At some point during life with chronic illness, you feel like going back to the time “before.” Before your diagnosis. Before the disease or health condition took away so much of what you used to do and were.
Maybe, at such times, you start going through boxes of old photos, crying over the thinner, smiling you that looks back at you. Or, maybe, you throw your hands up and say, “Forget it!” and try to do one of the activities you used to be able to do, but which are way beyond your capabilities now. And you sure feel it the next day, and the next.
It can be hard to know how much you were able to do in the days “before.” I once wrote an entire screenplay in a weekend. Could I do that, now? Oh, dear me, no! I’d be totally fatigued before I’d arrived at the second act. No, now I have to take it more slowly, even skipping days because of lupus symptoms or other health-related things. And herein lies my meaning for today.
True, I cannot write as pell-mell speedily as I used to. But I can still write. I cannot garden outdoors because of sun exposure. But I can still raise beautiful African violets indoors. Lupus has changed my health and life considerably, but not fundamentally who I am. And if I’m creative and patient and fully trusting in God, then those things that were can still be, just, perhaps, differently.
As days with illness and pain drag on, oh, so often, we might feel cut off from the things that brought us joy, delight, hope, and excitement. We might wish that we could go back in time, before. When these feelings hit us, it’s helpful to remember that we are who we’ve always been, and our gifts have not gone away. They are still part of us, the deep part of us that is God’s child.
And with prayer, creativity, and patience, all the precious gifts that make us wonderfully who we are can flourish. Perhaps differently than before, but, stronger because of the courage and grace that come from willingly, joyfully