Chronic Illness. When I see these words or I hear these words ring out through my mind on a daily basis many thoughts run through my head. Loneliness, anger, pain, weakness, migraines, high stress levels, sadness. Yes, it is true, when I first hear those words I think of all the bad and the things that frustrate me, not only for myself but for all my friends who struggle too. It isn't easy at all. But then, there is also the flip side.
For me the worst part, over all the physical symptoms, is the loneliness. The living on the sidelines while everyone else is out in the world. Seeing how others are able to camp, go to the beach, go for walks or runs, etc. Believe me, I am very happy for those who can and I rejoice in that, but for me it is hard. The way my mind, or as I believe the devil, can run so many negative thoughts through my head can become very discouraging. It can become especially bad on the days my body does not want to cooperate. Those are the days I am in the pit. At the bottom barely able to do anything physical. Those are the days a shower, hair, and makeup are all I may do. It is funny because usually after I force myself to do this how two hours later I can look so much better that it helps me to feel better too.
For me, my appearance has always been very important. Probably because of the thought that if I look good no one will know what is really going on. Out in public most would never have a clue as to my struggles. Or it could be because of my grandmother. I remember spending weekends with her. She would sit at her vanity putting her hair in rollers and putting on her makeup. The one thing she would say to me every time we sat there together. "Now Dianne you never go out in public without your hair done, rouge, or lipstick." I think that is why I am how I am today. Funny how those childhood teaching stay with you forever.
Which brings me to another side of illness. The positive side. From the positive side it all becomes just a little bit easier!
Although it would be wonderful to be healthy and able to do what others can do but then when I think of it would I really want that? When I watch other people live the lives of the crazy, mad business I think to myself, I just don't think that is me now or ever was. Illness has made me slow down. Really slowed me down, and what happens when you slow down? You evaluate everything to the core. Every detail so deeply that there is often nothing left to evaluate.
I remember when I first got very sick five years ago. I cried, cried a lot. Poor Rich. I didn't understand any of it. I didn't understand how God would allow this. I didn't understand why I couldn't do things other people could, physically. I didn't understand anything. It was a horrible nightmare. Doctor after doctor, test after test almost as if we were living in a dream. Some days I still don't understand any of it when I do allow myself to look back.
But, the one thing I do understand is what my life is for. In all of this I have come to realize that all that matters in life is people. Helping others, loving others when they can't love themselves. Spreading love to all of those around me. I have also learned how to let people go who cannot or do not want to be loved.This is not easy either, but when your health is in jeopardy every day you must learn to surround yourself with positive influences at all costs, and cut lose the ones who bring you down or cannot love you. I do not believe this is a bad thing at all. You do yourself a favor when you focus on only good.
I have also learned there are people who can love so deeply, which makes me wonder, could I? I never really thought of selfless love when I lived in the ordinary world. The kind where people would go to the ends of the earth for you. The kind of love where you look in the eyes of those who love you and you can feel your souls connect without anything being said. The kind of love that would heal me if it was at all possible. I have learned there is really true love and goodness in a world gone bad. Another blessing God gave me, the perfect family. He knew I was going to need them, he put me with the most loving caring people who he knew could handle the illness and do their best to take care of me. See, I do believe it is all a part of some big plan from the day I was born.
Although I have learned the bad and the carelessness through my illness I focus more on the goodness because I am surrounded by goodness and I thank the Lord for that everyday! I thank the Lord for my illness, although not easy on some days, nonetheless a true blessing.
Remember, even when times are bad, God is still good!!