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
It’s so easy to dwell on the pain, illness, and constraints that a chronic health condition imposes on us. So very easy, too, to think of what’s falling apart, what abilities are becoming (or have become) disabilities.
But, here I am, typing this. And here you are, reading this.
Considering all that we’re going through otherwise, it’s quite miraculous, really. And all part of the grand mystery that is Life. Something, despite our frailty, is keeping us going and more – something (Someone, really, that is, God) is moving us beyond our illnesses and pain to the world outside of them. Yes, we’re being moved to act, to interact, and to contribute. We’re being moved to experience and to witness. We’re being moved to blessings we cannot imagine just now.
And we’re being moved to show others what is possible despite our physical challenges.
A friend recently told me, “I don’t know how you do it.”
Want to know a secret? I don’t know how I do it, either. Except that it is by the grace of God and His will that I’m typing this. And you’re reading this.
And, together, we’re participating in the grand miracle – and mystery – that is Life.
And, it is good! 🙂
Blessings for this Easter Season,
Not at all! I know that April 20 was Easter Sunday. But the best Easter is today. And tomorrow. And the next day.
The best Easter happens everyday when we remember that Jesus, God’s only Son, lived on earth, died, and rose again. Easter happens when we recall God’s amazing love for us, His forgiveness, His Salvation, and His promise of Life Eternal. Yes, that’s when Easter happens – in our hearts – and it’s the best!
We might run out of chocolate bunnies (oh, no!), and we might have to wait until next Easter Sunday to belt out, “Hallelujah!”, but we don’t have to leave the essence of Easter behind.
We’ll never run out of God’s love. We’ll always have something to sing about.
And we’ll have the Best Easter Ever every single day we look to our Savior and let Him lead us on.
Oh, my but some people have low expectations of us. They think that because we’re sick or in pain, we have to go around looking like we feel. Or, they hesitate to include us in enjoyable activities or allow us to be part of church services, sometimes, because they think it will be “too much” for us because of our disability, infirmity, or age. Yes, some people think that sick or older people are good for only being…sick or old, which can certainly risk cramping our style.
But, we sick people are Easter people! We have the light of Christ within us and it wants to shine, not only in places where there is sickness, but everywhere we can possibly go. Outside, inside, among strangers, with friends.
Yes, we are intended for greater things that being the subject of pitying stares or embarrassed glances. But it can be hard to think so in the face of some others’ expectations.
This Easter Season poses a perfect opportunity to dust off our Easter People appearance, to put on compassion, encouragement, peace, joy, and all of the positive attributes that are Easter itself. Today and throughout is an ideal time to act like Easter People in the face of any naysayers, to show them by our actions and our words that we are active, working in the vineyard, and want to be and remain firmly among others who do the same, working in whatever ministry God has put on our hearts to have.
We are never too sick, old, infirm, or in pain to be active parts of the Christian community. And as we disspell misunderstandings and rise above the low expectations, we, even more, can be grateful and glad that, yes, we are Easter People, too!