answers for that question. The very first is that I’m a broken mess of a human being… so imperfect and scarred that it’s hard to think about sometimes. I just think it’s absolutely an amazing honor to have the chance for the spirit of service to guid my steps and actions. To have an opportunity to say YES to the calling when you get the nudge.
I cannot WAIT for the next Jesus moment. Actually… if I’m honest.. they appear pretty regularly. The opportunity to show grace and love and mercy is presented relentlessly throughout my life. I don’t always have the epiphany that I had on this day. I don’t always think about how to best serve my fellow man. But I’m trying. And I’m practicing. And I’m begging for God to continue to inspire this spirit in my life. Verse 13 says “You call me “Teacher” and “Lord”, and rightly so, for that is what I am.” That scripture cracks my heart WIDE open… He is GOD on earth and He got on His knees and took the most humble stance available in the day.
After this happened the first time… and it was realized what God had allowed us to participate in (the Jesus moment), we said that we totally had to catch it in a picture and share it. It’s too good not to. While we were talking about it at lunch, one of the other groups heard us talking. By the end of day, stories about others who had washed each other’s feet were beginning to surface. Like I mentioned, by the next day, I had made it my job. Every dirty foot… people I knew, or not. It was a joy. By that night, more stories about “Jesus moments” elsewhere on other builds. By the end… no one washed their own feet.
It was so awesome to experience how one small moment of care, spread like wildfire. Caring for each other is contagious. Serving each other benefits the giver and the receiver. Hearts are softened in those intimate moments shared. Not just for each other, but for humankind.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the message on Sunday was to Say Yes when God nudges you… so often, on Monday morning… the message has worn off and “Joel” wants to come back out to play. Lol. I pray that God continues to set my heart to receive His divine inspiration of service and love to my fellow man. I pray that it’s my first thought… a “Jesus Moment” that flows freely from my being towards all.
I promise to always do my best to model Your example, Teacher. Amén
If the Creator of the universe will take off His robes, get on His knees, and wash feet… you better BELIEVE I’m going to do it. As often as I can. It probably won’t be, literally, washing someone’s feet… it will be fun to see how God hides “Jesus Moments” throughout my daily life back at home.
Hey there! Thank you SO much for being on this journey with me…
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