When I was a kid, most medicines were not flavored. Like the old Little Rascal’s series where Alfalfa has to take medicine and he puts a clothes pin on his nose, I wished for a clothes pin. I would occasionally hold my nose. I remember taking aspirin. I think you could buy children’s flavored aspirin, good ol’ St. Joseph’s. I don’t know whether it was because it sounded Catholic and we avoided all things Catholic as a child or if it was that it just cost unnecessary money but we never had it. Instead my mother would take an aspirin, break it in two and then two again. The ¼ aspirin would then be crushed between two spoons. A few drops of water were added along with some sugar. My mother would come with the spoon saying I needed to drink some sugar water. It did mask the aspirin taste a little bit. It was a good day when I finally learned to swallow a pill.
My experience in South Dakota is a bit like taking medicine that tastes bad. I have always known deep in my soul that God was in control and He had a purpose in sending me to South Dakota. I don’t much get into discussions of God’s perfect will. I don’t know if this was “His will.” I do know that God is with us where ever we go and that He does work all things for our benefit.
While it is true that I came kicking and screaming up here, I’ve never doubted there was a reason, a purpose to it all. I’ve experienced a lot of pain in this South Dakota crucible. You’ve read about it here on these pages. There will be more pain. There is always more pain in this life. Anyone who tells you different is delusional or just not honest. I am not saying all pain is good either. But pain tells you something is wrong. Pain demands you deal with it.
I’ve been dealing with pain I had neglected for the last few years here in this frozen desert. I have feared for my sanity and my life. I have cried many tears. I have asked many questions. I have come to the brink of despair and even death. My emotions have been raw. I experienced another dark night of the soul. I found that in one’s life you can experience this more than once. I begged God for relief. I sought help and prayed even when I couldn’t pray.
I’ve survived. I’ve not only survived but I’m better. Not better in the sense that a flaw has been righted but in the sense that I am a better person. I have chased demons that have haunted me all my life in this wilderness of snow. I have slayed a few and learned how to fight the others that still occasionally show their heads. It’s not been easy.
I’ve learned so many things about myself, Joyce has been uncovered. Joyce has been found once again. She is ready to live the rest of her life. She has hope once again. The crucible always refines you. I’ve held my nose and taken my medicine. There was no spoonful of sugar to help this medicine go down. But I’ve swallowed the medicine and it has made me whole.