Wednesday, January 13, 2016

When You Can't Be Still

Something about having to stay still makes staying still nearly impossible for me 

Like in an MRI machine.

Don't get me wrong.
Those machines are amazing and I am very grateful to live in an age where they exist.
Where these amazing tools can be used to see things that could otherwise be missed.

Thankful that Doctors have them available to help in treating disease.

I just have a hard time being still on purpose.

I was in that Clanking Tube, the MRI machine,  this past weekend.
It was a quickly scheduled test
so that the results would be available in time for an appointment that was already scheduled.

I have been in that tube so many times I have it all down.
I know just what to do to be able to get in, get it done and get out quickly.

I have everything perfected except that one thing.

Being Still

When they say that it is time for me to be still... my mind goes into hyperdrive.

And it isn't long before I am conscious of every move I make.
The up and down of my chest as I breathe.
The twitch of every muscle, movement of my eyes or the urge to swallow.
Do I swallow or try not to?

I've tried things to help but only one thing comes close to making it easier to focus my attention on something other than my involuntary movements.

It is music.

Music has always been important to me and there are songs that I have journeyed with during some rough times that still mean much to me.

Experience with these clanking tubes has helped me realize that even here...
music can help keep my mind occupied.

But this time I forgot to bring my own music.

While the technician helped me get into the correct position, she asked me if I would like to listen to some music.


"What kind?"

"Do you have Christian?"

"Yes. Contemporary Christian ok?"

"Yes.  Thank you."

When everyone was ready, the test began.

There was one small problem.  I could barely hear the music.

I don't remember all I did to take my mind off swallowing.

I tried to mentally silently hum some of my favorite songs.

It is so hard to think of any particular song when the noise around you manufactures its own soundtrack.
And an MRI machine definitely provides its own soundtrack.

bang bang bang bang


bump-bump-bump  bump-bump-bump

The machine really just seems to have its own mind

and right at the time you come up with a song to match the rhythm of the bumping
it changes.

"Did I really just move my eyes?"

"Will that swallow be a problem?"

"My hand... can I move my hand? The needle is hurting..."
Now there was a new distraction!
Positioned at the base of my thumb, the needle pressed against something that caused a dull pain to slowly increase until it was the only thing that I could think about.

Be still, be still, be still...

The tech's voice came through the headphones and told me she would be in right away to start the IV.

The bed moved and I could hear walking nearby.
Relief would be soon coming.

She finished the IV Contrast and asked if I was doing ok while she removed the IV needle.
Small things can make you very happy at times like this.
Small things make the people who are taking care of you heroes that are larger than life.
I have seen it again and again here in this place.
In every place where people take care of those who hurt and are sick.

Kindness always shows up and it always makes your world a better place.

She asked if the volume was ok on the music.

When we were ready to start again, she increased the volume for me.

To my surprise... in just the first three notes, I recognized the next song.   As the machine kicked into gear, I could still hear every word.  Words I had not paid much attention to in a long time, but in the narrow confines of this machine, every word took on new meaning.

I was completely wrapped up in the words, and so thankful to know these things as reality.
To know the God the song was about, and to know that He cared for me and was caring for me right then and there in that machine.
The place it is easy to forget that I am never alone.

What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! 
Psalm 107:30 (NLT)

The song could not have been more perfect.

The lyrics went deep, and I felt securely held.
I was lost in the song and words and the message.

I even forgot that my hand had been hurting.

until...I became aware of a different sensation.

"I wonder if that tear rolling down my cheek is going to be a problem..."

The next morning bright and early I was in the office of my oncologist.
The MRI results are clear... and these blood tests look good!
I think we can wait for three months to see you here again.
Actually, lets make it six!


God often asks us to be still.
To focus our hearts and minds on Him
But there are so many distractions around us, it can be awfully hard.

Decide that you will make a place where you can be still.
 A place where you can open your Bible and meet Him
Get into your place each day and wait on Him.
To hear His still small voice in the loud clanking and banging of your day.

I am still amazed at how much it is worth it.


My Top Ten Song list for the next meet up with the Clanking Tube

1) The Power of a Great Affection (Andrew Peterson)
2) Even This Will be Made Beautiful (Jason Gray)
3) Barocha (Michael Card)
4) O Love That Will Not Let Me Go (Indelible Grace Music)
5) Beside Still Waters (Richard Dillon)
6) But For You Who Fear My Name (The Welcome Wagon)
7) Be Still and Know (Steven Curtis Chapman)
8) Come Lift Up Your Sorrows (MIchael Card)
9) He Will Give the Weary Strength (Ellie Holcomb)
10) Hung the Moon (the Uh Huh Song) (Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors)
11) In Feast or Fallow (Sandra McCracken)
12) Have Your Eyes Open (Christa Wells)
13) Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World (Israel Kamakawiwo'ole)
14) Broken Bread (Rend Collective)
15)O How Good It Is (Keith & Kristyn Getty)

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