When the Rejected Becomes the Cornerstone

This week I was given a lived experience of a lesson I had planned for my online community. Instead, of being able to present the lesson, however, I was writhing on my couch in the lived experience of it. Interestingly, it is not unusual that I am required to live out a lesson before I’m able to share it.

The lesson I had planned was based on the following psalm:

The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

Psalm 118

The Stone

This is how I came to live out the planned lesson:

I have a medical condition called chronic vestibular neuritis. What this means is layperson’s terms is that a virus caused permanent damage to my vestibular nerve.

From Wikipedia: The vestibular nerve plays an implicit role in maintaining blood pressure, maintaining balance control, spatial memory and spatial navigation during movement. 

Damage to the vestibular nerve can lead to intermittent and ongoing issues of vertigo, giddiness, sensitivity to light and sound, and migraines. This is exactly how I have experienced this disorder. I’ve exhausted all efforts in seeking a cure or effective treatment and have found neither. Instead, I’m stuck with the reality of this disorder:

  1. Due to this disorder, I can no longer drive on highways or long distances.
  2. Due to this disorder, I am often stricken with giddiness (feeling unbalanced, dizzy, or light headed).
  3. Due to this disorder, I am sometimes stricken with an excruciatingly painful migraine that might be limited to my head and neck, or sometimes encompasses my whole body.

Changes in barometric pressure or dramatic weather changes can trigger my symptoms. Wine is sometimes a trigger. Poor seating ergonomics and too much time on my computer are also triggers. Sometimes I can’t point my finger at what the cause might be. The position of the stars? A comet flying past? Solar flares?  Who knows!?

The Rejection

This week I was struck by the symptoms of this disorder and was forced to spend two days on the couch.

To say I hate that I have this condition would be an understatement.  Since 2016, when I was first stricken with the virus that caused vestibular nerve damage, I have struggled with the ongoing and intermittent symptoms. Mostly I have struggled with the limitations caused by this disorder.  I hate that I am no longer free to just get in my car and drive where I want.  I hate that I have to ask my friends or my children to drive me. I hate that there are some days when even local driving is excruciating – like on those bad weather days where the wind is blowing, snow is pouring down, and my windshield wipers are going. Between the pressure and the movement, I feel like I’m going to die.

My overachieving workaholic “needs to be productive to feel valued” self, hates that there are many days where I am completely unable to work because the pain, the light, the sounds, the smells, and any kind of movement forces me to retreat into darkness.  I writhe in pain while wallowing in the inner voices of chastisement telling me I’m being weak and lazy for not pushing through the pain to get things done. UGH!  (Who said the “protestant work ethic” was a good thing?  I’m not even Protestant!)

In short, chronic vestibular neuritis and all its accompanying symptoms has been a stone that I have rejected. I have hated this about myself. I have been frustrated at the medical professional’s inability to offer me an effective treatment or cure. Even the diagnosis took years to confirm (I knew what it was through my own research YEARS before my doctor could tell me what it was!). I have grown tired of all those well-meaning folks who try to offer up their own cures and treatments for something about which they do not know.

The Cornerstone

During all these many years of rejecting the stone of vestibular neuritis, has also been the whispering invitation of surrender and acceptance. After exhausting all other efforts, what choice does one really have?  I can continue to be angry, frustrated, resentful, impatient, and condemning of my symptoms, but what good does that do me?  Instead, (along with the accompanying symptoms of grief) I have tried to look at what this disorder might be inviting me into.  The invitation is really quite obvious and is known in what the disorder has forced me to do:

  1. Be vulnerable and humble enough to ask for and accept help with those things I can no longer do for myself (like drive).
  2. Take advantage of my good days. Do what I can do, without pushing myself and let go of the rest.
  3. Surrender to the bad days. It’s ok to do nothing. It’s ok to cancel plans. It’s ok to forego commitments.

The more subtle invitation has been to reorder and restructure my life away from my workaholic tendencies, and toward a gentler, more ease-full flow. No longer do I feel the need to fit into the standard American model of work. I have more and more fully embraced the fact that I couldn’t work a “regular job” if I tried. Only in running my own business do I have the freedom to work in a way that is necessary to maintain my health (oh yeah…..there’s that degenerative kidney disease I have too) and respond to my unpredictably changing symptoms.

In doing this, the rejected stone of chronic illness has become the cornerstone upon which the current foundation of my life is established.

What have you rejected about your own life experience that might be seeking to become a cornerstone?

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3 thoughts on “When the Rejected Becomes the Cornerstone

  1. Lauri, please know that we are not intimated whatsoever by the condition that you describe.
    This will be a brief e-mail because it asks for a response from you. As you may have discerned I have a deep love for you and for what you do to help others. That feeling leads me to say the following:
    Please consider Qi therapy treatments given by Qi therapy practitioners. I am one of them, 25 years on the job. Now I know that’s a mouthful. I would be willing to gather a team to give you scheduled treatments via Zoom.
    If this is a consideration for you let me know. Perhaps you would like to hear about the treatments themselves and the background for them..
    We as practitioners get excited especially when the treatments are triggered by love, the greatest healer the world will ever know and by the inability of the medical folk to bring about real change in the condition. Both are in play here.
    So simply let me know if you have some interest. Yours always, Dennis


  2. Lauri.
    After reading the stone this morning, I’m laughing and crying. You’re such an incredible writer. I feel you in your words. I’m grateful for your transparency and the gifts coming in and through you. I’m inspired, touched, and many more emotions that I can’t even begin to put into words.
    Thank you 🙏🏻 for being the light that you are❤️
    Mintie Dudley


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