Do you remember the last time you were healthy?
I always forget what a blessing it is to feel and be healthy, until the moment I start to feel ill. It is the contrast from healthy to ill that stands out and catches my attention. When I am well, I am unaware. I do not wake up grateful for health, I just wake up and move on with my day. When I am sick, I can clearly note all the ways in which I do not feel well. I then have to chose between getting started with my day, or making alternative arrangements for my original plans and intentions.
Of course, I am sharing from the perspective of someone who has a very minor cold. So this inconvenience is but momentary. Perhaps if I traveled backwards in memory, I can remember the feeling of being younger and more physically fit. Those comparisons would probably be more telling than my current contrast. Sadly, I find that I can’t really remember the wellness of my past with any real clarity. It’s all seen through the amber-tinted glasses of nostalgic memories that play back in the eternal golden hour of my mind. Again, on the whole, my life has been one of good health. However, there are many people in this world who would not really remember what it was like to be healthy, as they have been struggling against a disease for as long as they can clearly remember.
My mother would have fit into this second category, as she spent 18 years with cancer overshadowing her life. I never got the chance to ask her about it, but I wonder if she would have truly remembered what “healthy” felt like. It seems it would almost be a blessing to forget being healthy, when you know those days will never return. Again, I do not know, but I do wonder. I do know, that for her, there were good and bad days, months, and years. It was not a straight course downward from the moment of diagnosis, but rather her journey took her from the top of the mountains through ravines and valleys with the highs and lows associated with them. Perhaps memory would simply fetch the most recent “good” time to compare to when it was trying to assess the current situation. Do we forget what it was like when we were well?
I think we can forget what it is like to be healthy emotionally. We find ourselves unhealthy for so long that we no longer compare our current feelings to true health, but rather to the day or week before that wasn’t quite as bad as the present moment is. We forget that there was a time when our hearts and souls were truly at peace. We forget those bright moments of fresh love, of crushes and romance. We forget the joy that held us so completely when we first accomplished some great goal. We forget the bubbling brooks of laughter that would overtake us when we spent time with a well-loved friend. We forget the ecstasy of mud puddles and water slides, the feeling when your bat really connected with the ball, the moment you make a game winning catch.
We forget what it is like to be healthy. We forget what it is like to be at peace.
In Joel we read that the years the locust has stolen from us will be returned. We have been promised a restoration, a return to health and peace. The locust will no longer oppress our thoughts, crush our spirit, or steal our joy. The locust will be destroyed, and we will be renewed.
When we begin to test our thoughts, and seek to follow the will of the Lord, the renewing of our minds will transform us. We will again be truly healthy. We will again know the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.