Be praised for all Your tenderness
By these works of Your hands
Suns that rise and rains that fall to bless
And bring to life Your land
Look down upon this winter wheat
And be glad that You have made
Blue for the sky and the color green
That fills these fields with praise
“The Color Green.” Rich Mullins.
A Liturgy, A Legacy & A Ragamuffin Band. 1993.
Tag Archives: praise
[Adj: Not orchestrated; unarranged or off the cuff]
I would venture to say that if I wrote this blog a few weeks ago then it would have had an entirely different perspective. I would have quoted to you lines from the Grinch: “Oh the noise, noise, noise, noise, noise. There’s one thing I hate, all the noise, noise, noise, noise!” Or my favorite Finding Nemo: “Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.” The seagulls only ever quote one word the entire movie; must not have been difficult to learn their lines. Nigel, the pelican, is about to gulp down his breakfast. Annoyed at the seagulls, he turns and states in blunt authority: “Would you just shut up?”
When my hearing first started the extra editions of obnoxious noises and rhythmic patterns in my head, I had to force myself to find humor to keep myself from tears in most conversations. These two quotes above are most often what I thought. It was and is probably not very obvious to anyone (except to my family) that I am struggling to hear, most often past the extra noise. I put my emotions in the incognito, like the Penguins of Madagascar’s secret tunnel digging at the zoo: and I feel I hide the emotions well, until I can no longer conceal it.
Communication. Hearing. Deafness. My thoughts seem to be consumed most often about these words, their meaning in my life and how to handle them. I first started hearing a high-pitched ring in my ears in the eighth grade. I grew to ignore it; it really did not distract me or play any significance to my communication even when wearing hearing aids. I don’t think I ever really thought much about the ringing, unless it was louder than usual–in event I had a headache or something. Fast forward ten years and things started to change soon after we returned from our spring break vacation. I noticed two different rings. They both had different pitches and instead of just a constant steady ring, they made patterns almost like a broken record. This is where my first annoyance started. And I thought of the Grinch. I thought of Nigel.
NF2 is a disease where you often feel complete isolation in dealing with the different side effects caused by the tumors; but what I should know or realize by now is that I am not alone. Maybe there are a few extremes, like my sweet-smelling aroma–which I still smell!!! But the ringing in the ears, also called tinnitus, is common among other people with NF2. However, before I knew this, I finally had the courage to ask my friend–who also has NF2–if she had ringing in her ears. In our discussion about the different noises we hear, we both described them in terms of musical instruments or notes–which I thought was fun. And then I realized it is yet another area in my journey with NF2 where suddenly I am no longer isolated…after all these years of thinking that I was the only one who heard excess noise in my head! Suddenly, my perspective started to diverge.
There is no “on” or “off” button; I will live with these noises my whole life. I walked in the kitchen last week and declared, “I am nearing Deafness; yet I will never sit in silence.” As many days as there are of complete frustration in trying to communicate, even just with my family, there are other days like today where I hear the noise but it is tolerable. Maybe it is because last night I sat out on the patio and waited for Muffy to finish his midnight snack. I thought to myself about all the noises and patterns in my head, simultaneously playing their rhythms. It sounds like a 5th grade band; it sounds unorchestrated.
Then I laughed at the thought: “I wonder if any of the famous composers ever felt this way?” Hearing all the noises of the orchestra in their heads while compiling their notes together to become one masterpiece. How did they do it? I thought of Beethoven. His deafness never stopped him from becoming a world-famous composer. I can’t destroy pianos like he did, but in waking up this morning, I realized that the piano is one sound and melody in my head that I hear. The tinnitus is changing; last week it was the sounds of trumpets, electric guitars, an accordion, and clarinets (which were most annoying–sounded like someone was just blowing air in the horn and wiggling their fingers back and forth between two notes.) This week, I still hear the clarinets (though not as loud) and the accordian…but today I hear a regular piano. It has been like listening to a “rest and relax” cd you find at stores even though it sounds more like a child just sitting down and playing random keys up and down the piano. But it is a piano. It is almost refreshing.
Who knows–maybe tomorrow it will not be so refreshing; maybe I will hear something new or maybe not. These past few weeks have taught me about embracing change once again. So today I concluded that even though this may not be the “music” I am accustomed to hearing, it is music and I can praise God for the noise–even the clarinets.
Praise Him with the blast of trumpets high into the heavens,
and praise Him with harps and lyres
and the rhythm of the tambourines skillfully played by those who love and fear the Eternal.
