I’m having a really heavy day today. The struggle has been a timely convergence of emotional weather systems, though the best way to describe the bulk of my sadness is to say that the novelty of my vocal chord injury is wearing off. That might sound strange, even counter-intuitive, but it’s true.

Don’t get me wrong; the pain of injuring myself so badly was never fun. Still isn’t. But I can say that an odd kind of thrill tickled me when I realized God was using this storm for the good of my church and even (especially?) for the development of my character. I’m always excited about exploring a frontier, even when it’s uncomfortable. Even when it’s a wilderness.

It’s just that the edge of a wilderness is different than the middle.

Today I watched a video of a wonderful speaker in church instead of sharing the message God’s been burning on my heart. I bumbled my way through our church foyer nodding and rasping at a few dozen people, realizing that this sound had become normal for me. Today I actually hated the sound of my own pathetic voice (or lack of one, rather). I attended a lovely wedding I had to decline a week ago because of my injury. I watched another pastor do a fine job of marrying that special couple, two lovebirds I thought I was supposed to marry and send on their way. I sat at a reception table with a great circle of people and watched them talk to each other all evening, mouthing the occasional sentence for Shauna to speak on my behalf because my voice was already worn out for the day.

I gaped numbly at seconds and minutes and hours rushing by me, moments that came and went without my humor, my input, my opinion, which made me feel like ten year old wallpaper. I started to wonder what would happen if the doctors had missed something vital, let my mind wander into places it shouldn’t go, like “What if I never get my speaking voice back? What would happen to my position at the church? My calling to teach and preach?” I know better than that, know God is bigger than this, that I’ll look back and praise him yet. But today was a valley.

Speaking of valleys, I also spent some heart wrenching time with two people I love today, walking with them as they stare down some of the most extreme blunt-force moments of their lives. I care about them so deeply that my heart throbs physically with the pain they carry. Will carry. Must carry.

I do know this, though. I’m being carried too—loved, supported, filled, guided. I’ve seen a couple of miracles unfold in the past few days. I’ve also been affirmed, prayed for, hugged, squeezed, smiled at, and appreciated. Yesterday three or four people, totally unrelated, lavished praise, hope, and affirmation on my writing (haven’t had ANY of that for a little while, and then BANG! A cluster arrives). I’ve been learning so much, changing so much, being stretched and matured and disciplined and embraced so much by God. My voice, while frustrating, is slowly healing. It’s now at about the 45% mark. I’ll take every bit of it.

So that’s me in a nutshell. Actually, I’m the nut, God is the shell. Glad he’s got me.