Sunday, May 14, 2017

A lesson from the shower

The shower is a torture chamber. At least it is for me.
The daily shower hygiene ritual hasn't always been such a dreaded experience. I remember the days I used to love my morning shower. I would linger under the scolding hot water and savor every moment of it, letting the experience last as long as the hot water tank would allow.
But those days of long, hot showers are a distant memory thanks to my malfunctioning body. Now instead of enjoying the shower I dread it for the ill effect it has on my muscles and joints. Under the shower's heat my muscles go into spastic fits. My left side becomes so rigid and stiff that I struggle to stay standing. My knees buckle and I lose my balance under the onslaught of arresting pain. Lightheaded, dizziness soon follows. Even with the heat lowered and duration shortened, the humidity and steam still wreck havoc on my body.
Years ago, when my shower torture first began, I was nervous to enter the porcelain tub while home alone. I imagined getting so dizzy that I'd slip on soap suds, crash to the ground and hit my head on the tile wall on my way down. In my worst nightmares I could see myself going unconscious in the shallow bath water below.
For years, to put my ill-fated shower fears at ease, I timed my showers around when another person would be in the house. At least if my shower turned deadly someone would be there to save me, I reasoned to myself. To calm my fears I relied on the reassuring presence of another person, even if they were on the other side of a wall and down a hall.
But then I moved out and into my own, empty apartment. My shower security was gone. If I went crashing to the bottom of the tub I would be like a tree falling in forest with no one around to hear. Would I even make a sound?
With the threat of smelliness looming over me, I decided to conquer my home alone shower fear. As I anticipated, the heat sent my muscles into a state of chaos. My joints locked and my head started to spin. The shampoo bottle that was in my hand went falling to the floor as I lost my balance and ability to grip. In that moment I expected to be scared but something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye.
A grab bar.
How had I not seen it before? When I moved into my new apartment and took note of its features, I completely missed the blessed grab bar perfectly placed in my shower at my waist height.
As I took hold of that bar my fears disappeared. I had no need to fear the shower or worry about slipping and falling because in this shower I had something to hang onto.
The first shower in my new apartment, and every shower since, has ended without incident - no falling and, thankfully, no crashing. Although my muscles have still flared under the assault of the heat and my joints have still buckled, I've had the bar to cling to and keep me upright.

In the simple, routine act of taking a shower in my new apartment God has reminded me that no matter how hot the shower or brutal these years of illness have been, He has always shown up and blessed me with something to hold onto. Sometimes He has delivered a special something that can't be seen like hope, a vision of His future glory, or an inaudible word spoken from His lips straight to my ears. Other times He has blessed me with a tangible something like those silly geese on the road, or a beautifully penned, unexpected letter of encouragement from a friend.
And sometimes He's shown up in the shower with a stability bar.
God never fails to provide just what I need. He is always faithful in His steadfast care for me. In this life, even in the shower, I have nothing to fear because I have the peace and reassurance that God is my safety and security. The Lord God is my eternal salvation and He will never let me fall.

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