We often think of God’s plans for our life in terms of grandiose ideas. God also cares about the little things in our life just as much as the big-ticket items.
When I medically retired 4 years ago, there were many things I could do then that I can’t do now.
I retired early due to Rheumatoid Arthritis and a non-functioning bowel, which resulted in a permanent colostomy. At that stage I had no idea I had a rare bone disease simmering away, ready to launch an almighty attack.
My Story was going to become quite complex over the space of a very short time.
I’m actually glad I didn’t know. Sometimes I think it’s best just to live in the moment with a dash of blissful ignorance about the future.
Thankfully God does know our future and my experience is that He always has a plan available for us at just the right moment. We need to be watching, waiting and listening for it and prepared to act on it.
Do Not Worry
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Matthew 6 v 25 -34 (New International Version)
Whether sick or healthy, none of us know what the future holds on a day to day basis. While planning is a good discipline to have, learning to appreciate life’s precious moments each and every day, is possibly even more important.
Appreciating The Little Things
So let’s get back to what I could do when I first medically retired. I could:
- Still, drive a car
- Walk through a shopping center with a walking stick in one hand and my husband by my side
- Go to cafes and restaurants and sit relatively comfortably for an hour
- Attend church services at least fortnightly
- Cook a meal or bake some goodies.
- Potter in the garden
- Go to a hairdresser salon and get my hair washed, cut and blow dried. Colouring was too much as it meant being there for over an hour.
- We could go for short holidays not too far from home.
Basically, they were all the little things in life that can so often be taken for granted….until they are gone.
Adjusting to Losing Some of Life’s Little Things
Fast forward to today. These are the things I can no longer do:
- Drive. Even being a passenger in a car causes excessive pain. We just make it to my hospital visits which are a 35 to 40 min car trip.
- Walking is difficult. I can walk outside of the home using 2 crutches but can’t walk further than 100 meters without severe pain. I need a mobility scooter for longer outings but I don’t have the energy for these because of constant broken bones that don’t heal and severe bone pain. The scooter also aggravates the pain.
- Leisurely cafe visits are no longer possible. I can’t sit for more than 20 mins because of the pressure seats place on my broken legs. I use cushions but they only allow me to get through the 20 mins. Without a cushion, I couldn’t do it at all.
- I can’t go to church for all of the above reasons.
- A Hairdresser salon visit or a trip to a supermarket to quickly pick up a few things is out of the question.
- We can’t go away on holiday.
- Cooking meals or being in the kitchen for longer than the time it takes to make a cuppa, or get a small snack, isn’t possible.
So, I’ve had to adapt. It’s amazing how we can adapt and find ways to do things differently when we have to.
Finding Ways to Adapt
If life takes a turn in direction, as it does with chronic illness, it’s so important to keep doing the things that make us happy, that keep us contributing to life and gives us a sense of accomplishment.
I’ve found ways to clean my home. I navigate my house holding onto furniture and I can dust. My crutch is an amazing mop. If I throw a wet flannel on the floor and place my crutch on it, I can walk around slowly, crutch in hand, washing the tiles.
I can do all our grocery, clothes and household goods shopping online. I love doing it like that and I’m not sure I’d change back if I could.
We have turned our outside patio area into our own little French Provincial cafe. When I’m not well enough to go out for coffee and cake, we simply have it in the midst of our beautiful pot plants.
My husband and I have church at home. We watch Songs of Praise and listen to a recording of the morning sermon from a wonderful preacher. We sing hymns and Christian songs. Our souls are fed.
Thankfully my husband is an amazing cook (one of God’s wonderful provisions given well in advance of my need).
We holiday at home. When I first medically retired, we felt God leading us to a lovely Bayside village. We thought it was because it would be good for our health to go on long walks and have fresh air. As it turns out it means my husband can drive me 4 minutes, down the road from our home, to look out over the Bay to the Islands beyond. Magnificent views, fresh air and it’s so uplifting. The added bonus is there is a cafe with disability access. On good days we can sit there for 20 mins enjoying a coffee and cake. That’s what we’d do on holidays anyway. This way I get to come home to my own bed and avoid all the packing required for a holiday. Perfect!
God Cares Even About The Little Things
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Luke 12 v 7 (King James Version)
So that brings me to my hairdressing needs and I must admit I’m a bit excited.
I’ve had 2 beautiful mobile hairdressers over the past 2 years. The first one decided to take a permanent salon job after 6 visits. She was lovely so I was disappointed but I quickly managed to find another one in our area.
She was wonderful and worked quickly which was perfect for my situation. At the second visit, she told me now she was pregnant but would be working through until a month before her baby was born. That would give me time to try to find someone else. Or so I thought. There were, however, no more mobile hairdressers in my area.
On her last visit, I told her to cut my hair very short. I thought that way I could at least park the problem for a while. We had discussed that she might return to work in 6 months so I was happy to wait and see how things worked out.
She has since had a beautiful baby boy and let me know this week that she won’t be doing mobile hairdressing again. Completely understandable.
So, I am left with hair that hasn’t been cut for 6 months and while it’s healthy enough, it’s at that awkward stage where I can’t manage it. Not ideal when I already have disabilities that make grooming a challenge.
I spent hours searching the Internet in the hope that a new mobile hairdresser had opened a business. There was no one else in my area offering this service so I was really at a loss as to what to do.
My husband even went to a local “Just Cuts” salon to try them out for speed, comfort and wait times. They were good and quick but there was no guarantee I wouldn’t be kept waiting when we arrived, so we had to rule that out.
I was almost ready to give up when I quietly prayed, “Lord, I don’t know what to do. I need your help”.
Within minutes of that short, heartfelt prayer, I had the thought “why not contact my original mobile hairdresser? Maybe she’s left the salon that head-hunted her and is doing mobile work again.”
I found her old website which was encouraging. So, on the wings of a prayer, I sent her an email.
Well, bless her, she rang me within an hour to say she’s not doing mobile work but a good hairdressing friend of her’s has just moved from New Zealand to Australia. Amazingly she lives around the corner from my house.
Even more amazing, she is just starting up a mobile hairdressing business and looking for clients!!
My old hairdresser was as excited as I was. She explained to me that she never looks at the old email address that I had contacted her on but for some reason she just decided to. She saw my name and remembered me straight away so clicked on my email.
God was definitely caring about the hairs on my head that day.
She texted her friend asking her to look after me. Her friend messaged me later that day to set up an appointment for the following week.
Don’t you just love it when hope is restored in what looked like a hopeless situation?
God cares, even about the little things.
Sam retired early, from an Executive Management career in Banking, due to a rare bone disease. She is the founder of an online support forum "Medical Musings with Friends", a place where the hand of friendship & understanding is offered to anyone living with the effects of chronic disease.