I know, silly title, right? What in the world would “DVD’s in my purse” have to do with chronic illness or even faith for that matter? This thought kind of jumped into my head recently, after a particularly bad day when, once again I could not muster the energy to hardly think, let alone move. I did have one crazy thought pop up though: “What if I had DVD’s that I could carry around in my purse to hand out to people who didn’t know me back when I was well?” The title of the DVD would probably be something like “I Wish You Knew Me Before…”. Before what, you may wonder? There are probably even people who know me now that are reading this blog but have met me “after”. You see, with chronic illness there is usually a “before and after”. There is that person that you were before and now the person you’ve become after you’ve suffered with some form of chronic illness. My DVD would be pretty long and maybe even entertaining to some. You see, before I developed all these pesky problems, I feel like I was a pretty fun person. I know that I was energetic. One of my favorite memories is when I was staying with my precious Grandma the month she went home to be with the Lord. She was suffering from colon cancer. I packed up all three boys, who were then ages 5, 3 and 1 and headed “home” to take care of Grandma in the time she had left. My husband supported this wholeheartedly and there was NEVER a single thought that went through my brain about what doing this would involve or how much work or anything like that. All I saw was the opportunity to go and honor the woman who helped raise me and took care of me while my Mama worked. I’ve been like that since we moved to Charlotte 16 years ago. Driving up and down 218 was a common occurrence for us because if my family called I was there. But one thing I didn’t slow down and think about was how this time would not be about work. I realized that one day when we were hanging out THE screened in porch (our gathering place) and Grandma was relaxing on the swing with her sister. I don’t remember what I was doing (it was probably laundry since that’s all I ever do) but she asked me if I “ever just sat my tail down and quit moving”. (Tail is country talk for your rear end, lol). I honestly thought about it and quickly realised that very seldom did I just stop and not find work to do. I worked my actual nursing job, cared for my 3 young boys and husband and took care of my own home. I worked from my house so when I couldn’t find someone to cover for me I would go home, work my shift, and usually drive back. Of course I was tired but I didn’t feel like I was doing too much or even pushing myself too hard. I know a lot of that was age and being younger. After Grandma passed away, I had found work coverage for an entire month, so I came back home to Charlotte determined to rest more before going back to work. That didn’t happen. I think I grieved by working more and ended up painting my entire house and doing major work here before I went back to work. My point in writing all of this is to try and give you a mental picture of what that DVD would be like. I guess it’d be like the Tazmanian Devil on crack or something. It would show you all the things that I used to be that I’m not now. The boys grew and started school so there were all the school things to do, being in the PTA, sports, etc. I did things and was so involved in church. I was reliable. So when the bottom fell out for me and I literally couldn’t do these things anymore, I was devastated. I don’t know how many people know about the HUGE book that medical personnel use for diagnosis codes for patients. There is one for mental illness as well. Well I think my range of emotions ran through every code in that huge book and then some more they haven’t even thought of yet. It literally was like I was a train flying down a track at max speed and then I just hit this huge concrete wall. Physically, the “injuries” have been from minor to moderate with some bad scares in between. But emotionally and spiritually, I was wounded beyond belief. I, of course, turned to my faith and tried to figure out why this was happening. I knew (and I still know) that I am not immune to suffering. None of us are. But while I once thought that I was this super strong, resilient do it all person, I realized that I wasn’t even close. And this was hard to take. So hard. I see others dealing with cancer and other horrible, painful, even fatal diseases far worse than mine. And I feel so selfish. I know that I should always feel blessed because God is keeping me here for a reason. But I’ve always been very impatient and stubborn and I want to know everything NOW! I’ve lost relationships with some of my best friends because of this. Going anywhere is always a guessing game with me because I never know how I might feel from one day to the next. But to most people this appears as me just being an unreliable, selfish person with no regards to anyone’s feelings. Those people don’t know that I sit home alone and cry and cry over being that kind of person. And I know it gets so tiresome so I just don’t talk about it. Just always give the same response, “I’m fine”. Since there seems to be no end in sight for if or when I’ll feel better or even gain a little of the old me back, I’ve learned to stay in the background now. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve cut myself off from a lot of people just to avoid disappointing them. I know a lot of people think “well why don’t you just get out and get over it, you’ve got to at least try”. Those are the ones who probably need to see my DVD the most. If anybody ever thinks that I wanted to go from what I was to what I am now, they are very sadly mistaken. I know this post has been a downer, especially compared to my other ones. I guess I’m just in one of those “pits” that I’m trying so hard to avoid. But I also want to say “I’m sorry”. If you are reading this and you know me now, or have known me in the past, please forgive me. I am trying. I don’t want pity. I just want God’s plan for this adventure that is my life now. And if it somehow glorifies Him, even in a tiny way, then it’s all worth it. If it helps bring just one life to Him to be saved, then it’s worth it. So if you ever do see that DVD come to fruition, don’t despair! It might start out crazy wild, go into a pretty depressing low point in the middle, but here’s the best part! The end is FULL of hope, peace and joy because through it all, no matter what I go through, now and forever, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has got my back!
