I’m really good at “Snowballing”. Something big goes south or I get hammered by an illness shortly after overcoming one and I start piling on all the other negative stuff going on around me. “Oh great! Now THAT’S not going work” and “Of course the plans we had fell through!” and the ever popular “how am I going to pay the bills when I can’t work?”  I just keep finding things to add to that ‘Snowball” until it gets to the point where all I can see is this massive pile of crap in front of me.

What purpose does this serve? What possible good can come from piling all that negative stuff up and planting it right in front of my face? None….Zero. All it does is block my view of the blessings. Blocks the message I am supposed to learn. I have never once said “Whew! That’s a good looking pile of garbage!” On the contrary. I’ve always regretted it.

About a year ago, shortly after battling COVID and getting back to work, I started to have side pains. Day by day they got worse to the point I was unable to work. I started wondering if I was having a kidney infection or possibly a kidney stone. So we went to the emergency room, they checked my blood and my urine and snapped an X-ray. 12 hours later (or so it seemed) the doctor came in and gave me the results. “All clear”. No stone, no infection. Everything was normal. There was no suggestions of tests they could run or anything they could do diagnostically from here. They were clearly done with me, so we left. Now not only did I still have the sharp pains, but now I had a $2000 emergency room bill to go along with it. (More snow on that snowball).

Back home, my wife started researching Gall stones and discovered that they are not often picked up on an x-ray due to their opaque composition. So we called my primary care and got an order for an ultrasound, but I had to wait a couple days. I was looking at another daunting night of pain and lack of sleep. At about 4:30 am I was at the end of my rope. The snowball was so big I could no longer see or think about anything else. Bent over the back of a chair, tears streaming down my face, I broke down and pleaded with God to remove this pain. I BEGGED him. I don’t know how long I kept up the begging and pleading, but eventually I got the message to “Refocus”.

Incredulously at first, I began to count the mere seconds between contractions (much like a woman does when giving birth, though my contractions were mere seconds apart, not minutes). 3 seconds… 8 seconds…wow almost 30 seconds! After a while of this “Micro-focusing” I started to rate the contractions from 1 to 10. I decided that anything 5 or less didn’t count as a contraction and continued on with this timing and rating system. This new microfocus allowed me to actually relax some, and a lot of the pains didn’t seem as severe. I started concentrating on different muscle groups and deciding if I ‘really needed to involve them’ when I was writhing in pain. Momentum was building in a positive direction. Soon, I was determined not to let this pain get the best of me. “This too shall pass” became my new mantra. The snowball was shrinking quickly. Time was passing at a more reasonable rate now. The sun was rising and I had a new focus and determination for the new day.

As luck would have it, I was able to get in for the ultrasound that day and it confirmed that I had a 7mm stone which had to fit out a 3.5mm opening. This was going to hurt.

I refused surgery and got a homeopathic remedy one of my sisters used that worked for her. That night, we did the treatments until I could no longer tolerate them. It was brutal, but I kept my ‘microfocus’ and determination. The next morning the pain was substantially less and had moved down by my belly button.  SUCCESS!

Without that microfocus, I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through the whole ordeal. God had me the whole time. I believe He wanted me to learn that lesson so it could be one more tool in my toolbox to help me cope when things are way out of my control. It took focusing on the smallest of positives amid the chaos to see the blessing I had blocked with my huge snowball. Now I have a new challenge: Remember this leson!