I somehow feel the need to apologize to someone when I am not able. I feel responsible to be healthy, somehow, I suppose, or like it’s somehow my fault when I am stricken with migraines or unable to digest the things people are serving. Logically, I know it’s not true. I don’t control my migraines; they are sudden and unexpected. No matter how many times I’ve had them, no matter how familiar I become with the first warning signs, invariably my first instinct is that “I should be able to work through this.” And I try to, to my own harm — the faster and more decisively you deal with a migraine, the less troublesome it is. The longer you ignore it, the more disastrous it becomes. I know this, but I can’t shake the frustration and guilt that I should not be becoming non-functional.
When it is over, I feel like I have to apologize to people that I had one, or somehow explain that I didn’t mean for it to happen. This makes no sense. I know it makes no sense. No one can chose about having migraines and no one can hold me accountable for bodily malfunctions – and who would that be to hold me accountable anyhow? Still, I find myself by the copier machine, trying to explain to a co-worker what it feels like, how it happens, apologizing for my inability to carry my load the other day.
From a distance, I understand there is no need for this. That is exactly what is so perplexing to me. Why do I feel like it is a lapse in my human duty every time I’m relegated to a dark room? Why do I feel like it is a personal failure of mine that my body cannot be counted upon? And to whom would I apologize to for, who would have authority over, the functioning of my body? The only rational answer would be God, but of all the beings I would feel inclined to be regretful toward — well, it would seem God is the one who most is wanting me to withdraw from activity. He needs no apologies for mine leaving work, or laying in bed for hours. If anything, He wants a turn of heart such that I do that even without being smote with a major brain malfunction.
Am I saying I’m sorry because I feel the burden of not meeting societal expectations? Am I saying sorry because this is not who I want to be – and who do I want to be? Invincible, immortal? I don’t know. Perhaps part of the difficulty of know why is because it is a little bit of a lot of reasons, all blended together. I recognize the guilt and the frustration do me and everyone else no good; there is no benefit to it, nothing accomplished or attended to it by it. So I would like to get rid of it. But the only way to get rid of it is by accepting the infirmity rather than fighting it — and both my heels are dug in hard against that. This, I do not want. But this, it has been given to me. I am pushing it away with both hands; in all honesty, I don’t know what sitting calmly and opening my hands to receive it would even look like.
I am quite certain we cannot only accept the things that we judge to be good. That raging against is rarely – ever? – the called for response. But how do you say, “yes, Lord,” when it is ashes in your mouth, bitterness in your stomach? Acquiescing feels like a statement of complicity, of agreeing, of choosing – but I don’t choose this, and I didn’t think it was a good idea! But is that not what submitting is? Saying, “yes, Lord” for the one and only reason that you believe it is indeed from Him, and that belief alone drives you to accept it, trusting that His judgment and valuation is more right and true than yours, even though you can’t see how? In short, agreeing with His choice?
In the theory, in the abstract, in the vague idea that this should be so — it seems to be true. When the lights begin to shimmer, it becomes difficult to follow simple sentences, and the knowledge that curtain is descending becomes unavoidable — then I don’t know how to actually put that into practice. How do I calmly and trustingly accept that the rest of the day will now be dumped out the window while I lay in silence and wait for it to pass? The theory is there, but the practice is confounding.
Right now, for the time being, it is only tremulous yes at best.