One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” 8Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” John 5:4-8
I am 62 years old, and I have been sick with respiratory problems most of my life. I don't remember when I wasn't sick a lot.
Yesterday, my pulmonologist told me that my lungs were in good shape, my cardio stress test was good, my thyroid was good, my anemia was gone, my asthma was under control, and that basically I am healthy. I have never been told that in all my life! I am healthy.
Then I asked "Why, if I am healthy, my life is a struggle with tiredness and breathlessness?" He told me I needed "de-conditioning". When pressed for a definition, he hemmed and hawed, but eventually inferred that I am overweight and out of shape. Then I heard him begin to lecture me on that...I'm not sure what he said that created that impression for I can't imagine his lecturing me. He is a good and kind man...just not very blunt.
I became ragingly angry. The only thing that is wrong with me is something I have done to myself. It's all my fault. And, I've failed at Weight Watchers, and I don't do enough of the right kind of exercise. And, I am a failure.
I drove the 15 miles home on a back winding road at speeds far above what was safe. I stormed into the house in tears. My partner, who has been saying this for some time, tried to comfort me. There was no comfort.
I have been healed. I am well. Well, except for the things that I do to myself. I'm around enough AA people to know that I have just been twelfth stepped - confronted with my disease - overeating, not exercising. Now the choice is up to me - continue overeating, not exercising and die - or choose to be healed, to be well.
Hey, last night I didn't much want to be well. I'm not sure that I'm willing to do what is necessary to be well. I wanted to die instead; it was too hard.
Someone this morning asked me what changed when I decided to quit drinking. I don't even remember. Seems like I woke up one morning on the floor in my own vomit and decided I didn't want to do that again. After that, alcohol began making me sick when I drank. So I quit.
Now, I'm confronted with a different prospect. I can't give up food as I gave up alcohol. Food is my comfort. Even last night, food was my comfort. I ate three tacos, then went to Dairy Queen and had a small chocolate malt. I felt so much better. I quit crying; I was able to think; I wasn't angry; I didn't hurt. I wish food didn't work as a pain (of all kinds) killer. It's easy to give up a coping mechanism that doesn't work any longer.
Do I want to be well? The verdict is still out on that one. But, for this hour, this minute, the answer is yes.