It's been good to be back with Kari again. She is coming out of a very hard period of pain and nausea. We hope in the next couple of days that her body will make adjustments to the powerful antibiotics that contribute much to her stomach pain, but which are needed to combat an intestinal infection. And we now know that much of her shoulder pain and headaches are due to very tense muscles. "The muscle up the back of my neck feels as hard as a rock," she says, and it is--though because of the collar she wears, it's hard to get back there and massage it much. We try, though, and she seems better able to sense when her muscles are tense and she needs to try to relax. Trying to relax is on her mind a lot, which is good, but ironic too: trying hard to relax is a paradox. When she was being suctioned just a few minutes ago and her arms were jerking upwards, she said to me a couple of times, "I'm trying hard to relax, I'm trying hard." It's working too. Her arms don't jerk up nearly so hard as they used to, and it's easier to bring them down afterwards.
Talking with Aaron over the last couple of days, I think he's just hoping to establish an even keel for himself and Kari and everyone, so that we all don't get too excited when good things happen, and we don't get too down when bad things do. The good and bad are all part of the process. Since we were speaking of the Cubs a few days ago, I thought of the Bulls. When Phil Jackson took over he said that his greatest concern was that the team got too high when it won and got too low when it didn't. They had to establish a more even keel and not rock back and forth so much. Don't get so excited about winning or losing: that sounds like a formula for mediocrity, but, as we know, it led to a great dynasty. Not getting too excited about "winning" might seem like we're not thankful enough to God, but that's not it either. It's hard to explain, and what comes to mind immediately is another sports analogy. When asked about what he thought about football players celebrating so outrageously when they scored a touchdown, one coach said he'd rather have a more muted celebration: you know, as if the player had been there before!
I think of God not only promising us victory, but of that victory already being won. We've been in that endzone over and over before. We can focus on the here and now and go through whatever it is, good or bad, because we know we have already won. Not rocking back and forth between highs and lows is, then, an expression of serenity and confidence. We'll be OK, no matter what it looks like now. Pray for us with this confidence and serenity.
--Richard R. Guzman