Hey, I Didn’t Know

Last Wednesday night a friend asked how we were doing. I gave him the lowdown for which he was grateful, and then he prayed for me. In his prayer, he said something like, “LORD, it seems Rick doesn’t like talking about this…”

I appreciated him saying that because it allowed me to hear his thoughts about our problems. I texted him a response to our Wednesday conversation, which you can read an unedited copy below.

Part of what he did not know and many of you probably don’t know is that I have a sciatica problem. Those closest to me are aware of this issue, but it is not something that I share regularly; I explain why I don’t talk about this in my note to my friend.

To bring you up to speed, I have had this problem for over a decade. I can’t walk more than 10 minutes without excruciating pain. As a lady told me in our Alaska conference last year, it’s worse than giving birth. (I’ll not comment on that, but only say it hurts like the dickens.)

I almost always carry a camping stool with me when we go places. Sciatica is just part of my life. The past two weeks, the pain has accelerated to where it’s constant. The only time I’m not in pain is when I’m laying down at night sleeping. During the day I work in a zero-gravity chair so I can do my job. I sit up to do podcasts, but most of the time I’m in my chair; it does bring some relief.IMG_8322

And, yes, I’ve done almost everything to get rid of it including yoga (though I was scolded for doing that by a few Christians, so I call it “stretching exercises” to calm their troubled souls), which brought the most relief of all.

Here is my note to my friend:

Hey [Friend],
Thanks for praying for me Wednesday night. That is the most encouraged I’ve been in a while regarding our physical problems. I appreciate your leadership; it was satisfying, for real.

In your prayer, you mentioned that I don’t say much about our physical issues, which made sense to me as to why you thought that. I did want you to know that we are quite public about what’s going on with us, though. We just do it a different way, I suppose.

I have 15 (or so) blog articles on our personal/family site that you can read, plus a podcast interview I did with Lucia about the latest cancer update. You can find all that here: rickandlucia.com

We do not mind at all talking about it or sharing what’s going on with us. Any question is welcome and valid. We do appreciate “intrusiveness” into our lives, which is why I enjoyed your questions about what’s going on and your prayer.

Part of why you may not hear updates could be that you didn’t know about the blog or maybe you missed the times in small group where we did give an update. We don’t share at every group because,

1. Our lives are an open book (or blog), so folks have complete access to the latest, as we know it.

2. We live a public life due to my work, so I talk about the problems all the time (at least it seems that way to me), but not so much in every context (hundreds of folks are following our updates around the states/the world).

3. We don’t want to talk about our problems all the time because we don’t want to be “cancer-centered” or “sciatica-centered.” We’d rather be Christ-centered, as far as our conversation and identity are concerned.

4. If we tell every person what’s up with us, we would be worn out from talking about it so much.

5. Personally, I have had the sciatica problem for so long (10 years running), that I don’t think about it as far as talking about it to others. It’s kinda like my shadow, so I suffer silently, and see it as my thorn in the flesh, so talking about it does not resonate with me or come to mind. However, with that said, I welcome any question or concern about this problem (or Lucia’s); it’s just not “top of mind” with me when I’m talking to a person. I do believe if it were a recent development, I would probably say, “Hey, this is new, and it hurts.”

With all that said, please ask anything you want to ask. We have nothing to hide, nothing to protect. We welcome questions and care, which is why I was so encouraged that you would take the time to ask how I was doing.

Your brother