This afternoon, that monthly discomfort returned. Last night, I had awoken to it, but had pushed it away and managed to let it settle down with a good night’s rest and some heat. But this afternoon, it returned fully fledged. That’s when the limping of heavy pain flooded over me, and I knew it was going to be a tough day.

Last month, graciously, my mother was in town to care for me. She fed me because I was too weak to do so for myself, and held the bag as I threw up. She tenderly wrapped me in more blankets as I shivered, and took care of me. Little did I know how much I would miss that in this periodic occurrence.

But in the midst of the aching tenderness, one of the first feelings that surfaced was fear of unproductivity and missing meetings, because that is something that makes me feel oh so very guilty. And despite my hesitancy and through countless questioning of my parents if it was truly okay to simply take the day away from homework, the guilt continued to well up inside of me. Time wasted, hurting body, and sleepiness.

This need to be productive seems to permeate many aspects of me: the way I eat, academically, and even spiritually. If I missed a class or because I had lots of time to rest, then tomorrow requires constant work. When there are too many things to accomplish, food is always the first thing to go. How is it that I feel sickness gives me an excuse to think about restricting and rationalizing somehow taking out of my body what I had worked oh so hard to put in? And how can it be that eating rituals where certain foods are only allowed at certain meal times? That food needs to be broken up into smaller pieces, a reflection of how I hope to shape myself to be able to be enough for everyone around me, in order to be eaten, and so very much more.

Recently, the question has drenched me like a never ending rain shower, of how I am doing. And the tears often flood my eyes because it is just too much; overwhelmed; but that is not the pleasantry and polite response required. The truth is that the compensation keeps me from grace, from being broken before my Creator and others when my good works are a mask or my lack to offer shows the empty glass in which little drops are meticulously sought for to give.

And grace beckons, on the days when work keeps me from balance and on the days that I simply hold my stuffed animals, cry, watch, listen, sleep, and pray. Because somehow, Jesus loves me anyways, and you, too. In the middle of each and every moment, without the compulsive compensation, there is so very much grace, it truly abounds.

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