Praise Him with singing and dancing;
praise Him with flutes and strings of all kinds!
Praise Him with crashing cymbals,
loud clashing cymbals!
No one should be left out;
Let every man and every beast—
every creature that has the breath of the Lord—praise the Eternal!
Praise the Eternal!
Psalm 150:3-6 (The Voice Translation)
Dr. Suess. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Random House, 1957.
Finding Nemo. Disney Pixar. 2003.
Today ended up being my last session of Physical Therapy. I was not anticipating this at all since I was scheduled two more sessions next week. I feel as if I “graduated,” and now I get to go forth and onward in life taking the new stretches and exercises I learned and hope to maintain what I have started to build in terms of healthier muscles. I think my eight sessions of PT also caused me to be more aware of the little daily tasks in life that I have come to see cause neck pain or bad posture.
For example, I don’t wear much make-up; but after starting PT, I noticed that bending over the counter to apply my eye liner, shadow, and mascara caused pain to appear in my neck from the position of bending in and straining forward to be close to the mirror. I ventured to Target one afternoon and found myself a nice square mirror with a handle on the top and brought it home. I already have an over-the-door hook for my bathrobe, so I moved my robe to a different hook and placed my mirror over the door instead. Brilliant. Best five dollars spent in the month of March! One side note though, the hook is not that low, so when I apply my eye make-up…my nose is what I first see in the mirror. Good thing it is not any higher or I would need a stepping stool!
Since this morning brought unexpected good news, I–in excitement–decided to celebrate in the best way possible. I grabbed Taco Bell for lunch then headed to Wal Mart to buy an exercise mat so my twice-a-day PT routines can be more enjoyable rather than just the hard floor. I wish I had a mat down the other morning as I took a “trust fall” to the ground.
“Trust fall.” I am sure you have heard of the term. It was the part of church camp obstacle courses I did not like. It was not in part of trusting the person behind me…it was trusting myself just to fly backwards. I just never could with grace or ease until Tuesday morning as I tripped over my own feet and pajama bottoms as I got out of bed. It sent me flying backwards, trust fall fashion, until my head snapped off the ground and I just lay flat. Not the best way to start your day, but all I suffered was a minor headache during the day.
Until yesterday. I woke up thinking to myself, “I have the worst swollen glands!” It took a few morning hours at the coffee shop to realize that it was not swollen glands. My entire bottom neck by my collar-bone just throbbed; I finally figured that it was major whiplash from my fall–it is more like a pulled muscle. I was fine during the day for the most part; but towards the early afternoon and evening, the bad posture and sticking out my neck due to the throbbing front portion of my neck caused the intense pain to start in the back of my neck. Of course, I could have done a bit more relaxing during the day, but I had this drive to organize my file box. After a few loads of paper trash, three times emptying my shredder and frequent “lay down on the bed to give my neck some relief” times–my file box had a complete make-over. It felt grand.
I got in bed for the night and placed my heating pack on my neck. I started to think of what to say to my PTA about my Tuesday’s fall; I already had to tell her two weeks ago about another fall I took on the wood floor in the hallway–note to self: Mel wears shoes in the house at all times…not sock feet!! Or just now, I go in my room and miss the light switch, take a step forward in the dark and fall into my closet–note to self: Mel leaves a small lamp on in her room once it gets dark outside. PT has trained my mind to become more aware of these problems; it is just that I do not think of these problems or solutions until they occur. 😉
Anyway, it did not take me long to fall asleep last night and before you know it, I was up an hour before my alarm was set to go off. I decided to use the extra time to read. I love morning readings. My mind seems so open, though my left eye would not stop twitching today. I am currently reading David Crowder’s book, Praise Habits: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi. This morning I was reading his chapter on Psalm 8, in which he rewrites the Psalm in his own words in form of worship. This paragraph seemed to gratify my thoughts:
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?*
I fell asleep last night after a day of what I consider macroscopic pain! I woke up this morning with only the usual morning stiffness that went away after I started moving around and getting breakfast. Yesterday I did not do any of my PT exercises or stretches; today I did them all (minus a few neck routines.) I went all day with no pain like yesterday.
I feel microscopic; I examine my thoughts and stand in wonder (awe) that God would heal this pain so quickly–that today was not a day of pain, but of celebration and fellowship. It leaves me singing as the Psalmist, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (8:1)
*Crowder, David. Praise Habits: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2004. Pg. 49.