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  • Writer's pictureJeff Conway

Not In The Mood For Change

I think I am tired of transformation, of transforming. I know that I need to continue; the deepest part of my soul longs for more depth, more renewal, more clarity, but the reality is my being just wants stillness, an unchanging.

My physical disorder is not ravaging my body quickly. It is a slow trudge. And the changes are not easily seen day to day by others. For example:

· I love to read, but my glasses do not work for me throughout the day. The numbers seem to change three or four times each day. The muscles in my eyelids no longer function properly. They don’t fully close anymore or blink regularly. I now have plugs in my tear ducts to keep the moisture in place, but it is a sporadic fix. As such, I can only read after waking up from a night’s or a nap’s rest. I get frustrated. I know what you are thinking: I should get audio books. But I love physical books: the feel, the smell, the sound of turning the pages. I’m not ready to change that.

· Another example: My esophagus has lower motility (ability to contract) these days. This is right out of the PLS playbook—even as that is not a confirmed diagnosis—so it was not a surprise. When I eat solid food, it sits in my throat between my Adam’s apple and upper chest. (Adam’s Apple, really? What kind of morbid theological joke is that?) Water doesn’t sit there but a chocolate chip cookie does. Juice doesn’t sit there, neither does a chocolate milkshake (Thank You, God), but cheerios, bananas, and nuts do. And nuts are my “go to” as I try to remember to get healthy food into me.

· A last example: I have been working with the pain management doctors concerning a med change for travel since I have a trip at the end of March and the Camino in June. As we discussed this, the doctors said it would take six to eight weeks to wean off the two meds I was on in order to begin a stronger med for travel. I was glad they’d said it over the phone because I’m sure I rolled my eyes. Why so long? What’s the big deal? Well, I found out. Weaning off the drugs, I got withdrawal symptoms, having been on them for about three years. After six weeks, a friend took me to the lab to make sure the meds were out of my system and, looking up the possible complications of crossing meds, it was like hearing a list from SNL’s Roseanne Roseannadanna: crooked teeth, head bobbing, hair growing on back, bad sense of humor, everything smelling like garlic—no big deal so far—but the list concluded with a coma and death. Okay, I guess it was a big deal. When the results came back, I was not free from the meds. (I need to apologize to my incredible doctors and give them gift certificates to a great restaurant.) Two weeks later (this week), I am now med free and can discuss the best path forward.

Others can’t see what I see, feel the food like I can, or experience the effects of the med changes. I do receive plenty of gracious empathy and care, which I greatly appreciate. I’m just not in the mood for these changes right now.

My life story is not different from anyone else’s. We all have seasons of change and transformation, stability and stagnation. Sometimes we are better equipped to confront our realities than other times. Maybe I’m equipped, maybe not; I’m just not in the mood. I’ve had feelings of depression before; there is no fear in admitting that. But this doesn’t feel like depression. My personality type usually thrives on change and transformation, but I could take some stillness right now, physically and emotionally. (After the past two years of dramatic changes and incredible stagnation in our world, I imagine a number of you can relate to these feelings.)

Yet, God feels very close in this time of not desiring more change. My spiritual practices have not changed. Each morning I wake up, push the button to raise my back, reach over and grab my Bible and prayer book, and begin my day. That I am able to still grab my Bible is not lost on me; many, for many different reasons, are not able. I read. I listen for and to God. I pray. I experience a closeness. God is not far.

God sits with me in my mood to be unchanged. I like that. And as the hands of the clock turn throughout the day, God awakens my soul to a world beyond my selfish desires.

· An example? In the middle of a five-hour nap I was stirred to alertness by the intuition that a dear friend’s father had died. When I was alert enough to remember, I reached over and grabbed my phone to text my friend and saw that I had already received one from him.

· Another example: I have been struggling with a specific relationship. I have spent hours wrestling, listening, and pleading with God about what I needed to do differently; what I need to change while lacking the energy for that transformation. Just before Christmas, God shared a brilliant vision-dream with me. I was in the stands of Judson Junior High School; my junior high school. Everyone in the stands with me, people from different seasons of my life, looked to be in their junior high years and we were all looking toward the basketball court cheering with great joy. It may sound like nonsense to you, but when I became alert, I was smiling. Though the relationship I have been challenged with has nothing to do with Judson Junior High, I knew God was telling me that it was going to be worked out. And joy and peace combined together is a great feeling.

So, I am not in the mood for transformation. I am not in the mood for change right now. But also, God resides alongside and within those feelings. It’s a gift for all of us to know. God is present.

Susan and I will be sharing with you about different aspects of our various relationships: with each other, with those close to us, with the world, and with God. We will also be hearing from others concerning what they experience in relationship. I look forward to the conversations ahead.

It’s late. I need to go to sleep. I need to send this to Susan before I reconsider throwing these thoughts and emotions out in such a raw form. Before I go to sleep, I am wanting to have a nice taste in my mouth. I know there are some gluten-free chocolate cookies in the cupboard. If I eat one there is a chance I won’t be able to fall asleep with the cookie caught in my throat. I should probably just brush my teeth.

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll change my mind.

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תגובה אחת

21 בפבר׳ 2022

Jeff, As I read your posts, I cannot help but reflect on my husband's perspective as he walked through cancer. Life is HARD. I love and appreciate your transparency. Chuck was like that too, but it was his faith and his hope in Jesus that got us both through. I pray for you and your journey every time I read your posts. You've got this my friend. PS How about chocolate chip ice cream?

In His Grip, Mary Lucas (Sandy's friend)

From his blog Layman's View of the Bible. He also did a Facebook Live every week, not certain if you ever were able to listen or read. You and Chuck would have good friends.

Antcipating My Death (Hushed whisper: Wait…


About Jeff


I've always been a fish out of water (and I love fish). From being an artist in a sports family, to a Christian who leans into the mystery of God while still trained in a Word-centered mainline tradition, and now a person in a wheelchair amongst able-bodied hikers, my life has perpetually been outside the box (or bowl). 

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