You know what’s more challenging than dealing with difficult health issues on a daily basis? Dealing with them while on a vacation.
It’s been over two years since I took a full week vacation anywhere, all because of the health issues I’ve had to deal with. I promised myself when I was in the Grand Cayman’s back then that I wouldn’t travel anywhere again until I felt better. Honestly, it’s much easier to be at home feeling totally miserable and uncomfortable in my own skin than it is being away and spending lots of money while feeling that way.
But when my best friend Cedric decided he really couldn’t keep doing the travel to see me twice a year and wanted to reduce it to a visit during the winter only, I realized that if I wanted to continue seeing him during the summer as well, I had to start travelling again. Last week’s trip to Massachusetts was the first time I undertook this new and fearful venture, which for the most part turned out to be not as difficult as I thought it would be, that is until Friday arrived.
Have you ever felt so crappy on any given day of a vacation, that you really didn’t want to do much of anything but spend it in your hotel room? That’s about how I felt last Friday as soon as I awoke, yet I didn’t remain in my room that day, as I felt that would only have made me feel even worse.
Instead, I spent the majority of it along the ocean side of Newport, Rhode Island, doing something called The Newport Cliff Walk, which essentially is a 3.5-mile-long walkway along the coast, high up on some cliffs, that parallel in front of a bunch of huge mansions. It’s rather picturesque and breathtaking at certain places along the way, yet for someone who’s battling debilitating pain, it tends to have the opposite effect.
When I have days where my health feels like this, I usually find myself praying quite a bit to God for the strength to keep going and that’s precisely what I did as my partner, Cedric, and I walked along a rocky trail that on any other day would probably have invigorated me and brought forth some child-like joy.
So, as I took each step on that cliff walk and prayed for that strength to keep going, I wondered more than not if my body might give out at some point, yet the words of my spiritual teacher kept coming forth from within my brain…
“Keep on, keeping on Andrew!”
In all truthfulness, I used to cringe every time she used to tell me that, but on some level, I knew I needed to do just that as I pounded the pavement and rocks one step at a time. And as I did, I began to think, maybe this is what faith really is all about, to just “keep on, keeping on” until things get better, until I feel God shining His light back onto me, or at least until I make it through to the next hurdle life brings me.
While unfortunately, my pain levels didn’t lessen much during the rest of last Friday, I can at least confirm that I did finish that cliff walk and was pretty proud of myself for it and very thankful to God as well. Because I believe it’s with accomplishments like this, that are little reminders from God that my prayers are being answered, that my faith is helping me to continue moving me forward, and that I am a living, breathing, example of what it truly means to “keep on, keeping on”…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson