For six long, grueling years I have been playing a grown-up version of Duck-Duck-Goose and I'm always "it." I keep getting stuck as the head-tapper, walking around a circle of remedies, therapies and nutritional plans tapping on each one as I say either "duck" or "goose." I've passed up my fair share of ducks - the Mayo clinic, steroids, being stung by a swarm of bees. Although I've lingered over each treatment option I've always determined that the outcome isn't promising enough to be explored. In duck-duck-goose terms, I haven't held out much hope that I can outrun my medical or bee opponent and snatch their seated position in the circle.
I've tried my hand at other types of geese in the circle of treatment options. Lately that has included acupuncture, stem cells, essential oils and herbs. Each time I yell goose with the hope that this will be my moment, my golden opportunity to snag a seat in a place of health and wellness. So I run after that goose with every fiber of my being. In an attempt to make my chosen treatment approach a success I read and research till my computer dies. Then I grab my iPad. I devote myself to my mission. I run hard to defeat my goose.
But MS, my goose, always seems to win. Even when I get close to snagging my coveted seat in the symptom-free circle the goose manages to snag me at the very last moment. I've come so close to success that I could taste victory but every time I've ended up tagged before my life can settle into its new state of well-being. Before I can put on coveted weight or relax into a spasm-free existence the goose bests me.
Once tagged it's back to the outer ring of the circle to try again. Countless times I've asked God if we can play a different game or at least take a break before returning to another frustrating round of duck-duck-goose but He has yet to grant my request. I can only assume that God must really fancy ducks and geese.
And so, it is back to the goose chase for me. I don't always return to my position as "it" with a smile and jubilant attitude. More often than not my initial return to my position as tagger is done with a spirit of a pity party. But I come back. Reluctant, complaining and doubtful I take up my position as "it" and begin to duck-duck-duck my way around the circle.
This last time around the circle I realized something about the game. It isn't that God is so fond of geese or ducks. And He doesn't get a kick out of watching me wallow in repeated defeat. God likes the chase. He likes the exercise. God likes giving me a workout while I run hard and as fast as my little legs will take me towards the place of healing and rest. God is pleased that I am seeking, searching and straining towards the future He has in store.
No matter how many times I fail to snag my seat and have to return to the outer ring of the circle God meets me there with hope for the future and strength to take up my role as "it" once again. Despite countless failed attempts to tag my goose I still have hope that one of these days I'll run faster than my symptoms and relax into a life of health and well-being. Someday, someway I will tap the right goose and put an end to this seemingly unending game of goose chasing.
Until the day this game ends and another begins I will choose to embrace the exercise of the chase. With every stride and step I am being conditioned in spirit. Running without a break has increased the capacity of my heart to persevere in God's strength.
As I take up my place as "it" I can run frustrated or I can find purpose in the game and hope in the losses. Today I choose to play God's way, to choose my geese with His direction and to run for His glory. Today I choose to find joy God's game of duck-duck-goose and embrace the chase.