During holiday season, we come in contact with many more people than we usually do. In the course of our conversations, we probably talk about the health challenges we’ve endured throughout the year-almost-past (or, at least some of them). And, perhaps, the person with whom we’re speaking says something like, “Oh, you’re so strong!’ or “Oh, you’re incredible – you handle those challenges so well.” Or, the “topper” – “I could never cope as well as you do…”
I learned long ago that the best way to take a compliment is to simply say, “Thank you.” But so often, when someone says they admire the way I take on my own health challenges, inside, I cringe a little. Not that I don’t strive to be as good as I possibly can be, and not that I don’t believe to my core that God is guiding me, encouraging me, and comforting me along my journey. But, I’m only human, as is each person who lives with chronic illness. And, sometimes, well, we teeter on our pedestals!
Proverbial teetering might include suddenly becoming frustrated with medication that takes too long to work, or a body that doesn’t do all that we’d like it to do. It might mean actually getting irritated or out-right angry that we have to change or cancel plans to do something we’ve really looked forward to - because of an illness that flares or a new symptom that arises.
Frustration at the fits and starts we experience while getting ready to step outside our front door. Aggravation that brain fog interferes with our ability to remember important details (or names). Overall, bone-numbing fatigue that can drive us to tears when the days and nights seem achingly long.
All of these things are part and parcel of our reaction to an ongoing life with illness. And they indicate that we are, as I said, human. And, they also go right along with the other courageous things we do to cope, to shine with God’s light, and to be the best we can be with all that we are given.
When someone says, “You are so brave,” you might cringe, at first, and think that you are anything but. You know how you feel “behind the scenes,” and it often doesn’t reflect the makings of a super-hero. But – and this is important to remember – the person offering the compliment is seeing in you someone they admire, someone who is striving.
So, as we teeter, we also need to remember that we’re doing some things very right, and showing others that it is possible to have faith along the difficult walk we take each day.
Yes, we teeter – but we do not fall!
Blessings for the day,