All I wanted to do was put my cantaloupe in the fridge. How could that simple act have gone so wrong? Cornmeal, that's how.
The afternoon was going along just swimmingly. After an acupuncture appointment where my back pain was relieved I made a quick stop at the grocery store where, among other food items, I picked up a baby cantaloupe. Yes, I do categorize my fruit by age. With my cute and innocent cantaloupe in tow I drove back home to unload my health-nut load of produce and yogurts into the fridge.
And that's where the trial began.
I opened the stainless steel doors and began surveying the scene. The fridge in my house is always crowded. Let's just say that if cantaloupes suffered from claustrophobia they wouldn't step rind into my fridge. It is crowded with not only the assortment of fruits, vegetables and various seeds of a health food junkie but the cheese, milk, flour and various lemonades belonging to the rest of my home's inhabitants. Our fridge works overtime.
Despite the lack of space I was determined to find a special place for my sweet melon. Fruit is always best chilled and I like to give my fruit the best. So I scoped out the options for melon placement. With a little shifting of the cornmeal container I could easily slide the cantaloupe into a safe place where it would fit snuggly. I wouldn't want my baby melon to roll off the glass shelf and onto the floor.
The task of relocating the cornmeal three inches to the left should have been a non-event but when my palm clasped the half-used cardboard container it is as if my brain took a vacation. As my hand lifted the container my whole arm jerked and my hand had a moment of complete weakness. It released its grasp on the cornmeal which managed to fall at such an angle that the canister's top popped off. As the container hit the the edge of the glass shelf it spewed mealy contents all over the floor, not to mention the unsuspecting freezer below and every fridge shelf that found its way into the cornmeal's path of destruction.
And there I stood, at the fridge door with a cute little cantaloupe in hand, covered in cornmeal dust and utter disgust. "These hands - these blasted hands!" (In my frustration I even took on a British accent.) Under my breath and, more forcefully, in the privacy of my own mind I cursed my unpredictable, unreliable hands.
This sudden hand drop phenomenon is not new but that doesn't make it any less troublesome and, when cornmeal is involved, messy. I've dropped more glasses and plates than I can count. Thankfully all of the paring knives that have slipped out of my grasp in the kitchen have yet to land on my toes. I'm well acquainted with dropping papers, books, cell phones and keys. I'm practically a professional dropper of all things. When my hands started losing their capacity to clasp and release as I will them I became anxious and concerned. The sensation was so foreign. One moment I would be holding on to an object and the next it would be as if my hand had turned to jello. My concern led me where it always has in the past, Google. A quick search of "hand drop" and "MS" turned up over one hundred million results and a wave of relief. At least I wasn't alone.
It turns out that the hand drop I was experiencing was much like the foot drop I had already become accustomed to since my brain went on the fritz six years ago. The foot drop is also troubling but not nearly as messy since my feet don't try to carry canisters of cornmeal. Hand drop, on the other hand, leads to the breaking of many dishes and shattering of many glasses.
On my way to the kitchen cabinet to retrieve cleaning supplies for the cornmeal disaster I knocked over the Comet and dropped the roll of paper towels. All in an aggravating day's work of MS challenges.
With cornmeal all over the floor and Comet spewed all over the rug I was officially at my MS wit's end. I was internally angry at my brain for allowing my hands to go on the fritz at the precise moment powder was involved. Couldn't they have waited for a stack of papers to lose their coordination? The clean up would have been so much simpler.
As I surveyed the scene in my kitchen the cornmeal and the Comet and the mess taunted me, tempting me to become angry at my hands, feet and physical being. In that moment I felt the compulsion to lash out at God for allowing all the dysfunction of my body to continue for so long and with so little relief.
But then I walked away. I left the house without cleaning up the cornmeal or the Comet for that matter. Sometimes when the MS gets tough, this MSer simply must get going. Sometimes it takes everything in me just to step away from the troubling scenes of my condition because if I didn't I might go crazy with frustration. Space and separation from the scene of the angst can be a much needed retreat from the despair of uncontrollable symptoms and unmanageable physical dysfunction. In the moments when I am struggling to hold on - physically or emotionally - taking a step back can provide me the cleansed and renewed perspective I need to face the messes of this life.
When I returned to the kitchen floor it didn't look like such a disaster. In fact, from my refreshed perspective, the floor looked like a display of God's promises. When I looked back at the floor I was reminded that disasters will come - some as inconsequential as cornmeal and others as devastating as MS - but God will always be with me in the clean up. Whether it is with a spray bottle and rag on the kitchen floor or on my knees begging for healing, God is faithful and He hears my every prayer. He sees when I'm frustrated at my body and when my heart is heavy with hopelessness. He's right there with me every time I lose my grip.
And, what's more, God brings all of the tools and supplies I need for the cleanup. He comes equipped with the resiliency I need to keep picking up canisters and plates even after I've dropped them a thousand times. He's my supplier of endurance to keep pressing forward when my body is weak. When my soul is dry and too fatigued to go on, He brings me the cup I need to be renewed and restored.
There isn't a mess on earth too massive for God. From cornmeal to chronic health conditions like MS, God specializes in spotless cleaning and making all things new.