Sometimes you have to drop out of what you usually do and take some time to think. I often do this on a daily walk, but I decided to visit a place that would require me to be quiet. I made the thirty-minute drive through hectic Saturday traffic as the entire world was heading off to harvest festivals. When the weather reaches nearly eighty degrees in October, no one wants to miss it because we could be facing a blizzard and a polar vortex by the following Monday.
“I need to get there because I’m supposed to go relax, and these crazy people and their driving are stressing me out!” I had been cut off multiple times, and someone behind me felt I wasn’t driving fast enough. It was very frantic all around me, and I wanted out.
She prayed that we would be teleported there like The Jetsons, and my lane started moving. Suddenly we were past the snarl and pulling into the parking lot.
The receptionist said it was Pumpkin Days, so people were flocking into the city in droves. I already felt the slight shift in the atmosphere with the lavender diffused air and spa music playing over my head.
“This is where you will find the towels, robes, and flip flops. The lockers are over there, and you go through that door when you are ready.”
We changed, grabbed what we needed, and went where she had pointed. I walked into a warm, massive room that housed the mineral pool. To make it even better, we were all alone.
That always amazes me when I end up on a road, in a store, or a theater with no other soul around. Many people occupy the earth, so how do I end up having a piece of space to myself?
Usually, when there is a pool involved, kids are splashing, and there is a lot of noise. This was like walking into a sanctuary. Both of us slipped into the 90-degree water quickly, and it wasn’t the usual gradual entry while my body had to adjust; I just went right in up to my chin.
When I get into the water, I usually run or do some nonrelaxing type of activity. This wasn’t like that at all, and I ended up floating suspended on pool noodles with my eyes shut. We both felt like we shouldn’t even talk because it felt different from usual, more like therapy and not like a waterpark.
The water was infused with 83 minerals that the skin absorbs. All of this is to help calm the mind and nervous system along with other disorders that a person might be facing. The draw for me was that it was to relieve nerve pain. I had jokingly told the chiropractor that someone had gotten on my last nerve as she treated me a few days prior.
As I drifted along, I started to picture the scene from the Bible where the disabled man is lying by the edge of the water. An angel would come to stir the water, and whoever got in would be healed….
One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
At once, the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
(John 5:2-10 NIV)
When he was asked if he wanted to be well, he didn’t say “yes”. He explained why it couldn’t happen. He gave an excuse to justify why he had laid there for a long time. And it had become his identity. I wonder if he even tried to get in after all that time, or was it easier to submit himself to being immobile? It seemed that he had written himself off as a lost cause.
And what does that say about the compassion of God? Even when you come up with all your reasons why you can’t do something, you are allowed to get off your “sick” bed and move on. This is a mental block most of the time, and believing that you can is the hardest part.
When the nerve pain in my face has been at its height, I tell myself that the treatments I am doing for it are working, and I try to be aware of when it feels normal. This has been very effective in making the attacks less frequent and shorter in duration. I have had to come at this with the idea that I am healed, not unwell.
It’s not easy to do when the pain is screaming, but I can when it wanes. It’s something to build off of so it doesn’t become a stronghold. I feel gratitude when nothing hurts. And when it does, I tell it that I refuse to accept it. If Jesus asked me if I wanted to be over it, I would say yes. Would you? Or do you sink yourself in the symptoms, letting them run you?
I went into the tumultuous, hot tub—what a difference between the soothing unmoving water in the pool to now submerging in a loud, hot, boiling cauldron. Yet, it has its way of bringing a different kind of peace. I heard in my mind: See? You can be in a place of chaos like this and be still. It can surround you, and you can be in it, but not of it.
I did gravitate back to the more tranquil spot where I had started and surrendered myself back into the silence.
Just as I thought I was not going to have anyone invade my world, I heard her say,
“Have you ever been here before?”
I opened my eyes, and a woman was looking at me. I noticed that my daughter had drifted off into a far corner, and it appeared she was asleep. All day she had been right next to me, but now it looked like she had been pushed away to leave me alone with this person.
