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“Just Me” blog #8 (Winter’s Rainbow) 2-22-13

“Just me” Blog #8 (Winter’s Rainbow) 2/22/13

Sometimes you have to snap a picture right then, right in the moment, or it’s incredible how you’ll forget it happened.  Take this picture of the rainbow ring around the sun above the snowy landscape.  I snapped this just before I went into a long, wintry, lonely hibernation and I feel now like I’ve just returned from the dead — like a seed that had to die before it could grow.  This photo was on Christmas Eve this last 2012 outside my in-law’s house.  The significance is more than its beauty.  This last Christmas, I was aching to see the silver lining to my horrible misfortune.  I lost my voice right before Christmas but I felt it was unrelated to my recent sinus infection I had finally gained recovery from.  This voice loss seemed too similar to my first encounter with a violent “volcano” that destroyed my voice for 6 months in 2009 – January the 7th to be exact, I’ll never forget. My husband was living 6 hours away, where he now worked, and due to the market crash, my young sons and I were living with an elderly piano student of mine, Sheila, who took us in so that we could try to sell our house while renters lived inside. The eruption rendered me a mute, single mother with no home, a songwriter unable to sing, and a music teacher/worship leader without a way to communicate – thus loss of income and disconnect with my entire way of life.

This “volcano” I am talking about is often referred to as LPR, which is short for Laryngopharyngeal reflux.  Have fun saying that 3 times fast….Yeah, just call it LPR.  Or “Silent Reflux” — which is known to take the voice.  It differs from general acid reflux a bit.  The symptoms are different.  And the treatment, though similar, is more constraining.  Mainly because for me, the decision was to choose either the foods I love like red meat, cheese, eggs, certain fruits and vegetables, my COFFEE I adore, tea, chocolate…that sort of heavenly bliss, OR I can choose my voice.  After all, I already was on a constricted diet with other allergies I have, so now take away sugar and white flour as well.  The list goes on from there.  What I CAN eat is drastically shorter than what I can’t.  Voice or food, voice or food….decisions, decisions…

Me and my boys while living with Sheila

Strangely though, in ’09, through the trial, I had such a peace that God had me in a very special place that was crucial for my life. Hindsight is always clearer, so even after about the 2nd month, I could see the amazing miracles being brought into my life by my inability to use my voice.  For one, I was able to pen many of the songs that became the cornerstone of my “Restore” album that released a couple of years later.  There were so many miracles for my family, it would take a whole blog series to list them.

You’d think that because I’ve been here before, that I would have seen the writing in the sky this time around.  That I would have seen that rainbow on that wintry day and known how perfectly God would see to my best as he has promised.  You’d THINK I would have used the time of silence to my advantage – used the time to write, used the time to clear the 4,000 emails in my various in-boxes away, used the time to organize my house, used the time for meditation and relaxation – I tried to convince myself to do these things but just couldn’t get my head straight, even when I wasn’t detoxing from caffeine.  And I was so lonely.  It takes a lot of patience for someone to have a conversation with the gal who has to write or type her end of the deal the whole time.  That left me without anyone on many occasions.  Even in a crowd, I was so alone.

So what DID I do??  Did I just go through motions on autopilot? I couldn’t remember.  I had to go back through pictures to find out where I’d been and where God was.  I did manage to create a fun birthday cake for my boys that looked like a bey blade stadium, complete with bey blade cupcakes, though it’s all a blur now.  Even the 10 little boys we hosted for the day!

Boys combined birthday party, Jan. 2013

It was as if I was hibernating through my life.  I was living it, even having successful days as a teacher, a mother, a musician, a friend…But my mourning period and lonely silence took such a toll that I’m just now beginning to look back and see the grace I was granted during this time.  The change of diet and the silence again healed other areas in my life I hadn’t realized needed altering.  I had taken such control that I was missing important information vital to my health and relationships.  So in my voice loss, rather than being driven to seize the day, I was seized to stop driving.  And that’s okay.  It’s okay to give up control.  I’ve been taught this lesson too many times.  It’s okay to be lonely, too.  It’s like a favorite Amy Grant lyric from the 80’s that I often quote to my son, “I love a lonely day.  It chases me to You.  Clears my heart, let’s my very best part shine through…it’s You.”  Thank God He chooses to shine even when I’m at my worst.  And that he gives me photo opportunities to capture the moment and be reminded.  Glad I snapped the picture.  Do you have a photo you’re so glad you took? Feel free to share!  I love a good story.

– Nicole Wells, 2-22-13

Quote of the month comes from Jon Foreman of Switchfoot — my favorite band.  This is from the song “Sing it out” on their “Hello Hurricane” album.

“Sing it out, sing it out.  Take what is left in me.  Make it a melody.  Sing it out, sing outloud.  I can’t find the words to say.  Come be my remedy.  My song, my song, I sing with what’s left in me.” 

– Switchfoot

I choose someone new each time.  Some quotes are reflective, some silly….I may quote YOU!  Be watching!

Nicole Wells is a singer-songwriter, soccer mom and story teller who enjoys encouraging and entertaining others through music and testimony.  She can be booked for performances, worship leading, and speaking engagements.

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