Epiphany 2
Epiphany 3


           As many of you know one of my challenges is setting appropriate boundaries for my time and energy.  It is so hard for me to balance "taking care of myself" and taking care of others.  I have prayed for healing in his area for a long time. My tendency to do too much for others and burn myself out is deep seated and may even be genetic.  My mother before me did the same thing and so did her mother before her. 

            One day recently I was in the midst of preparing holiday dinner for 16 family members and I was "taking care of myself" by going to the therapy pool for my arthritis.  That day, Jean was at the pool.  Jean has known me and loved me for 30+ years.  She told me:  "Normale I think this year you are going to get the award for most improved boundary setter"   

            There is a thin line between being happy and proud of myself and being arrogant.  When Jean said that, I was so happy and proud of myself.  I was just about to step over the line into arrogance when I started to get this strong knowing that I needed to stop by the Nursing Home and visit Jan on the way home from arthritis swim class.

            One of my yearly recommitment commitments for the last couple years has been "to allow God to use me without consulting me".  Since I am over scheduled most of my life, it is almost always inconvenient when God is "using me without consulting me".  It is only in the last few weeks since I have lived into my boundary setting healing more that it has occurred to me that if I am going to make this commitment yearly, it would be a sign of healing for me to leave some space in my life for God to use me without consulting me.  Keeping a life schedule as tight as mine is counter-productive to God using me without consulting me and it is counterproductive to me learning to set appropriate boundaries and take care of myself better.
            When I asked God to heal me so I could set more appropriate boundaries, I had a very definite idea of what "setting appropriate boundaries" looks like.  I had a clear vision of how I will be different when I am healed.  I had just visited Jan the day before and so my vision of "taking care of myself better" definitely did not include an unscheduled stop to visit Jan the day before my big dinner party.  A little voice inside of me was saying "Jean just gave you a at-a-girl for your improved boundary setting .. you can't just live into that and be happy … no-o-o …. you have to rush off to visit Jan… get thee hence Satan … you can't pull me back into my old ways....  Then there was this other voice in my head:  "Is this God using you without consulting you?... no God would not ask you to fit yet another thing into this day".
            And so it went back and forth… Was it my sickness of doing too much for too many calling me to visit Jan or was it God trying "use me without consulting me"?  I just could not shake that feeling.  I had to go see Jan. 
            The bottom line is, when I arrived, Jan's situation was desperate.  She had been moved to a new room, dumped there and forgotten with no telephone to call for help until I arrived.   When I arrived at the nursing home, I was standing on "Holy Ground".  It was one of those moments when God pokes a divine finger through my ordinary life and makes my life extra-ordinary.
            What I learned from that situation was that although it is important to hold a vision of what it will look like when I am healed, I can't be rigid about that vision.  Sometimes the very nature of my disease makes it hard to see what being fully healed looks like.
So thanks to God and community, I have made great progress with my setting appropriate boundaries healing and I realize anew that I cannot do this alone.  My healing is not something that happens and then it is done. 
            As I age there are going to be more and more aspects of my body that will not "heal" if I define healing as having my body completely "normal".  As I age sometimes healing may be about a shift in attitude rather than physical healing.  Maybe healing will be about being grateful for the percentage of my body that does work and figuring out a way to accept with love the percentage of my body that does not work. 
            I can pray for healing and have this rigid vision of how the situation has to change for me to consider myself healed.  If I pray for healing in that way, my healing depends on my opinion of what "healed" looks like.  I may or may not consider myself healed.
            Or I can pray for healing knowing, in faith, that the healing has already begun and that my task is to notice, with gratitude, what healing looks like.  To notice with gratitude what has shifted in me mentally, physically or spiritually, even though I have not healed physically the way I hoped.  
            My healing cannot be blue printed and demanded to be a certain way.  My healing is a process and must have soft edges that join with my connection to the Oneness of God because what "healed" looks like changes in every moment.


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