Bouncing Back – Playing Catch Up, III (173-174/365)

I hope you didn’t think I abandoned my promise to post a thousand words a day. I understand that I’ve developed quite the backlog… and today, well, I intend to start keeping my backlog from getting any worse than it is.

I was already on a backlog as it was, starting, what, a little past June 20? Things only got worse since then. I made the blunder of working out a little too hard on June 24, a Friday. It’s funny because at the time I didn’t think there was anything extreme about my regimen – I mean, if I recall, I started off with my usual 20 or so minutes on the heavy bag to get things warmed up. Granted, I topped this session off with the heaviest weights I could have on two sets of dumbbells – I arranged the plates so I had a pair of 25lb dumbbells, and another heavier pair of 40lb dumbbells. I wanted to go hard… if I remember I was doing shoulder presses and then heavy rows.

Okay, well, now that I’m writing about it, it does sound a little extreme, or rather, a little more brutal than usual. I didn’t think it was enough for a Friday, so after I felt all rested I decided to go all out on the jumping rope, clearing at least a thousand hops, with wall walks (handstand practice) in between 25×4 jump rope hop intervals. Now that I’m recalling all this it seems as if a major mistake I made was that I didn’t intentionally wipe off my sweat in between sessions, and I let it all just dry on my skin. I don’t necessarily recall feeling anything bad that Friday night…

But the next morning, after a morning of playing non-stop on the laptop, that’s when I felt everything go down. All the exhaustion just switched on, and I thought I’d be feeling better while I was in bed, but things got worse as the morning turned into the afternoon. I was feeling an extreme headache – the pain seemed to be in the center of my brain, and no efforts to try to ‘touch’ the pain by way of pressing an ice compress anywhere around my head worked. I tried pressing the damn thing against my eyes, on top of my head, at the back of my neck, etc., to no avail.

On top of the headache, I was feeling solid feverish. I’d feel hot, so I’d be out of the blanket, but soon as I felt cool, it also started feeling cold, so I had to shift from going in and out of the blanket. It didn’t help that my body – my legs, to be precise – ached really bad too, like throbbing bad. God bless my Mom because she was around to use the magnetic massager on me, which provided at least minimal relief from all that I was feeling.

I was supposed to be out that Saturday to do my usual visiting of my team and hanging out with them after they practiced for the church service they’d be singing in the next day.. But alas, I did not hesitate to tell them that I couldn’t make it out. It seriously felt like my resistance had gone so low that any remnants of the dengue fever that I had earlier this year had showed its ugly head to torment me again.

The feelings, the pain was pretty similar to how it was the last time I felt this sick. So I thought I really was dengue, and I proceeded to treat myself that way, placing particular hope on the extract of papaya leaves, noting that I immediately felt better after taking it the last time. Through the days of my recovery I found out that the leaf extract wasn’t helping me as much, which led me to think that this wasn’t actually dengue, but really just exhaustion.

It was around the third or fourth day of discomfort that I really started feeling frustrated. I felt as if my healing was going so slowly and I did take some time to shout – literally, shout – out in prayer to my God, asking Him to just take this pain away already. I mean, the pain itself was ‘okay’, but what really pissed me off was that I didn’t have the right sleep – I didn’t have a decent night to rest for days, and that’s really what got to me.

I went through a lot of medications and treatments. I tried taking Biogesic, and when the pain subsided and when I realized I was taking them a little too often, with much shorter times in between each dose, I went for the final couple of Dolfenal pills in storage, which helped a great deal… Someone suggested Bioflu, so we had a courier buy some pills from the nearby pharmacy, and while it helped, I was still feeling frustrated that it was taking too damn long.

At one point we ran out of oral rehydration salts, but at this time (which was, what, five to six days after the initial wave of pain) I was able to function a little better, so I drove myself to the pharmacy, bought the salts, and also asked the lady at the counter if she had anything for fever, to which she suggested Medicol. So I was already marinated in paracetamol, and now I was going to give ibuprofen a shot. It helped me – I mean, I did feel the fever go away, at the cost of my bedsheets getting soaked in sweat – but it was certainly an improvement.

All this time I held back on having any sort of checkup. Why? Well, I didn’t want a repeat of last time, when I went to the hospital – they took my symptoms and forced me to have a swab test. It came out negative, sure, but I didn’t think I needed the added aggravation of being told I had that virus without actually having it, on account of a possibly faulty analysis of some cotton scrubbing the insides of my nose.

