The clinical diagnosis was as foreign to me as my symptoms—brain fatigue syndrome? BFS?!
“What will they come up with next,” I complained to my husband during supper, my trembling hands attempting to pass him the mashed potatoes.
“Jules, I told you to back off from your computer games this year. Spending all that time in one position just isn’t healthy. Seems the doctor agrees with me. What medication did he give you for that tic at the side of your mouth?”
“That’s just it! He wouldn’t give me ANYTHING for it!”
“You went to Dr. Fielding and he saw your physical problems and he did NOTHING to help you?”
“Well, not exactly NOTHING, I guess. He showed me some deep breathing exercises and gave a lot of worthless advice.”
“He wants me to eliminate all electronic and media from my diet for two weeks! I couldn’t believe it—in this day and age that would be impossible,” my pocketed cell phone blaring out ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’, the ringtone for a text from our daughter.
Charlie gently removed my nervous fingertips from the worn, miniscule keyboard.
“Honey, why don’t you try? He just might be right. Just send an e-mail out tonight to all your friends and family, informing them that the doctor has ordered complete rest with two weeks of withdrawal therapy.”
After another restless sleep-deprived night, I reluctantly decided it was worth a shot. But with no texting, no computer games, no e-mail or television or radio or music, I was rather at a loss to know what to do with myself. Dr. Fielding had specifically and emphatically said I needed complete rest and no work was allowed. I wandered aimlessly around the house, restless and bored. The television winked at me, the computer lights blinked at me, and, to top it all off, a text message lit up my cell phone, half-hidden behind the bills laying on the dining room table.
“Please, God, I need something to relax me,” realizing that cup of morning coffee only made me more jittery.
A flash of sunlight caught my attention then, luring me in front of a window I seldom looked out of that faced our thorny and scraggly backyard. Another splash of sun glanced across something out there, and, like a glint from a western movie outlaw’s signal, it beckoned me.
“Of course! Why didn’t I think of it before?" our weather-beaten, rickety and long-neglected gazebo clear back at the property line, it’s glass-prismed bell-tower spire still glimmering.
Memories washed over me as I played a panorama of scenes across my jangled nerves, drawing me into yesterdays of lazier times when I had visited the dwelling on a daily basis. Grabbing a damp rag, I scurried out to investigate, my normal electronic entertainment sources forgotten.
A red cardinal glided across the wild lilac bush brushing against the gazebo screen door, frightening a beautiful yellow butterfly as I entered. Dry leaves caught in between the ceiling rafters reminded me of previous Fall afternoons here as I swiped the bench with my cloth.
“I used to spend HOURS out here!” wondering that I had ever stopped.
I sat down, closing my eyes, taking deep breaths of the nature-perfumed air. I tried to identify each smell, each bird chirp, each breeze-induced nuance, a small child’s awakening to the wonderment of nature. Slowly, my body relaxed and a gentle smile released my furrowed brow and tense muscles. Opening my eyes with a sigh like a cat’s contented purr, I spied my grandmother’s Bible peeking from beneath her hand-crocheted doily on the corner nook beside me.
“I wondered what happened to you,” I murmured, shaking the cover and blowing the dust from the old Bible’s open pages. Drawn to the words like a dog to a bone, I read the underlined passage, titled ‘Psalm 23—A psalm of David:
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul. . .’
That was the beginning of a new awakening in my reconnecting soul as I, like in the days of old, spent time in my sanctuary of sorts, a haven of rest. Balance was what had been missing in my life, and therefore, like a concerned parent’s discipline, I have set boundaries of time management that keep the electronic age from stifling my soul.
. . . He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.’
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