Perhaps I should start by telling you about two years in my very recent past.
I got Lyme Disease. I struggled with months of forced unemployment and my credit was destroyed. My first job after the worst part of my illness paid one third of what I’ve made at my highest salary.
I had no sick leave, so I forced myself to go to work even when I was still sick. During a dizzy spell, I had a fall, and threw out my lower back. I was in pain for months, but couldn’t afford to treat it.
I eventually got a better job, but my car was barely functioning; I had to pour water into the radiator constantly to keep the engine from overheating. I could only drive places within a four mile radius. In addition, the combination of Lyme, high dose antibiotics, and stress changed my body chemistry. I started to have severe panic attacks on an almost daily basis, to the point where I would take benadryl at work just to keep from breaking out in hives.
I worked and saved like a monk for a year, then bought a used car in cash from an amateur mechanic who assured me it was in very good shape.
My car was vandalized the day I bought it.
I spent a lot of money to fix it; then it promptly died. I had to sell it for parts.
I’m a singer, and during this year, I lost my voice. I’m a social person, but I was totally isolated from my community. My roommates, who had been close friends, asked me to move out – after first sharing platitudes with me about how much they “cared.” My new apartment was infested with fleas, so I had to move twice in two weeks.
I still felt sick all the time, but according to the doctors, I was cured. I kept spending lots of money on doctors, only to encounter the same condescending indifference.
Since my credit was now abysmal, I could not get a car loan to save my life, but I was too ill to walk to the bus stop. I had to take taxis everywhere, spending hundreds of dollars a month. I could never save any money, yet I had nothing to show for it.
Eventually, the mountains of physical, emotional, and spiritual stress started to take a serious toll on my mental health.
So, I wasn’t just a sick person stuck in the house for months at a time, broke and with no car.
I was a crazy sick person, stuck in the house, broke and with no car.
I’ll tell you. I prayed a lot. At the beginning of all this, my prayers were like, “God, I know that all that You do is for my Highest Good, but I am just a limited human being who perceives this as “suffering.” If You see fit, please help me with this.”
After about a year and a half, my prayers went something like this:
“GOD, YOU %$#@*&@$!! WHAT THE $#@*&@ IS WRONG WITH YOU??? I @*&@$ HATE YOU!!! JESUS @*&@$ CHRIST!!!! WHY DO YOU MAKE ME CRAZY!?! MAKE IT STOP! FOR GOD’S SAKES, MAKE IT STOP!! AUGGGGHH!!!” (promptly bursts into tears)
I spent the first two-thirds of my life pursuing a good education, because my financially struggling parents were convinced it would be my ticket to a better tomorrow. My education, I was assured, would help me to break free of all this. And yet here I was, still in the grip of . . . all this. My education, it seemed, was good enough to give me the tools to see exactly the size, shape, and parameters of my no-win situation . . . but not to escape it.
In the end, it was not my education, effort, sweat, or creativity that helped me turn the corner.
It was grace.
After 2 years of watching me struggle, my mother had a $3,000 windfall and gave it to me, with $2,500 more. After months of fighting with my insurance company over a charge, I finally got reimbursed – with an overpayment. I knew I would have to pay it back later, but at that moment, with my small savings, the insurance error, and my mother’s help, I had $8,500. I bought a car and, for the first time in 2 years, it did not fall apart.
Then I got diagnosed with a nutritional deficiency; 24 hours after I received my first B-12 shot, I stopped crying. And finally, a doctor actually thought I was still sick with a progressed form of Lyme Disease. He prescribed me a grueling, month-long course of intravenous antibiotics. So I finally had a chance of getting better from the Lyme Disease. I’m still waiting to see if it takes.
Creativity, intellect, and hard work did not triumph over my problems, although they did help break my fall somewhat. In the end, the only thing that truly turned the tide was grace. And this is what this site is about. It’s about applied grace. It’s about learning how to fashion out the exact right lever in the exact right way, so that you can move mountains. As Archimedes said, “Give me a place to stand, and I will move the Earth.”
Next, read the Introduction.