My anxiety was greatly increased, when about eight years ago, I had a sudden attack of some kind, while Buck and I sat in church one January Sunday morning. Out of the blue, the banners in the front of the sanctuary startled whirling like a Ferris wheel and I knew I needed to get out of there immediately because I was overwhelmed with nausea. I told Buck I felt sick and when I tried to stand to walk out, my legs wouldn't work. Buck and my friend Harry had to almost carry me out. I will spare you the remaining embarrassing details. I didn't understand what was happening to me and it was frightening! I had never experienced vertigo before and it lasted for a day and a half. Stillness and keeping my eyes closed were my only saving grace.
The events of that day set Buck and I on a lengthy, dead-end journey in pursuit of an explanation of what might have happened to me. It was disturbing because it left me with extreme fatigue and some vision and balance issues. It appeared that there was some residual damage that affected my vision perceptually and caused me to feel loopy, as I call it, somewhat like being mildly intoxicated. I'm certain that it often appeared that I walked like I was drunken (still happens when I'm tired). The vision and balance issues never went away and all the doctor's visits and tests were never able to come up with anything conclusive. These symptoms made me feel very vulnerable and fearful and I didn't drive again for fourteen months. It was horrible and I hated being so dependent, but, just the thought of driving filled me with terror!
Thankfully, I had a very wise husband, who knew I was going to need a push to get me back behind the wheel again. One day, Buck was going to take me grocery shopping and went out to the car before me. When I got outside, Buck was in the passenger seat and told me I was driving. I flat out refused, since we lived on a very narrow, windy, country road. I promised when we got to the main road with a wide berm, I would get in the driver's seat. I was nervous after not having driven for so long, but I knew I had to try. I'm so glad that Buck had the confidence in me that I didn't have in myself.
Crossing the Conowingo Dam has always been a little scary for me and uncomfortable for many of us, if we're honest. If you have traveled on it, you are familiar with the narrow part, where you often have to share the road with a tractor trailer. With a towering wall on one side and a guard rail lining the other lane, it is easy for a timid driver to feel claustrophobic! After the onset of my mysterious illness, my brain told me that there was not room enough for two cars, let alone a car and a large truck in that narrow passage. I have prayed my way through that spot many times, as I braced myself for the sound of screeching metal. Crossing the dam the first time after I started driving again was a huge step of faith for me! "Lord, You know how fearful I am right now, but I'm counting on You to do this for me, because I can't do this in my own strength!" Trusting God was the only way I could have the confidence I needed to overcome my fear. Even now, an involuntary, audible groan will escape my lips (similar to a sound I might make if someone punched me in my stomach) if I encounter a large vehicle on that stretch of roadway. I am always thankful and relieved when that part of my trip is behind me.
I still have many areas of fear in my life that I need to learn to trust God with, but He has been so faithful when I ask for His help to overcome those places of vulnerability. I am learning that it is okay to trust God and still feel afraid. I like to think He is happy that I am a late bloomer instead of never blossoming at all! I find great peace in knowing He is always with me and I never travel alone; a true Tandem Journey, by every definition!