And I still haven’t had a checkup. I’m thinking I had something in the blood. I still feel some traces of fever and light headedness. I’m still a little pissed because I still wake up in the early morning to go and pee. And I get up at around 6 in the morning, and I have trouble going back to sleep.

But here’s where I am now, and well, I’m at least thankful that things are better to a point that I’m actually wanting to share all of this by way of writing again. I’ve healed enough to write again, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Do I have anything inspiring to share? Do I have some wisdom from God to bring into light? You know, if I’m being really honest, I don’t think I do. I don’t have any sort of mind-blasting revelations that come into mind while I went through this whole ordeal. In fact, I was pretty frustrated by how I’ve been taken down this easily, and it wasn’t helping that it took so long for me to bounce back… and mind you, I’m still bouncing back.

I can go as far as what I shared in these past couple of Sundays that I was preaching while I was feeling sick and recovering.

On June 25, I was still feeling the brunt of the pain, but it did help that I was outside, so I was more or less still able to function, and not only function, but actually preach. I’m not sure I made any sense but I believe I delivered on my desire to wrap things up – it was the final Sunday of June, and it was the final Sunday of the second quarter of 2022, so I thought I’d give an overview of all the grace we’ve been talking about ever since the beginning of April.

In a nutshell we talked about how the grace of God is so overwhelming that it caused the multitudes to gather around Christ on the events we celebrate in Palm Sunday. It’s so overwhelming that we remember it was grace that led Christ on a path which ultimately led to His death, and then His resurrection… We saw how the grace of God was what drove Christ all this time unto His resurrection and ascension, and it was this completed work that propels us also to operate in the same mindset of grace.

This isn’t turning out to be the ‘nutshell’ I planned.

We talked about how the grace of God is overwhelming – not merely theoretical, but a tactical grace so applied in our lives that we are able to be decisive when needed. We understand how this grace He had is not for a selected, chosen people but for anyone and everyone who would believe – it was and is a grace for all, leaving us looking at anyone and everyone just as lovingly, regardless of race, social status, experience, and so on and so forth. We see how this grace is seen in our mothers, and then our fathers as well. We celebrated independence as a sovereign Philippines, and we also saw how grace has set us free of what really would bind any of us.

Just as we talked about how overwhelming love is – the Love of God, that is – in the first quarter of the year, so we took time to understand and take in how overwhelming God’s grace is in this second quarter of 2022.

Last Sunday I still wasn’t in top form… but I did have a good time at the pulpit, nevertheless. It was a buzzer-beater of a consideration, to lead up to reading Psalm 3 as my guide, on the first Sunday of July. I started off by telling everyone within the sound of my voice that I wasn’t necessarily in high spirits, and I wasn’t using my full potential. I was still recovering from the consequences of my own decisions, and I was frustrated that it was taking long, sure, but I was now thankful that I was approaching the tail end of all this nonsense.

I remember sharing things from the songs my team sang – that one line, in particular, which so beautifully points out that God is ‘unashamed to call us His own’. I took that time to tell myself and everyone who was listening that while we were dwelling on our past and making ourselves suffer for our own mistakes, and while we were beating ourselves up and condemning ourselves for all our cringe moments that come to mind, here we still had the Creator of the Universe, who, by Christ and His finished work, not only chooses to NOT condemn us, but He reminds us that He is NOT ashamed of us.

I remember pulling up the story of David, and how his one mistake with Bath-Sheba not only sealed the fate of their first child, but also brought upon unimaginable pain upon the house and family of David… culminating in their issue with Absalom, his own son.

All this buildup was only to say that David wrote Psalm 3 while he was running away from Absalom. And that’s what I wanted to tell myself and everyone last Sunday – that we may not see any progression towards improvement, but more towards the contrary. We may see things getting worse, but it is in these moments that we certainly see how unfailing God is towards us, and how His faithfulness is what stands and stands firm, in spite of how great our consequences may be.

We don’t need to feel His love to know how we are loved. Nor do we need to see His grace to know that it is there. What holds us in these times where things don’t go our way, even in these times that the disappointment is of our own doing… it’s no less than peace. Strategic Peace, the focus for this third quarter of the year.

And in my babbling, apparently I let out how the peace that we have is no different from the love and grace we have from God – It is a living Peace. Christ did not just give us Peace… He Himself IS our Peace, and our Prince of Peace. And whether the turmoil comes to us suddenly, or draws out ever so slowly and ever so painfully… we know that the Peace we have with Christ is far greater than the pain.

This peace is greater than the pain.

The pain would have us rattled, but it’s the peace that holds us together.

It’s a peace that has me playing catch-up. No stress. No pressure. Just letting it all out.

God bless us all.

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