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29 December 2016

2016: Challenges and Change

Some similarities in facing challenges and experiencing change in fitness and in Christian life.

I've seen this quote several times now. First it was a Pinterest fitness motivation thing. It caught my attention as much because I'm working on learning that pose as anything. I have scoliosis, so balance poses are a particular challenge and this is a very long term project.

Then I think I saw it in my Facebook feed. It came up the other day again, just as I was starting to think about a year-in-review kind of post, which made me think about it in a whole different light.

This has been a tough year. 

The old job decided to make working on the Sabbath mandatory; we quit instead, last January. There were other things going on too, but that was the thing that tore it.

But remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all they work: but the seventh is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work...
-Exodus 20:8-10

We had a go at a business, but market fluctuations following the Brexit forced the Daddy back into a day job. 

We thought for a while we might lose our house, but things stabilized. 

The new day job is an absolute nightmare, and the pay is a lot less, the hours longer, and the physical demands more punishing than the old one.  And the bosses... oi.

Lingering bills from our NICU stay are still complicating our finances; even with insurance, a NICU stay is expensive. 

And now the new job is pondering seven day work weeks: Sunday work.
Which we still. won't. do.

So it's been a challenging year. Now, thanks to this quote, I'm looking for how it's changing me. I'm still not sure what it's doing for me, honestly. Sometimes it's hard to see these things in the fire, in the process. But I think that it's significant that this started out as a fitness quote.

Fitness isn't something that has ever come easily for me. I left school convinced that I couldn't run, couldn't throw, couldn't catch: that's what they taught me in gym class. Turns out it's all a lie; I can do those things: my body is not a lemon. There's reasons why running is so difficult: scoliosis means that my lungs are perpetually squished. Which makes breathing hard when I'm working. Like when I run. And once nobody was mocking my efforts, once there was a little bit of encouragement instead of scorn from teachers and peers alike, turns out throwing and catching are things that I'm merely inexperienced at -- but can learn. Still. I spent a long time thinking that I couldn't, and there's habits and patterns that followed that have to be overcome --and the small matter of healing my spine-- before I can have an athlete's body. It's a long journey; the vast majority of it happens between my ears.

Fitness makes a nice metaphor. I tell my kids that learning is like growing a muscle: you do it, and it gets easier, because the "muscle" grows stronger. There's lots of stuff -most things, actually- that works like that. This year has been growing some muscles for our family. How to work together, how to find a way to keep going. How to lean on the Lord, to trust Him to make good on His promise to make it possible to keep the commandments. That's a pretty good "muscle" to have well-developed.

PS. To see what other homeschool bloggers are saying about their year, stop by:

Homeschool Review Crew Reflecting on 2016


Rozy Lass said...

That quote is a great reminder of the purpose of our coming to experience mortal life. The longer I live the more I realize that we are never free from challenges and tests. It can be very tiring and we want to give in and give up, but the ultimate goal is what can keep us going. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

Linda Sears said...

Sounds like it's been quite a year for you and your family. Thank you for the quote and the encouragement! "Change" and "Challenge" are both difficult for me, I really don't like either one. And my year has been filled with both as well.
Wishing you many blessings in the new year!

BARBIE said...

I've had my fair share of challenges this past year, but they have only made me stronger. Praying 2017 will be filled with an abundance of joy! Blessings!

Cellista said...

Great post! We've had a rough couple of months, and now have some pretty big hospital bills to pay. Not that I'm complaining when I look at how much the insurance paid! Our portion is doable! Do you know what degree of scoliosis you have? I was just writing about Andrew's back surgery on my blog and his lungs would have been squished eventually for sure. I had a couple in my ward who swore a chiropractor could fix his scoliosis, and I've heard yoga helps, but I think he was too far curved to do anything but surgery. We felt it was the right choice anyway. But I was just wondering what degree you have, if you know.

Jalenagraham said...

Your quote is encouraging about challenge, but what really stood out to me is how you stood firm on your commitment to not working the Sabbath as God commands. Not everyone embraces this, and I commend you for standing strong.

Ritsumei said...

Cellista -- I feel ya on not feeling too bad, once you see what the total bill was like! The NICU bills were definitely like that.

I haven't had my curve measured for a long time. It was something like 35 when I finished growing. I wore a brace to sleep in when I was in junior high school.

My husband goes to Japan to study the martial arts once a year, and a couple years ago he met this guy named Paul that's one of the senior students that lives there, and he's also a senior student of yoga -- he used to go to India and study with Mr. Inyengar, before Mr. Inyengar died. When Paul was in India he met a woman who had severe scoliosis - a C curve, but I don't know the degree, only that it was bad enough to be deforming. She'd been in India learning yoga, and after a number of years she'd straightened things out, and it was pretty well gone, as I understand it. Certainly enough that it no longer impacted her quality of life.

My father-in-law was a chiropractor, and when he found out that I had scoliosis, he was unhappy that he had not been able to see me when I was growing: chiropractic can help during the growth period but my husband (who was more or less apprenticed to my FIL for about 10 years) says that once they stop growing, the impact of chiropractic is minimal.

In my case, I was able to get enough information from Paul that I'm able to use yoga to work on correcting my curve. Paul practices Inyengar yoga, and I try to use that style, but don't have a teacher - the closest Inyengar teachers are about 2.5 hours from here. What I do have is a solid foundation in a martial art that teaches and emphasizes correct alignment, so I can take what I learned from the martial art, and apply it to yoga. I think that I'd need a teacher badly, without that: prior to getting some skill, yoga never did much for my spine; I suspect I wasn't doing it well enough. I've been doing it daily for about 2.5 years now (I can really tell when I miss too many days. Like 2 or 3.), and I'm making progress. For me, there's a lot of emotional baggage tied up in the curve that I have to work through before it really heals, but I'm hopeful that it will, at some point, be healed completely. We had some pretty clear direction from the Lord that this is the direction we should go to handle mine. I have no idea if there's a "point of no return" where the curve has progressed too far for yoga to be helpful; I just know that mine is reducing.

So glad to hear that A is doing well with his surgery. That's really nice for him.

Jalenagraham -- Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to say that. It means a lot.


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