When you’ve lived through the sharp flares and relative calms of chronic illness, you begin to understand that nothing is guaranteed. As I’ve experienced recently, sometimes the medications we take to keep some symptoms under control suddenly stop working or cause serious side effects. Sometimes we do everything “right,” and try to take as good care as possible, but the illness has a mind of its own and flares anyway.
The best laid plans….
And yet, in the media and, perhaps, our own circle of friends, there are calls to plan. Plan for vacations, plan for events, plan for retirement, plan for the future.
How do you plan for the future, when the future is unclear?
There are no easy answers to this perpetual question. On the one end of the spectrum, we could plan our lives to the day, to the minute, firmly resolved to do XYZ no matter how we feel. On the other end, we could live as if we’re in an unmoored, rudderless boat that just drifts from one day to the next.
For me, there’s a relatively reasonable middle ground. Like many people, I have dreams, goals, and hopes. I don’t want to give them up because my illness might flare, might restrict me, might become more serious than it already is. But I also have to be realistic, and take into account where I am now inorder to have a future that’s rich with goodness and not simply illness. I have to first take care of health, and then address the hoped-for future in light of my abilities and lupus status. And, I put everything into the prism and perspective of faith – God does know the future, after all, and He has a will for each of us.
When we think about the future in terms of illness, life can seem mighty scary. But when we think about a future that God is present in, supporting us and wanting what is best for us (even if this means still living with a terrible disease), the future seems brighter. Taking all those “this could happen, that could happen” moments and lifting them up to the Father, then taking cherished dreams and regarding them creatively, one step at a time (the subject of my next blog), can give us the support and relief we need to be more confident as we move forward, even if the future is unclear.
Blessings for the Day,