I said hello and good-bye to Melrose all in one day this time. I assured the boys when Benj and I left this morning for my follow up appointments that I would be back tonight. I was not staying this time. Last time I was scared of the uncertainty and saw Melrose as a threat. Today, I saw Melrose with a new perspective. I saw Melrose as a home I have moved away from, a home that defines a part of who I am now. Both my doctor and my physical therapist told me that they saw joy on my face; they saw a success story come out of Melrose amidst all the pain and heartache within the walls. Daily I am choosing this joy over pain because I want a new perspective on life.
Walking through the doors of Melrose brought a rush of memories. I remembered walking down the stairs from third floor to go to therapy sessions and group sessions and occupational therapy activities and yoga and pilates classes. I walked across the parking lot and stared up at the window to my old room, wondering who was living there right now, if it was a safe haven for them like it had been for me. I tried to see any sign of life through the windows of the dayroom up on third floor, remembering the hours of coloring, all the movies we watched, conversations with friends, painting fingernails with the staff, moaning about how we were either eating or waiting to eat, laughing at one of the girls who was making prank calls on her phone, cheering for the dancers on Dancing with the Stars, simply listening when the pressure got to be too much for another. And I remembered the joy of living daily with Jesus. Each day was communion with him and reliance on him. Melrose gave me a chance to have a living, breathing faith. Melrose changed my perspective on life in so many ways.
But I am no longer a resident of Melrose. I don’t need to be there. I describe it as if the alien that had taken over my body and mind has been evicted and I have my personality back. I remember who I actually am, and I’m free to be her again. I explained that to my therapist yesterday and expressed how I couldn’t believe how much ED had changed who I am. But she reminded me of what I already know but still find incredible. ED takes over. He doesn’t want Rhonda to be present. He wants her squashed down, broken, weak, timid, scared, and isolated. Every thought and decision had to be filtered through him because he wanted control of every aspect of my life. I couldn’t make any decisions without ED allowing it. Imagine if you had a warden by your side 24/7, and every time you want to laugh at a joke, he needs to give permission. Every time you want to have a snack, he needs to okay the choice. Every time you want to go out with friends, he needs to come along and anything you want to say has to be whispered in his ear first so that he can speak for you. He only allows very limited physical contact. All actions are motivated not by sheer joy of doing them but by the need to pacify and please the warden. This was ED. But now, the joy that my doctor at Melrose saw on my face is the freedom of perspective. I no longer live an ED-filtered perspective. I live in a God perspective, knowing he created me and he wants me to blossom, not to be smothered. Bad days come, but ED knows his power over me is lapsing. I can refocus and get my perspective back when he tries to blur truth again.
Friday was a bad day for me. Comparison reared its ugly head. She gets to train for a marathon. She can do that machine better. She is sweating more than me because she must be working harder than me. Boom. ED tries hard to suck me back in. What did I all have to sacrifice in family, friends, work, leisure, self-care in order to have that body that I deemed necessary? I am not willing to give up the time I have back with my boys, Benj, family, friends, students, colleagues. Perspective. At lunch time, I could have had leftover pizza or I could have had a turkey sandwich. Greasy pizza. That’s bad. That’s unhealthy. Boom. ED, in my face. But the body doesn’t discriminate between a grain in the form of pizza crust or a loaf of bread. Protein is protein whether its the lunch meat on the sandwich or the Canadian bacon on the pizza. Vegetable can either be the sauce and mushrooms on the pizza or it can be the tomato and spinach on my sandwich. Same tallies, different form. Perspective. Standing in front of the mirror – I hate the way this looks. That’s curvier than it used to be. I wish that was flatter like before. Boom. ED pushing my buttons. I have new funky leggings and dresses that make me feel beautiful. I wear make up now and do my nails. My body isn’t about hours of sculpting, it’s about respecting, honoring, and caring for this body God created as me.
Perspective changes everything.
I want my perspective to be through eyes focused on eternity. My life here is temporary, but it is the life God expects me to use for his glory in all things while I’m here. The priorities I’m making now I pray are the ones that will focus my heart on a life that will glorify God in all things. Perspective changes everything. The way I exercise, the way I eat, the way I look, the way I interact with people, the way I teach, the way I discipline, the way I react, the way I worship. Perspective is the difference between living to satisfy an ED and living to honor my God.
May I be a telescope of praise.