For a lot of people the title of this post alone would be really scary. When my ten year old son said this to me a few weeks ago, I got this kind of weird but ambivalent vibe. Rather than jumping to conclusions and going into a panic (as I normally would), I decided to just come back with the ultimate question, “Why”? Needless to say, I was completely shocked by what he told me next and it cast my own issues with chronic illness into a brand new light for me. What was so funny was that I should probably already have that mindset but I guess I don’t. The mindset I’m referring to is “I can’t wait to get to Heaven”. Of course, my 10 year old son’s answer seemed like it was coming from a much older, extremely wise man. However, I can say that my son has always seemed to be wise beyond his years in his spiritual life. He has been “talking” to God everyday since he could talk, just as best friends do. He is so eerily perceptive in matters of the spirit that I can’t wait to see what God has in store for him. He has already used my son in so many ways to touch others. This time, though, He was using him to touch ME! His answer to my question of “Why” he couldn’t wait to get to Heaven really stunned me. In his usual, matter of fact, “duh” tone of voice he shrugged his shoulders, let out a big sigh and said, “Because the Bible says that there are no tears and pain in Heaven, and I’m tired of hurting in my stomach so going to Heaven would mean that I won’t hurt anymore and I’ll always be happy”. HUGE silence from me. Then some big, fat tears and LOTS of introspection. I was the one who had a chronic illness. I was the one who has to daily remind myself that it’s not my fault and it’s not fake. I am the one who hasn’t thought about my illness enough to grasp the fact that one day it will be over. No, let me rephrase that. I’ve thought about my illness more than I should, but what I haven’t given as much thought to as I should is that God in still in control of it and He will one day take it away.
My precious youngest son has gotten stuck with the same problems as most of our family has with his stomach. We’ve had him checked of course. The doctor found inflammation in his stomach and intestines. Stress doesn’t help of course. When it bothers him he does not feel good.
Me to self: “Hello??? why would you think his chronic problems don’t affect him like yours affect you?”
I guess what I’m trying to say is that my baby boy taught me a valuable lesson that day. No matter what comes your way, no matter how you perceive it, NEVER take your eyes off the bigger picture. We will suffer during our earthly lives and there is all kinds of suffering. But we will be FREE of all that when we enter into His presence and all the pain and tears will be gone! Do you have that assurance too? I pray you do because I don’t know about you but “I can’t wait to get to Heaven” either!!
**This is a blog I started a while back and finally finished. Hopefully someone needed to hear that today.**
I don’t even know where to begin with my story. Obviously, it’s been a long time since I posted anything. Honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve been motivated to anything at all. Being chronically ill finally gave way to being chronically depressed. Anyone who suffers from a chronic illness, no matter what it might be, probably knows where I’m coming from with the depression. It’s like a huge black pit just opens up and swallows you whole.
When I was a little girl, my Grandpa used to operate a huge machine called a dragline. It was almost like 2 giant metal shovels that looked like claws. He ran the “claws” from inside a cab. What he was doing was digging huge holes so that the rocks and gravel could be loaded and taken to the “plant” where the rest of the work was done. You may have heard of Sakrete before. Well, that’s pretty much where it started. Obviously, once he got out all the goods from one hole, he would leave it and go start on another one. We used to love to go visit him while he was working because he would let us hop up there with him and look out the front window and see the huge holes he was digging. They never really seemed scary though because we were always looking down into them and knew that we safe with our Grandpa.
One day, as I was driving back “home” to see my Mama, it hit me just how many “pits” were scattered around. Huge open places in the earth that you wouldn’t want to get to close to for fear of falling in. Now that I’m older, I don’t have my Grandpa sitting there in a dragline waiting to let me look out over the big pits. But don’t get me wrong. I’m still dealing with pits in my life, only this time they are my own little pits that I dug for myself when I found out about my health problems.
That’s what I had been dealing with for so long and why I haven’t written anything on here for a while. But I also changed the title of my blog as well. It’s now called “overcome”. I will be sharing my story on here of how I finally let God PULL me up out my own pit of self-pity,