I take off my boots, climb into the tanning bed fully clothed, press the start button, pull the “lid” to the giant microwave down on me and cover my face with a towel. Yes, you read that correctly. I’m paying for a tan, that I will never receive. A tan that I don’t want, because I’m smart enough to know that UV rays cause skin cancer. So, why am I laying in a tanning bed fully clothed? Because I suffer from Chronic Lyme Disease and I am desperate to find relief from the agonizing pain that I suffer from everyday. Even if it’s just for a few moments, during which I’m frying my organs.
One day, I overheard a co-worker talking about how she used to work at a doctor’s office, where the doctor encouraged his arthritic patients to go tanning because it helps with the inflammation of your joints. I guess it’s like a giant heating pad for your body. So, I figured, why not? I googled some tanning salons near my house and printed out a one week trial coupon and figured it couldn’t hurt. Well, technically it can . . . . which is why I decided to cover up from head to toe.
The girl at the front asks about my skin tone and how easily I burn. Then she asks why I’m here. Am I getting a base tan before going on vacation, am I just getting an early start on summer? I tell her that I have no interest in actually getting a tan, but that I simply want to lay in the hottest bed for as long as I could. I’m sure she hears that everyday!
I look around the room and it’s a bunch of 20 something girls, probably getting their Friday night tan on, before heading out for their night on the town. I’m gearing up for a night on the couch, with a warm compress stuck to my head, and my blanket snuggled up to my chin, while the hubby and I watch re-runs of Duck Dynasty. She calls me back, I climb in and begin to bask in the heat. I’m curious as to how long I can hang, before calling it quits. Apparently the bed I’m in is pretty potent. A lot of their clients report that the heat is too intense for them, so they choose beds with less voltage. (that just sounds wrong). As I lie there, the reality of having Lyme sets in. I’m enjoying the warmth all around me, until the muscle spasms kick in. Such an obvious physical reminder that I am sick. Not only do I feel the twitches, but you can hear my leg thump against the side of the bed every few minutes.
I kept thinking that part of this whole Lyme journey was to help “cure” me of my physical appearance obsession. I’m so exhausted all of the time, the thought of exercising doesn’t even cross my mind. My metabolism is shot because of the medicine. I’m heavier than I’ve ever been (except of course during my triplet pregnancy) and I’ve turned into a giant couch potato. So, it’s kind of ironic that I’m paying for a tan that’s not going to make me look any better and that my next step is Botox injections (for my migraine and TMJ pain) which is not going to change my appearance at all.
But I will have the tannest hands and the smoothest jawline of any of my friends! Now take that Lyme!
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.—Psalm 91:1
I used to dwell in my own sorrow, my own vanity, my own life. When you give your life to Christ, you lose your life. That’s a good thing, because you lose all of your sins, your pain, your addictions. When you are saved, you no longer dwell in your misery, you dwell in his secret place. You don’t just visit or come to HIM when things get tough. You dwell with HIM, in HIM, every moment of every day. If I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, I would be dwelling in my pain; drowning with depression. But instead, I have confidence that I will find peace and protection because I am HIS and HE will protect me. And that on HIS timeline, all will be made well again. And until then, I will thank HIM for my storms, because I know that there is a reason for the rain, and that no matter what . . . he always has room for me under his umbrella.