It has finally arrived, that moment where I reluctantly admit that my body will no longer allow me to operate at the pace I had grown to love nor to do all the things I have loved to do.
The last two weeks saw me at three back-to-back conferences: the Beyond Justice Festival in Canberra; Baptistcare Australia national conference in Perth; and Micah Australia’s Voices for Justice. I’m used to schedules like this, and in the past have always found them energising. But this time was different. By the second last day of the Micah event I was much more tired than I normally would be, my tremor was more pronounced than usual, and my muscles stiffened for longer periods of time than they otherwise would. I found myself needing to skip some events to simply rest and recuperate. For the first time Parkinsons was more than a nuisance. Up until this point I could still do just about everything I wanted to, I just had to do it a little bit slower or find a workaround. But I have now reached the point where there are some things I simply can no longer do.
No doubt others have sensed this earlier than I have. It is the nature of the beast that I am reluctant to admit to the limitations of the disease, holding out against them as long as possible. Indeed, I have not wanted to admit it but I have seen the signs for the last couple of months, as I found it harder to get going in the mornings, not really hitting my straps physically until my meds kicked in mid-morning/lunchtime.
I do not feel angry or sad. I knew this time was coming, and now that it has arrived and I am willing to recognise it, it just feels like a natural stage of progression. I do feel a sense of loss, not a sharp pang of grief, but a wistful goodbye to one stage of life.
Not that I’m ready to give up just yet. I’ll continue to pursue justice and work with churches to help them get their head around issues of justice and take action on them. But for the first time in my life I will have to very intentionally pace myself, making sure I focus upon those things that are really priorities, and maximising those times I am physically most able.
I expect this season of slowing will be frustrating but I also expect it will bring its own gifts. As I say goodbye to the full throttle phase of my life I look back with thankfulness on what it gave me. It has passed, and this post is my way of saying goodbye to it and saying hello to the slowing phase. “Goodbye old friend, it was a pleasure to walk with you. Welcome new friend. I may be slow to learn, an impatient companion, but I look forward to the ways you will grace my life.”