“I have been to this spa before, but never to the pool,” I said.
I flipped into an upright position. I used to wonder how I was always targeted for this type of thing. I didn’t look approachable with my eyes closed, but apparently, there was a reason for this encounter. It happens all the time, so I go where it takes me.
She told me that she and another family member had given her parents a gift card, and they had refused it, so before it was going to expire, it had to be used.
“I have arthritis, neuropathy, and fibromyalgia. My spine is shot, and I might have another surgery to fuse it. I am hoping being here will help.”
“Do you take medication?”
“Yes. But it does nothing. I have had acupuncture, a chiropractor, and physical therapy, and nothing works.”
I listened while she spoke about all of her issues.
“What about food? Are you on an anti-inflammatory diet?”
“I do Keto, and that seems not to cause me more trouble.”
I always have to be careful not to say, “do you think this is all in your head?” That sounds terrible when the symptoms are real.
“Have you ever considered that what you are thinking about or what is stressing you out could be contributing to this?”
She didn’t answer me but went back to going over all of her troubles again. The problem was bigger for her than a solution, so she had fallen victim.
I began to ask God how I could help this lady. Do I hold her hand and pray? But I felt the answer was no. Do I speak a verse over her? No. Do I talk about heaven and how much God loves her? That’s not it. Do I dunk her under and baptize her? I saw a visual of that with her still talking with bubbles coming to the surface. No, Chris. What is it then?
“Tell her to get quiet and meditate.”
That’s so simple and not earth shattering. She’s really a mess and telling me every single thing that is wrong with her, and now she has launched into what is going on with her spouse. Isn’t there some electric current I can send? Like zap, she is better and starts walking on water?
No. She needs to meditate and ask what she needs to do next. Only she can do that. Not you, and this is what she needs.
I interrupted her and said,
“Do you meditate?”
I saw something come across her eyes.
“Oh. No, but I have a bunch of meditation music that I bought and never used.”
“I forgot all about that.”
“It will help you so you can think clearly. You need to get quiet and let whatever your body needs to be shown to you. This doesn’t have to take over your life because we were created to heal, and your body doesn’t hate you. So don’t think that. It was designed to support you in life.”
“I’m retired, and there are so many things I want to do, and this all stops me from that.”
“Then meditate. It sounds simple and like something that wouldn’t help, but how hard is it to sit in a chair and do this every day, so you get an answer?”
“Right. That is easy.”
“But you have to do it, so you know what to do next.”
Her sister, who had gone into the women’s locker room, whipped open the door.
“What are you doing? We have to go!”
“Oh! I forgot all about you.”
Meanwhile, my daughter was unmoving in the same spot. So strange after all day of her and I being side by side, and she was sound asleep on her back.
“I better go! I didn’t know she was in a big hurry!”
“Do what I said and have your husband do it too. You will get the answers you need.”
“I will. Thank you, and I think it will help.” She seemed brighter and less weighed down.
My daughter came back the minute she left.
“What happened? I didn’t hear a thing. I fell asleep and got a bunch of new ideas for work.”
“She just needed some advice. You know the drill.”
Later, I asked my daughter if the bottom of her foot was still painful. She had stepped on a piece of glass, and the spot was tender to the point of not being able to put all her weight on it entirely. She worried that maybe she hadn’t gotten it all out.
Pressing down on the area, she said,
“It’s fine! It’s not as swollen, and it feels normal.”
What I think is that God has created every single one of us to receive assistance in a certain way. Preaching an entire fire and brimstone message to that woman was not the answer, and she probably would have left with less hope. She was attracted to me like a magnet, but her ego was getting in the way of hearing. She sought me out, and I told her exactly what she needed to hear. If she follows through, she turns on a switch to victory.
Some need encouragement; others need to change how they look at life with negative eyes or fearful thoughts. Healing can come even by spending the day without a care, immersed with God, just floating.