Lemonade Life

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What Church Taught Me About Diabetes

Today's sermon was on the Sabbath. The Sabbath is the seventh day during God's creation of the universe when He rested. He worked six days creating light and dark, heaven and earth, people and animals and everything in between. And then He stopped.

My pastor, Pastor Rick, talked about how in life, we don't ever stop. Ever. Sometimes we pretend to stop, but we really don't. We're always working on something or thinking about working on something or preparing to work on something. We don't stop until we plug ourselves into sleep, like a cell phone charging. Always on, and then charging. Pastor Rick said that we are like the hum of a computer. We just keep going. There is no rhythm of six days and then one day. It's just a constant seven until we finally crash into a wall where God (or the Universal Force, if that's what you want to call it) says, "STOP!"

Pastor Rick talked about how we always work because that's how we define ourselves. We work all the time without stopping, because if we stopped working, we lose our sense of self-definition. He said that when men meet each other for the first time, they won't say, "Who are you, deep down in the core of your being?"

They will say, "What do you do?"

At all times we are attached to our computers, checking for the newest email so we can immediately reply so we can feel like we've accomplished something. Or we always have our cell phones turned on because we don't want to miss anything. We are always connected and turned on, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. We never turn off. We never stop.

Pastor Rick talked about how we try to fit God into our schedule, into the "hum" of our day. We visit the Christian store to buy the "1-minute Bible" or we set aside five minutes for "quiet time." We pray while we drive to work or eat breakfast or tie our children's shoes. Or we just don't pray. Pastor Rick says God doesn't like being fit into the hum because that's not how He created us. He created us to have a rhythm. An ebb and flow. An up and down. A speed and a stop. That's what He did, and that's what He wants us to do too.

So you're probably wondering what on earth this has to do with diabetes. There are two things this sermon taught me about diabetes.

The first is that we are not what we do. The anecdote that the first question men always ask "What do you do?", not "Who are you?" really struck me as something that I think PWDs do a lot. Sometimes I think we get so absorbed in the routinization of diabetes that we forget the people we are, or the people we are taking care of. Perhaps not consciously, but subconsciously, we turn ourselves into blood sugar readings and basal rates and bolus ratios and sensitivity factors and we are NONE of those things. Those things just help us to be who we already are.

The second thing that I learned from today is that diabetes goes against God's rhythm and that is why I think it is so damned difficult to live with. Maybe you don't believe in God, or you maybe you believe in a different God, but I think we naturally have a rhythm to our lives. We have night and day. We have the seasons, which our ancestors used to determine when to work the harvest. We have the weekend. We have vacation time. We have these breaks that are built into our lives, but diabetes doesn't have breaks. It's always there. Always going. It is the hum of the computer.

I don't really have an answer for how we can build breaks into our diabetes so we can finally establish a rhythm rather than a hum to our lives, but for me, this gives me a clearer idea of just why having diabetes is so difficult. We have all talked about how it wears on us, how we wish we could have a break. I think the creation of the Sabbath and the fact that we don't get one with diabetes is one of the main reasons it's nightmarish to live with for so long.

Maybe we can figure out a way to create a rhythm to diabetes. I'm open to suggestions and opinions about this. I certainly don't have an answer, but knowing the problem is the first step to finding a solution.

Pray about it.


At November 06, 2006 7:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more.

I'll admit to having trouble stopping. Usually my last thought before bed is what I have to do the next day. Even on semester breaks, I think about the next semester, and what that will bring. Weekends are homework, evenings are errands. I don't stop.

Yet when I was dx'ed, the part that bothered me the most was the continuity of diabetes. I couldn't stand the fact that I would have to deal with it forever. And ever. I would get sick from skipping shots or disconnecting, just to see if I could get in one last day without insulin or blood tests.

And part of what made it harder was that I felt like God didn't have a place in all of it. Not so much that he betrayed me, but more that he just wasn't involved. It was something he let happen, and now it was up to me to deal with it.

Losing that attitude helped a lot.

At November 06, 2006 8:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take a day off a week, usually sunday. I test, but I eat WHATEVER I want, refuse to count calories, and I don't record blood sugars. Does it mean .5 in my a1c? I doubt it, but it gives me one day a week, to LET GO


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